Vol.3, No.12, 1040-1049 (2011) Natural Science
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
Development of a zoning management plan for Petra
Archaeological Park (PAP), Jordan
Said Damhoureyeh1*, Ahmad Disi1, Ibrahim Al-Khader2, Mohammed H. Abu-Dieyeh3
1Department of Biology, University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan; *Corresponding Author: saidd@ju.edu.jo
2Birdlife International, Amman, Jordan;
3Department of Biology and Biotechnology, The Hashemite University, Zarqa, Jordan.
Received 29 September 2011; revised 2 November 2011; accepted 16 November 2011.
As Petra is increasingly becoming a major tour-
ism destination in Jordan, this underlies not
only challenges to conserve the habitats and
species in Petra but also offers great opportu-
nities to promote academic research and inves-
tigation, demonstrate sustainable development
and initiation of environmentally sound devel-
opment and nature based tourism. This inves-
tigation is based on both desktop studies and
field missions. The desktop part is relied on re-
viewing various studies and reports that high-
lighting natural resources in the area. Two field
missions were conducted aiming to document
various information from related authorities and
institutions operating in Petra and also to un-
dertake ground truthing of habitats and species
information. The missions also included inter-
views with Park staff, representatives from on-
going projects and initiatives in Petra (Seyaha-
USAID) and many locals belonging to various
tribes in Wadi Musa and The Bdul. The study
presents a synthesis to findings from these
studies and visits. Broadly, the park can be
zoned into three mega zones: 1) Wadi Arabah
and the steep gorges to the west including the
Artemisia and annual grasses steppe to the
west, 2) Mountainous ridges and rocky slopes
of the Mediterranean region located almost
centrally in the park and at the southern limit
and part of the eastern borders and 3) Central
basin and steep limestone scarps and weath-
ered sandstone. Based on lists of key and indi-
cator species, some key/sensitive sites of con-
servation value have been suggested. Aspects
of grazing, agricultural activities, tourism and
water resources and their implications on man-
agement schemes have been discussed.
Keywords: Archaeological Park; Ecotourism;
Biodiversity; Environmental Management; Petra;
As a result of the increased attention to the concept of
nature conservation in Jordan, several national action
plans and strategies have been done to discuss the con-
cept of biodiversity conservation on the national level.
Among these are: National Environmental Strategy,
1992, National Environmental Action Plan, 1995, and,
National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2003
[1,2]. The Environmental Protection law 1/2005 has
been recently enacted after the creation of the ministry
of Environment. Moreover, there are a number of newly
updated regulations and bylaws that promotes biodiver-
sity conservation and mainstream environmental as-
sessments. These include: EIA regulations 37/2005, Na-
tional Parks/Reserves Bylaw 29/2005 and Soil Protec-
tion Bylaw 25/2005.
On the international level, Jordan has signed and be-
came member in several international conventions and
agreements on the conservation of nature. Most notably
of these are: Ramsar Convention; Convention on Inter-
national Illegal Trade with Endangered Species (CITES);
and Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Spe-
cies (CMS), Bonn Convention and the Convention on
Biological Diversity.
Population increase is considered as the root cause of
many environmental implications in Jordan. All studies
indicated that habitats of Jordan have been impacted by
human activities and their settlements [2-5].
Petra is internationally known for its archaeological
heritage, however, there was and still a necessity to bet-
ter appreciate the natural resources and ecological
uniqueness and richness of the Petra region. This in-
spires not only challenges to conserve biodiversity of
habitats and species in Petra but also induces great op-
S. Damhoureyeh et al. / Natural Science 3 (2011) 1040-1049
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
portunities to promote academic research and investiga-
tion, demonstrate sustainable development and initiate
an environmentally sound development and nature based
The objectives of this investigation are: 1) to identify
and gather all existing data and reports which may be
useful in preparing of the Zoning Management Plan
(ZMP); 2) to identify and delineate mega zones, as well
as other sub-zones within, for further investigation and 3)
to develop appropriate proposals towards conserving
natural resources of Petra Archaeological Park (PAP).
Part of the study was relied on reviewing and gather-
ing various studies and reports that highlighting natural
resources in the area, based on previous experience of
the area and species research. In addition to that two
field missions were conducted aiming to document
various information from authorities and institutions
operating in Petra (i.e. Petra Regional Authority (PRA),
Petra Archaeological Park (PAP), Agricultural Depart-
ment extensions in Petra). The team during field visits
managed to have meetings and interviews with a variety
of stakeholders within the PAP and the Petra Region.
