Major ecosystem type

Mujib Reserve is a vital site for the conservation of many nationally, regionally and internationally threatened species. It has many habitats that provide the needed requirement for these species survival and sustainability. It embraces two bio-geographical zones (Irano–turanian and Acacia and UNESCO - Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme – Mujib Biosphere Reserve nomination form September, 2010 Rocky Sudanian), and five vegetation types; these are: Steppe, Mediterranean non Forest, Saline, Tropical and Water vegetation, the existence of these vegetation types (also considered as the main ecosystems and habitats of the reserve) has played a major role in increasing the flora and fauna diversity.

Research and monitoring

Comprehensive ecological and socio economic baseline researches have been carried out since the reserve establishment in 1985.

The objectives of these research activities are to establish presence and distribution of key species and habitats that have conservation importance, assess the threats and its impact on these habitats and species and provide recommendations for the management and conservation activities. For socio economic surveys, the objectives are more directed to fully understand the resources that are available to the various communities, villages and settlements living in and surrounding the study areas, the socio economic implications and issue that exist in the reserve, the level of dependency of local communities on the reserve’s natural resources.

The end results of these survey are used to define options and scenarios for the stakeholders involvement and participation in the reserve establishment, management and monitoring, and provide recommendations about possible interventions, socio economic projects and enterprises that suite the reserve and its local communities. Environmental monitoring is a key tool for checking if the reserve management schemes have positive or negative impact on important habitat and species.

Most of the monitoring activities are carried out by RSCN research team who has a wide range of experience in the field of wildlife research. Environmental monitoring program is usually established for key environmental parameters identified in the management plan. Up to date, many environmental monitoring activities have been carried out on a regular and periodic base and have provided many recommendations that shaped the different management aspects in the reserve

Different existing zonation

The zonation scheme of the reserve is usually defined based on understanding of how and in what intensity are ecologically important habitats and its plant and animal species distributed throughout the reserve on one hand, and the extent of negative human-induced pressure throughout the reserve on the other hand.

By understanding that, the zonation scheme can provide the maximum protection to the parts that are most ecologically important and least affected by human interference. The need of zonation scheme preparation is a requirement for the reserve management plan and is considered as an integral part of it. According to the environmental law, each management plan with its zonation scheme should be approved formally by the Ministry of Environment. Any violation for the zonation scheme will be penalised according to the environmental and agricultural 10 laws articles.

The reserve management follows the IUCN protected areas management planning guidelines in preparing the reserve’s zonation scheme.

This IUCN scheme is different slightly from the biosphere reserve zonation. As mentioned in the previous sections, the reserve has currently three main zones:

1. Wilderness Zone: Equivalent to the Core Area:

This area represents 60.46% of the reserve area. In this zone, roads and infrastructure development are excluded, and manipulative management techniques normally prohibited. Natural processes dominate. This zone has the best preserved natural values.

10 Agricultural law has many articles dedicated for hunting, wooding cutting and grazing. UNESCO - Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme – Mujib Biosphere Reserve nomination form September, 2010.  The core area is large enough to protect the various key habitats and species and allowing conservation objectives to be achieved. The area is a so facilitating the carry out of logistic functions such as the research, monitoring and education.

2. Semi Intensive Use Zone: Equivalent to Buffer Area:

This area represents 36.19% of the reserve area. Limited development would be permitted in this zone, but must not be detrimental to the special or unique values of the park.

An important purpose of this zone is to cater for certain types of recreational use, thereby relieving pressures on wilderness area. In all cases the development should have minimal impact and serve only the immediate users of the designated area and not hindering the conservation efforts. This area is directly protecting the core area and absorbs all the negatives shock and impacts.

The area allows many logistic functions to be conducted and contribute to reserve management planning and conservation. Moreover, the area promotes sustainable development activities that help in sustaining the natural resources and local communities’ livelihood. This has been achieved through effective participation of local communities in rangeland and grazing management in the reserve.

3. Intensive Use Zone: Equivalent to Transition Area:

This area represents 3.35% of the reserve area. The purpose of this zone is to accommodate major roads, hotels, accommodation and service, facilities and any sustainable development activities and initiatives.

This area promotes largely the sustainable development though promoting sustainable agricultural practices and integrated water management in the transition areas and beyond the reserve boundaries.

To achieve appropriate community - based programs, the reserve management has provided many capacity building programs to the targeted local communities aiming at building better understanding among them about issues related to conservation and management planning, sustainable development and environmental awareness.

The reserve has created many socio economic workshops aiming at providing alternative livelihood income land uses. The current management plan will be expired by the end of 2010 and the existing zonation will be reviewed and updated to reflect new future challenges and the biosphere zonation scheme.

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                                                                                          Last updated : July 2011

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