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Dr. Mohammad Alnsour, Jihad Zawaidah, and Maha Mousa
Jordan’s Badia which represents 80% of Jordan’s area characterized by hyper-dry climate, is a unique socio-ecological dryland system as its natural ecosystems are severely degraded due to demographic and natural challenges. Unfortunately, previous restoration efforts were challenged due to knowledge barriers and limited community engagement. The Watershed and Development Initiative (WADI) is a Jordanian NGO established in 2018 and funded by US Forest Service, International Programs (USFS IP) to improve and implement ecological restoration programs in Jordan. USFS IP developed a comprehensive intervention plan based on its vast experience generated in the U.S. and worldwide throughout the years. Restoration plans were customized to local conditions WADI experts supported in their successful implementation and transferring the knowledge and experience to local communities, nongovernmental, and governmental institutions across Jordan. The value chain approach uses state-of-the art science to propagate high-quality native seedlings, linking nursery operations to restoration planning, provides capacity building and continuous technical support, and applies a user-friendly M&E system to document and improve processes and techniques. The activities created 20 annual full-time jobs, thousands of seasonal jobs, co-established four nurseries with annual production capacity of 310,000 seedlings, engaged communities across Jordan with emphasis on women and youth, proved the importance of community-led restoration, developed measured criteria for seedlings’ quality of main species, and developed traditional and GIS-based measures to assess and monitor restoration success. The approach resulted in raising survival rate of planted seedlings to above 70%, compared to 20% reported previously, with no or limited irrigation needs post-planting which renders restoration programs more feasible to implement, considering that Jordan is the 2nd poorest country in the world in water per capita. An ecological restoration approach was developed and proven to be easily scalable to restore Jordan’s Badia and other degraded ecosystems, and provides a myriad of economic, social, and environmental benefits especially among marginalized groups and underserved communities
Conference Presentation, SER2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program