This included PAP staff, Agricultural Department divi-
sion heads, PRA director; representatives form USAID/
JDTP and other ongoing projects and initiatives in Petra
as well as numerous members of local communities from
Wadi Musa and the Bdul in Um Seyhun. Field visits to
various sites including, City center, Siq area, Turkmani-
yya Road, areas and trails leading to Haron tomb were
also conducted in order to collect ecological notes about
key sites and habitats.
Jordan is about 100 km from the south-eastern coast
of the Mediterranean Sea, between latitudes 29˚ - 33˚N
and longitudes 35˚ - 39˚E and has a land area of about
89,200 km2, of which arable land is less than five per-
cent (Figure 1). The whole of Jordan forms part of the
Mediterranean region and is characterized by the Eastern
Mediterranean climate, which has a mild and moderately
rainy winter and a hot rainless summer. However, spring
and autumn do not have specific entity. The country is
divided into three topographic regions (Mountainous,
Jordan Valley and Wadi Arabah, as part of the Great Rift
Valley) and The Eastern Plateau. The rapid changes be-
tween these regions in such a small area had enriched
Jordan’s flora and fauna.
Several authors divided Jordan into four different bio-
climatic or bio-geographical regions [6-9]. These are the
Mediterranean bioregion or biotope, which encompasses
the mountainous region, the Afro-tropical (Known also
as Sudanian or Afro-Sindian) that extend along the Jor-
dan valley, the Saharo Arabian that best represented at
the eastern plateau, and the Irano-Turanian (or the
Steppe region) that forms a narrow belt at the eastern
and western sides of the Mediterranean bioregion.
Although, no specific study was conducted on Petra in
Dead Sea
Red Sea
Saudi Arabia
Dead Sea
Red Sea
Saudi Arabia
100 km
Figure 1. A map of Jordan showing the location of Petra Archeological Park.
S. Damhoureyeh et al. / Natural Science 3 (2011) 1040-1049
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
terms of vegetation ecology and vegetation types never-
theless general descriptions can be withdrawn from these
various studies; The Petra National Trust (PNT) in col-
laboration with professors from the universities of Jor-
dan and Yarmouk, with GEF funding conducted a two
year project between 94 and 96. This study provided a
descriptive survey of the plant and animal population in
certain areas within the PAP. The area did not cover the
western and southern part of the PAP. It also did not
cover the mountainous areas in the North due to access
difficulties. While the study has a full description of the
floral and faunal species it does not include the ecologi-
cal measurements required for ecological parameters
(coverage, species abundance, frequency, distribution
etc.) and GIS mapping.
3.1. Habitat Diversity
Petra transects between the three topographic regions,
with Wadi Arabah to the far west, steppe vegetation
represented by Sandy Hamada as we advance to the east,
followed by again a mixed steppe/Saharo-Arabian vege-
tation, and culminates in the Mediterranean biotope rep-
resented by Jniperus phoeanicia (Phoenician Juniper)
cliffs and sandstones and other tree vegetation such as
Quercus callprinos (Evergreen Oak). The vegetation
type starts to change as we continue further east where
Artemisia herba-alba steppe and transition steppe/Sa-
haro-Arabian vegetation starts to become more evident.
The topographic diversity in Petra has resulted in di-
versifying biological habitats as well as associated mi-
cro-habitats. Therefore, within the above-identified bio-
topes, diversity of habitats can be observed such as
rocky cliffs and slopes, which dominate the highlands,
wadis, runoff and spring systems transecting all through
the park, sandy habitats as isolated locations between
rocky areas and larger areas as in Wadi Arabah, stony
hills escarpments and gravel fans at the eastern and
western slopes of highlands with a few remnant forest
areas and trees and agricultural fields. More specifically,
habitat diversity can be classified into 13 different types,
as shown in Table 1.
3.2. Species Diversity
Petra is on the border of three biogeographical realms,
namely the Palearctic to the north, the Afro-tropical to
the south and the Saharo-Arabian both to east and west.
