Dana Biosphere Reserve was founded in 1989. It covers an area exceeding 300 square kilometres of scenic and winding terrain facing the Rift Valley. The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature is responsible for its management .
Dana Biosphere Reserve extends from an altitude of 1,500 metres on the Qadisiyah plateau to the low-lying desert area of Wadi Araba where it drops to about one hundred metres below the sea level. The reserve is characterised by the presence of some valleys characterised by picturesque sights. In addition, Dana is geologically diverse in limestone and granite, and it is the only nature reserve in Jordan that contains four bio-geographical zones: Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian, Saharo-Arabian, and Sudanian penetration.
Dana is the most diverse area in Jordan in terms of environmental systems and plant life, as exemplified in the presence of various vegetation types like Phoenician juniper, evergreen oak, sand dunes, and rocky sudanian. Another characteristic of the reserve is that it the natural habitat of durable cypress tree forests.
Dana contains more than 800 plant species, three of which cannot be found anywhere in the world. The names of these plants in Latin include the word "Dana".
Another distinguished characteristic of the reserve is the unique diversity of fauna and flora, as it embraces rare plants and animal species. It is the natural home of endangered species, including Nubian ibex, Syrian serin, caracal, and lesser kestrel. Dana can be considered to be one of the best places in the world which supports the presence of Syrian serin and the existence of Aysag hawk and its breeding.
Arroyos and springs constitute the only two water drinking resources for wild animals in the reserve. They also contribute to the distribution of wild animals inside the reserve, because the presence of water springs provides the vegetation upon which other creatures rely in their diet. In addition, the change of the quality and quantity of flowing water from these springs has a direct, significant effect on the main components of the existing ecosystem.
98 archaeological sites were recorded in the reserve; some of these sites date back to the Stone Age ( nearly 20,000 years ago), while others are closely linked to the Nabataean, Roman and Byzantine periods and the early Islamic period. The most important, most visible and largest of these sites is the ancient copper mining centre in Finan area which is located on the south-western boundary of the reserve, while other archaeological sites include military fortresses dating back to the Hellenistic and early Islamic eras.
The Fauna and flora of Dana
Al-Badan that belongs to Ungulates is endangered in the region. Given the fact that there are few numbers and the increasing cases of its hunting , it enjoys special attention in protection and environmental monitoring programmes . This animal was the most important nutritional requirements for the Arab tiger which disappeared from the area. However, some birds of prey such as eagles can eat small kids. The dead bodies of these animals are also an important source for feeding up scavengers such as hyena and brown eagle.
This bird lives in the upper part of the reserve. It is one of the most important birds for hunters. It has been noted that it nearly disappeared from the area surrounding the reserve and its numbers are currently increasing in the reserve. The partridge constitutes an important nutritional source for caracal and it is also well-known that red fox hunts this bird.
Rock hyrax (also called rock badger) belongs to hyraxes. It is existent in all areas of the reserve, especially the areas covered with rocks. It constitutes an important food resource for one of the most important birds in the reserve, namely black eagle. The presence of this bird in adequate numbers is one of the factors that contributes to the continuity of its nesting within the boundaries of the reserve.
It is one of the most important reptiles inside the reserve, because it is internationally threatened with extinction. It spreads in the area covered with sand dunes in the lower part of the reserve. It eats lizards, small uromastyx, beavers and snakes.
It spreads in the area that forms part of the Jordan Valley, and it is available in a few numbers . Uromastyx are burrowing animals whose main food source is grass and the remnants of plants. It also eats some big insects.
It is one of the most beautiful humming birds. It exists in farms and the places covered with trees and bushes near water springs. It eats the seeds of plants and thorns. Some hawks rely on small birds as a food source, including sparrow.
The natural cypress wood in the southern part of the reserve constitutes the collecting point of this type of trees in the world, as the age of some trees is more than thousand years. The wood is regarded as the natural habitat of some plants. Furthermore, some environmental observation activities are concentrated in this wood, as in the case of observing the natural regeneration of trees.
Forests of evergreen oak trees and juniper
These trees spread in the upper part of the reserve within the Mediterranean climate region, and these forests constitute an important home for many wild animals and birds nesting in , as they play an important role in preventing soil erosion in the areas in which they spread.
Ghada shrubs are salt-tolerant plants and resist drought, so they are classified as a type of sand dune plants. Ghada shrubs provide habitat for wild animals and a source of food. It also plays an important role in the stabilization of sand dunes and prevention of desertification.
The reserve has become the main driver of tourism in Bsayra. It has brought two projects associated with environmental tourism for the benefit of the people of Dana and Qadisiyah Tourist Charity Association; it is the first tourist charity association in Tafila and has about 80 members. The reserve is administrated in two major locations in the reserve and its surroundings:
Al-Rumanah Camp is an environmental camp located inside the reserve and can only be reached by using the bus of Al-Rumanah Camp. The camp has about twenty tents to spend the night in and accommodates about 70 people; two goat hair tents are incorporated to receive visitors during the day; the camp also has a maximum capacity of 75 people in day visits; in total, the camp has a maximum capacity to accommodate 145 every day (defined according to environmental criteria). There are also facilities in the camp to provide meals and health facilities for the use of visitors.
Hospitality House (in Dana Centre /Dana Village) consists of nine rooms (accommodate 23-28 visitors)and a public room for visitors and provides meals at this facility.
Environmental Finan Hostel , which is founded in Finan area (100 km south of the Dead Sea), is designed as a tourist hostel to reflect the legacy of the region, especially Dana village, in addition to opening a guest house in Finan area which has more than 26 rooms to receive visitors and focuses on the promotion of Finan area, which is well-known for the adverse effects of copper mining, and ancient civilizations that inhabited the region, as Finan is the second most important archaeological site in Jordan after Petra. This hostel was chosen as the fifth best site for ecotourism in the world.