These mixed conditions and the unique topography of
the Petra area, have allowed for interaction of animals
and plants from all three realms, producing an unex-
pected diversity for such a limited area [10]. In their
field guide to the animals and plants of Petra, and based
on extensive field surveys to various parts of the park,
Ruben & Disi 2006 [10], indicated that almost 40% of
all the species that occur in Jordan have been recorded
so far in the Petra area, listing and/or describing most of
Petra Archaeological Park plants, mammals, Amphibians
and reptiles, and Birds. Almost 750 plant species has been
reported by previous studies in Petra, however the esti-
mated total of plant species recorded in Jordan is around
2250. Additionally, 42 species of reptiles and amphibians
107 bird species (both resident and migrant) and 31 spe-
cies of mammals have been recorded in Petra out of 102,
420 and 77 species known to occur in Jordan, respectively.
The above figures indicate how rich and diverse the Petra
region wildlife is.
Many of these species have significant conservation
status at national, regional and international levels. Re-
garding plants of Petra region at least 25 species are
considered endemic to Jordan and to the Eastern Medi-
terranean region and more than 30 species are considered
threatened at both national and regional levels including
tree species. Many are locally and nationally rare (Table
2). All these do occur in various habitats within the PAP.
Moreover, Petra is the southern limit of distribution of
Phoenician Juniper in Jordan, and virtually the northern
limit (in addition to Wadi Arabah) for Acacia trees in the
Arabian Peninsula [11-13].
For mammals, which do enjoy a wider home range and
expected to be found in most habitats (with special habitat
preferences depending on the species), many have sig-
nificant conservation status such as three species of foxes,
Table 1. Classification of habitats encountered in Petra Na-
tional Park.
1) Artemisia, steppe and grassland brush to west and east of
mountainous ridges.
2) Steep limestone scarps in the Mediterranean region and within
the mountainous ridges.
3) Several steep gorges and block fans on granite mainly on the
western part of the Park
4) Weathered sandstone with scrub
5) Sandy Wadis with Retama raetam and others
6) Bare bed rock
7) Gravel hills and plains to the east.
8) Scattered Acaccia trees in wadis towards the west
9) Open Acacia woodland in Wadi Arabah
10) Juniper wood scattered along the highlands
11) Wadis with Oleander intersecting various parts of the park.
12) Scrub woodland of Quercus calliprinos (outside the Park area)
with individual trees within the Park
13) Cultivation and agricultural fields (fodders and crops)
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Table 2. List and conservation status of plant species inhabiting Petra region (Source: GCEP, 2000a [11]).
Family name Species name English name Status Habitat
ANACARDIACEAE Pistacia atlantica Atlantic pistachio Threatened Mountains, steppe, and open woodlands
Pistacia khinjuk Endemic, ThreatenedSteppe, among shrubs. Very rare
APIACEAE Ferula sinaica Endemic Desert and sandy grounds of Edom
ASCLEPIADACEAE Calotropis procera Sadom’s Apple Threatened Tropical areas
Caralluma sinaica Threatened Rocky grounds in Jordan valley
ASTERACEAE Anthemis edumea Endemic Western Steppe facing Wadi Arabah
Anthemis maris-mortui Endemic Wadi in Hammada, desert region
Anthemis nabataea Nabataean Daisy Endemic Steppe areas
Chrysanthemum coronarium Crown daisy Threatened Fallow fields on various soils
Cousinia dayi Endemic Roadsides and disturbed grounds in high
mountains Stony fields above 1000 m
Cousinia moabitica Endemic Stony fields above less than 1000 m
Filago inexpectata Endemic Alluvial soils
Picris amalectana Endemic Sandy soils in deserts and steppe regions
Tragopogon collinus Threatened Rocky desert and steppe on sandstone
BALANITACEAE Balanites aegyptiaca Egyptian Balsam Threatened Hot deserts, oases and wadis of Jordan Valley
BORAGINACEAE Heliotropium maris-mortui Endemic Arid slopes of hills facing Wadi Arabah
BRASSICACEAE Arabis nova Rock-cress Threatened Batha
Hesperis pendula Threatened Batha among rocks
Matthiola arabica Endemic Open ground, stony or sandy in various
CUPRESSACEAE Cupressus sempervirens Funeral Cypress Threatened Limestone soils (rendzina)
Juniperus phoenica Phoenician JuniperThreatened Rocky sandstone slopes
FABACEAE Astragalus aaronsohnianus Milk Vetch Endemic Sandstone hills of Petra
FAGACEAE Quercus calliprinos
(= Q. coccifera) Kermes Oak Threatened Upland areas often on limestone soils
GLOBULARIACEAE Globularia arabica Arabian GlobulariaThreatened High, Sandy and rocky, dry mountains
IRIDACEAE Crocus moabiticus Moab Crocus Endemic Fallow fields
Iris edomensis Edom Iris Endemic Open hillsides
Iris petrana Petra Iris Endemic Steppe and marginal areas
Romulea petraea Romulea of Petra Endemic Sandy soils in Petra area
LAMIACEAE Ballota philistaea Endemic Mainly on sandy loams among shrubs
Phlomis platystegia Endemic Rocky slopes in deserts
LILIACEAE Aloe vera Aloe Threatened Rocky and sandy slopes in Petra
Colchicum tunicatum Endemic Gravely and clayey open steppe
Tulipa systola Wild Tulip Threatened Rocky slopes in limestone mountains
MIMOSACEAE Acacia raddiana Acacia Threatened Hot wadis at low altitudes
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Acacia tortilis Acacia Threatened Hot wadis at low altitudes
MORINGACEAE Moringa peregrina Threatened Along rocky and stony wadis
ORCHIDACEAE Epipactis veratrifolia Scarce March
Helleborine Threatened Near springs and water courses along with
Phragmites and Typha
PALMAE Phoenix dactylifera Date Palm Threatened Hot wadis with water
PAPAVERACEAE Glaucium grandiflorum Red Horned poppyThreatened Steppe, roadsides and disturbed ground
POLYGONACEAE Calligonum comosum Threatened Sands and sand dunes in Wadi Arabah
RESEDACEAE Ochradenus baccatus Threatened Hot, dry and tropical areas and wadis
RHAMNACEAE Ziziphus spina-christi Christ’s Thorn Threatened Low altitude hot areas, wadis and fields
ROSACEAE Amygdalus korschinskyii Wild Almond Threatened Disturbed Oak forested areas, maquis-steppe
SALVADORACEAE Salvadora persica Toothbrush Tree/SiwakThreatened Hot deserts, oases and sometimes saline solis
SCROPHULARIACEAE Kickxia aegyptiaca Egyptian Toadflax Endemic Desert areas
Kickxia petrana Petra Toadflax Endemic Rocky deserts
Scrophularia nabataeorum Endemic Rocky places
SOLANACEAE Lycium petraeum Boxthorn Endemic Stone walls surrounding fields in Petra
area steppe regions
TAMARICACEAE Tamarix jordanis Jordan Tamarisk Threatened Dry sandy areas and wadi beds at streams
and fresh water bodies
Tamarix palaestina Tamarisk Endemic, ThreatenedSaline Water streams
ZYGOPHYLLACEAE Seetzenia lanata Endemic Hot deserts and pebbly wadi beds in Wadi
wolf, striped hyena, Ethiopian hedgehog, two species of
bats, wild cat, rock hyrax, Nubian ibex, porcupine, and
dorcas gazelle (Table 3) [14,15].
Almost all herpetofauna (amphibians and reptiles) of
Petra are significant for conservation action and their
numbers are declining to various reasons but mainly
destruction of habitats (Table 4). The Petra Rock Lizard,
of a Palearctic origin is considered a relict species, and
although species have their own habitat preferences but
some are expanding such as the Black Desert Cobra,
others like Saw-scaled Viper, which has a steppe habitat
preference but is penetrating into the Mediterranean bio-
tope [16,17]. The Jordan Rift Valley is a major corridor
for bird migration between Eastern Europe and Africa.
Additionally, Petra has been also identified as an Impor-
tant Bird Area (IBA) according to BirdLife International
criteria of designation of IBAs [18]. Of the significant
species recorded from Petra are: The Globally threatened
Lesser Kestrel (migrant and summer visitor in low
numbers), and the Imperial Eagle (Rare migrant). Other
threatened species and declining in numbers include: the
Lammergeier (Possible very rare resident), Griffon Vul-
ture (very rare resident in neighboring mountains),
Honey Buzzard (migrant), Egyptian Vulture (migrant
and used to nest in Petra), Sooty Falcon (summer visitor
and rare breeder) and the Sinai Rose finch (resident) in
addition to many restricted range migrating and resident
species (Table 5) [16,19,20].
The above, truly indicates that Petra is a living mu-
seum of highly diversified landscape, habitats and spe-
cies hence, several studies presented various recom-
mendations to conserve the wealthy natural heritage in
the park. These recommendation basically calls upon:
Promoting Eco-tourism, minimizing overgrazing and
wood collection and logging and developing and imple-
menting of wildlife rehabilitation programs and main-
stream birds conservation especially the threatened spe-
cies, and is missing from, to the overall management
plan for the Park.
4.1. Broad Zoning of the Petra
Archeological Park
Based on field work and the available literature, some
mega biological zones can be identified within PAP.
Such subdivision is triggered mainly by the topography.
Nevertheless, each mega zone does include a mixture of
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Table 3. List of recorded mammal species and their conservation status in Petra region. (Source: GCEP, 2000c [13]).
Scientific name Common name National status IUCN status OthersHabitats
Rhinopoma microphyllum Larger Rat-tailed Bat Vulnerable Desert habitats, Shallow open caves,
houses and ruins
Rhinopoma hardwickei Lesser Rat-tailed Bat Vulnerable Arid habitats, Shallow open caves,
houses and ruins
Tadarida teniotis European Free-tailed Bat Vulnerable Rocky areas with cliffs
Eptesicus bottae Botta’s Serotine Bat Vulnerable Arid regions
Pipistrellus bodenheimeri Bodenheimer’s pipistrelle Rare Arid regions/Wadi Arabah
Plecotus austriacus Grey Long-eared Bat Vulnerable Caves, ruins and underground tunnels
Hystrix indica Indian Crested Porcupine Vulnerable Rocky wadis with vegetation
Procavia capensis syriace Rock Hayarx Vulnerable Rocky terrain with steep cliffs
Canis lupus Wolf Endangered Diverse habitats but avoid true deserts
Vulpes vulpes Red Fox Common/Vulnerable Diverse habitats but avoid true deserts
Vulpes ruppelli Sand Fox Endangered Insufficiently Known Deserts and steppe areas
Vulpes cana Blandford’s Fox Vulnerable Insufficiently KnownCITES IICliffs and rocky mountains
Hyaena hyaena Striped Hyena Vulnerable Earth dens in all habitats favoring dry
deserts, rocky hills, wadis
Felis silvestris Wild Cat Vulnerable Semi arid wadis with vegetation and
permanent water
Felis (caracal) caracal Caracal Endangered Rare CITES IArid regions
Gazella dorcas Dorcas Gazelle Vulnerable CITESIIIArid gravel plains
Capra ibex nubiana Nubian Ibex Endangered Rare Rocky cliffs and steep mountains near
Table 4. List of herpatofauna species and their conservation status in Petra region. (Source: Disi, 2002 [7]).
Scientific name Common name National status OthersHabitats
Testudo graeca terrestris Spur-thighed Mediterranean TortoiseVulnerable CITE IIVariable, open forest, sparsely vegetate
and semi arid areas
Chamaeleo chamaeleon recticrista Common Chameleon Conservation Dependent Trees and shrubs in various habitats
Lacerta kulzeri petrae Petra Rock Lizard Relict species EndemicArid Habitats/Wadi Arabah on rocks
and wadi beds
Natrix tessellata Diced Water Snake Vulnerable Permanent water bodies
habitats that can be potentially delineated but remains
out of scope of the current phase of the study. Broadly,
the park can be zoned as the following (Figure 2).
4.1.1. Zone 1: Wadi Arabah and Steep Gorges
to the West Including the Artemisia and
Annual Grasses Steppe to the West
These comprise a large part of the park, with difficulty
of access at some sites specially the steep slopes. Vari-
ous types of habitats can be observed in this zone in-
cluding the types: 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 13 (Table 1).
Although this zone comprises a major portion of the
park, however, this is the least studied zone. Various
studies were made on plants, animals and birds of Wadi
Arabah in general, and even at close areas such as simi-
lar areas within the Dana Wildlife Reserve to the north
of the Park and Jabal Masauda (a proposed protected
area, by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Na-
ture (RSCN) to the South of the Park).
Main land usage of these areas is grazing, and recently
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Table 5. List of bird species and their conservation status in Petra region (Source: RSCN, 2000 [19]).
Scientific name Common name Status Habitat
Ciconia ciconia White stork Migrant, declining Open cultivated areas near water, seen only in migration
Pernis apivorus Honey Buzzard Migrant, declining Forested areas
Neophron percnopterus Egyptian Vulture Migrant/Threatened Open plains, mountains, deserts and cultivated country
but not forested areas
Gyps fulvus Griffon Vulture Migrant, declining Open dry valleys, or plateaus
Aquila heliaca Imperial Eagle Migrant, Threatened Plains, marches and open fields. Nest on big trees
Falco naumanni Lesser Kestrel Breeding, migrant, ThreatenedDesert, steppes and open country. Cliffs important
for breeding
Falco concolor Sooty Falcon Migrant, breeding, declining Rocky sandstone mountains
Ammoperdrix heyi Sand partridge Residnet resrtricted ranege Semi arid habitats
Turdoides squamiceps Arabian Babbler Resident, rare Arid, bushy habitats near cultivation
Onychognathus tristramii Tristram’s Grackle Resident, restricted range Rocky hills, and wadis with scattered vegetation,
semi-desert with Acacia trees
Serinus syriacus Syrian Serin Resdident, Threatened Open vegetated areas
Carpodacus synoicus Sinai-rosefinch Resident Rocky cliffs
Figure 2. A map of Petra, Jordan showing the three suggested
mega zones of Petra Archeological Park.
is witnessing expansion of agricultural projects. Wood
collection and logging is also practiced. This part is evi-
dently part of the Jordan Valley migration corridor, and
could be a target for environmentally friendly develop-
ment and ecotourism (especially bird watching) devel-
opment. The site requires more extensive research to
document its biological characteristics and to enable
delineation of various habitats occurring within.
4.1.2. Zone 2: Mountainous Ridges and Rocky
Slopes of the Mediterranean Region
Located Almost Centrally in the Park
and at the Southern Limit and Part of
the Eastern Borders
These are mostly inaccessible. Habitats at these parts
are 2, 4, 6, 10, and 11 (Table 1). Some detailed surveys
on plants and animals (through Petra National Trust
(PNT) projects) have been conducted especially where
some archaeological sites exist (Altar, Monastery, etc)
and at the eastern ridges overlooking the Siq area. How-
ever, extensive survey of these could be in-practical and
hence these zones are better designated as no go zones.
At sites where routes exist towards some archaeological
areas, environmentally sound practices should be pro-
moted, carrying capacity should be estimated and moni-
toring programs should be developed.
The ridges at the southern borders of the Park are as
well inaccessible as zone 1; it is recommended that these
are designated as no go zones. An ambiguous concern at
these ridges is grazing. A more discussion on grazing is
presented later below.
4.1.3. Zone 3: Central Basin and Steep
Limestone Scarps and Weathered
This is where major tourism activity is taking place
and includes the city centre. The main types of habitats
are 4, 5, 7, 11 and 13 (Table 1). These habitats have
been extensively studied by PNT previous projects. This
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zone can be subdivided into three subdivisions: 1) City
Center (Roman Road up to Turkomania), a largely eroded
area and much disturbed. There is some presence of Sea
Squill (Urginia maritia) that has become dominant in the
area in the absence of other species that have been lost
due to disturbance 2) Zone north to City Center. This
area consists of weathered sandstone scrub, sandy wadis
with Retama raetam and others, bare bed rock and
gravel hills and plains type of habitats. Although, these
areas are not yet heavily impacted, with the increasing
number of tourists, however, it’s important to develop
appropriate conservation and monitoring programs. The
zone is subject to grazing, agriculture, and has an abun-
dance of tourism related facilities 3) Gravel hills and
plains running south-west of the city center and over-
looking Wadi Arabah, including Mount Harun site, vir-
tually separating Northern and central mountainous
ridges from southern ridges.
4.2. Key Conservation Sites within the PAP
Tables 2-5 which lists key and indicator species of
plants, mammals, herpetofauna and birds, suggest some
key/sensitive sites of conservation value. Although these
habitats and the microhabitats created within do respond
to one or more of the above mentioned types, and hence
more focus is given to identify these.
4.2.1. Rocky Cliffs and Slopes
Rocky cliffs largely present within the PAP. Such
sites are considered vital to biodiversity as they are im-
portant for several breeding birds (Sinai Rose finch,
Lesser Kestrel) and mammals such as the Nubian Ibex.
These are basically present in Zone 1 of the suggested
zoning above.
4.2.2. Sandstone Mountains
These are important sites to support Phoenician juni-
per, and mammals such as the Hyrax spp. and some
breeding birds such as sooty falcon. Again these consti-
tute a major part of Zone 1 which largely encompasses
mountainous limestone and sandstone ridges.
4.2.3. Open Hillsides and Weathered
These mainly occur within the central basin and in-
clude the gavel hills and plains within zone 3. They pro-
vide suitable habitats for several endemic and threatened
plant species such as Iris edomensis.
4.2.4. Wadis and Runoffs
These are of particular significance and intersecting
through various topographic regions within the PAP
with varying depths and lengths. Hence they do occur
within the three zones. They cross through mountainous
ridges, Sandstones hills and even desert. These are im-
portant since they provide moisture to sustain green
growth, and source of many life forms (plants, mammals,
herpetofauna, birds). Some do have water flowing all
year long and some are only flooded during rainy season
(and snow melting). Some are rocky in nature but many
others are sandy. This diverse nature of Wadis reflects
their biological role to sustain existing life forms. Wadis
within the Mediterranean biotope are usually character-
ized by the domination of the Oleander. As wadis run
into desert and as wadis descend towards the steppe re-
gions, the dominant species becomes the Ratem.
4.2.5. Sandy Areas, Sand Dunes and Other
Desert Habitats
Very unique sites that do occur at few sites within the
PAP but mainly concentrated in Zone 2. These constitute
important habitats to sustain variety of wild plants and
4.3. Extra Findings from the Field Visits
The team during field visits managed to have meet-
ings and interviews with a variety of stakeholders within
the PAP and the Petra Region. The discussions revealed
some key facts regarding the PAP which would require
more elaboration and investigation to enable putting
forward suitable adaptive management schemes and
zoning. These issues include:
4.3.1. Grazing within the PAP and Role in Habitat
There were no specific studies elaborating the grazing
pattern and its impacts on natural resources in the area.
Around 3000 sheep, 7000 goats, 70 camels, 400 donkeys
and mules, 400 horses owned by locals do graze within
the park and adjacent boundaries, affecting the archaeo-
logical resources/monuments through their movement
and at the same time damaging the natural habitats.
Overgrazing by goats has been prevalent for centuries in
Jordan. Very likely flocks grazed on the steppe area to
the east and during drought they began to encroach on
forest margins. Contrary to sheep grazing, goats not only
eat leaves and shoots of the tree, they also destroy seed-
lings and ground vegetation, thus preventing plant re-
Steppe habitats in Jordan are best used for herbivory
activities. Such sites within PAP emerge as candidate
alternative sites to the highlands. However, a rangeland
management assessment and a plan based on detailed
studies and surveys should be done before reaching a
decision regarding the areas in which grazing should be
permitted or banned totally in the PAP.
S. Damhoureyeh et al. / Natural Science 3 (2011) 1040-1049
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
4.3.2. Agricultural Activities
Several agricultural activities are taking place within
the PAP. Some are at a very limited scale on the lands
inhabited by approx. 20 Bdul families living in Stouh
Nabi Haroun in caves, and in tents. There is some con-
struction for storage and limited dwelling (this construc-
tion is not licensed). There is evidence of unauthorized
agriculture for (fodder and crops mainly Olives) within
the Park boundaries on the publicly owned lands.
Agricultural practices need to be monitored and usage
of fertilizers and pesticides should be assessed. Such
encroachment onto natural landscapes could result in
medium-long term impacts on habitat and species diver-
sity. A couple of treated waster projects have been initi-
ated in Petra, Such interventions can provide alternatives
and source of income to locals for fodder cropping and
agriculture in designated sites outside the PAP.
4.3.3. Tourism Related Activities
In 2005 & 2006 the number of tourists visiting Petra
was estimated about 393 and 360 thousand respectively.
In 2007, the number increased to reach about 577 thou-
sand. With the declaration of Petra as one of the World’s
Wonders, the number of visitors is expected to increase
to reach 1,000,000 per year (personal communication
with Mr. G. Nasser, Petra national trust, Amman, Jor-
dan). This tremendous increase in number of visitors has
its potential challenges of sustainably managing the site
and conservation of its natural resources. Of the con-
cerns to be addressed are: 1) Regulating establishment of
Tourist camps inside the PAP ensures environmental
compatibility of their operations to reduce impacts on
natural resources (vandalism, noise, solid and liquid waste,
etc). This requires that developing and rigorous imple-
mentation of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
protocols for future permission of sites and facilities. 2)
Designation of fixed tourists trails need to be determined.
Some of these trails could require animals transport, and
hence movement of animals and transport need to be
likewise organized at specific, environmentally accepted
trails and not allowed for all areas. This in turn requires
more assessment to develop appropriate planning. 3) In
order to accommodate the increased influx of tourist,
there is a suggestion to have separate entrance and exit
points to and from the PAP respectively. A similar, ap-
proach should be subject to a rigorous EIA especially if
vehicular transport (to include type of fuel used, emis-
sions, road requirements etc.) within the PAP is envis-
aged as one of the options facilitating this process.
4.3.4. Water Resources
The Park is highly dissected with wadis and runoffs of
varying sizes and lengths, with some permanent water
present all the years, temporal ponds and runoffs espe-
cially from mountains towards lower areas and Wadi
Arabah. There is no specific study regarding water, es-
pecially rain water cycle within the PAP. At several sites,
road/trails construction mainly at mountainous ridges
has caused redirection water runoffs and this in turn has
its impact on downstream habitats. Dying back of Juni-
per trees at some sites could be the result of blockage
and redirection activities. Hydrological study of the PAP
stems as an important for urgent assessment and study.
4.4. Other Concerns Affecting Wildlife
The following are other problems that have been ob-
served during field visits or known from the interviews
with locals: wood cutting and collection; illegal excava-
tion and illicit sales of findings; introducing of exotic
species to the site (plants, trees, stray dogs and feral
animals,); and Vehicular movement within the PAP.
The current study is a status report based on the pre-
sent situation and on previous studies. Previous ecologi-
cal studies didn’t cover the whole parts of the PAP. For
accurate and more detailed zoning of PAP than the
above broad zoning, more extensive research and data
gathering from all sites especially the unstudied ones is
needed. New research methodologies, using, GIS knowl-
edge, introducing remote sensing techniques can also be
envisaged. All sites that are not studied well yet should
be designated as no go zones for development, until such
studies and assessments could be conducted. However,
and for developmental purposes, an EIA protocol should
be enforced to asses the impacts of any suggested de-
velopment within each of these broad zones.
Grazing remains a major concern, not only in Petra
but also in the Jordan valley and Wadi Arabah, and this
requires preparing appropriate research appraisals to
understand this activity and accordingly to make appro-
priate recommendations for the purpose of the develop-
ment of the zoning management plan. Some of the stud-
ied and visited areas show the devastating impact of
grazing to these sites. No regulations controlling this
activity are in place within the PAP, and this activity is
taking place virtually everywhere within the PAP and
outside it. Better understanding of grazing patterns and
socio-economics related to this activity needs to proceed
in parallel with a rangeland rehabilitation program to
impacted areas whenever possible (e.g. Mount Harun
Institutional and human capacity development are
needed to provide adequate training and capacity build-
ing on conserving and monitoring wildlife, ecotourism
S. Damhoureyeh et al. / Natural Science 3 (2011) 1040-1049
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
and to identify threatened species and implement moni-
toring programs. There are widely accepted programs
that can be used such as Nature reserve monitoring pro-
grams implemented in Wildlife Reserves in Jordan by
RSCN, and the Global IBAs Monitoring Framework
(BirdLife International, 2004). The monitoring program
is a research program to develop the tools necessary to
monitor and assess the environmental and social settings
status and trends in response to the different develop-
ment activities. Also, it is necessary to assess the institu-
tional performance against and compliance with the
regulations and standards in order to protect people’s
health and safety, and the environment health and per-
formance. Establishing an environmental unit within the
PAP and/or provide adequate training of senior staff and
orientation of project staff is also considered as a cost
effective means to reduce impacts. In order to fulfill the
awareness and training requirements: 1) Training re-
quirements for each operational unit within the PAP and
PRA should be identified and then established; 2) Per-
sonnel should be trained in their specific environmental
responsibilities that are directly related to significant
aspects, targets, and objectives of the site management; 3)
Personnel that do not have a significant functional role
should receive a kind of awareness training programs.
We wish to thank PNT and USAID program for providing the fi-
nancial support.
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