“Does a copper mine have priority over nature and world heritage?“
The Dana Nature Reserve is one of the most diverse and important bird areas in the Middle East with breeding populations of globally threatened species like Sooty Falcon and Syrian Serin.
The habitats in the reserve have been suffering locally from droughts and local overgrazing by livestock and woodcutting. However this is nothing compared to the destruction expected from the copper mining being planned in the western side of the Reserve. We urge all who care and who are working in the fields of nature conservation, education and (eco-)tourism to raise awareness about this case.
The reserve is located along the southern rift margins of Jordan with an altitudinal range of 60 below sea level to around 1500 above sea level, and being at the crossroad of three continents, it is no wonder that this reserve holds so much diversity, ranging from deserts and arid acacia stands in the lowlands to mountain steppe and open juniper and evergreen oak woodlands.
We urge all who care and who are working in the fields of nature conservation, education and (eco-)tourism to raise awareness about this case.
Statement issued by Jordan BirdWatch, dated 08/19/2021
Subject: Decision to remove part of the Dana Nature Reserve for mining purposes
The Dana Biosphere Reserve is considered one of the most important areas for biodiversity in the Middle East due to its geographical location between three continents, and the great variation in terrain, climate and habitats within a relatively small area. It is characterized by a heterogeneous landscape and a great diversity of plant species and resident and migratory birds. The area of Dana and Feinan is also globally famous for its distinctive archeological sites and historical importance, displaying the development of human civilization that began in the Stone Ages. The area contains beautiful archaeological and natural sites visited by a large number of tourists. There is still great potential of developing Feinan and its surroundings in a sustainable manner as tourist destination, and to be a source of continuous income for local communities and for future generations. In fact, the reserve area including the village of Dana were almost deserted before the establishment of the reserve in 1994, but many of the original inhabitants came back, indicating the importance of this reserve from an economic point of view for the local communities. All activities related to copper exploration and mining in the Dana Reserve will have devastating effects on the natural environment, heritage and the economy of local communities. The previous and current efforts to protect and sustainably develop the area will be totally lost. The decision of the government to change the borders of the reserve, and promises of the authorities to the public about great profits and new job opportunities in copper mines is currently based on assumptions, and not supported by published, professional assessments or scientific studies. Assessments of the direct and accumulated negative effects on the environment and economic feasibility studies are not known to exist or to have been published. The decision contradicts the goals of sustainable development and principles of environmental protection, and it also violates some international treaties (Rio conventions) to which Jordan is a signatory. The Dana Nature Reserve will probably lose its title of “Biosphere Reserve” granted by UNESCO if the borders are significantly shifted and the area reduced by a quarter. Jordan BirdWatch is a specialized environmental society which develops and implements its programs based on scientific knowledge. Accordingly, we would like to inform first and foremost the Ministry of Environment, of our position, refusing to exclude any part of the Dana Nature Reserve, due to the expected detrimental effects of mining activities. We also recommend to strengthen and improve the management system for all nature reserves in Jordan. We all as members of the Jordanian society bear the responsibility of protecting and preserving the environment for future generations.
- ICOMOS Jordan, The International Council of Monuments and Sites – Jordan / UNESCO Presided by HRH Dana Firas Bin-Raad -named in June 2017 ‘UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador’- calls for local and international support for the protection of Dana Biosphere Reserve.
- Letter to the ministry of Antiquities, undersigned by members of the community of international and Jordanian archaeologists:
- Natural Reserves and National Parks Regulations – JORDAN
- Petition “Save Dana Biosphere Reserve & Jordanian Forests in Na’our” (change.org, ): https://www.change.org/p/jordanian-government-save-dana-biosphere-reserve-jordanian-forests-in-na-our
- Yusuf Mansur: “Copper and Dana” (Jordan Times, 1.9.)
- Expert’s opinion: copper mining in Dana is going to cause pollution of soil and water, which will have an impact on all living beings in the region.” (alghad.com, 6.9.; in Arabic language)
- “RSCN: The mountain goat to face serious threats with mining in Dana” (Jordan Times, 9.9.)
- “Committee formed to adjust Dana Biosphere Reserve boundaries” (Jordan Times, 9.9.)
- Grattan J.P., Huxley S.N., Pyatt F.B. (2003). Modern Bedouin Exposures to Copper Contamination: an Imperial Legacy? Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 55: 108-115.
- Grattan J.P., Huxley S.N., Karaki L.A., Tolund H., Gilbertson D.D., Pyatt F.B., al Saad Z . (2002): “Death more desirable than life ”? The human skeletal record and toxicological implications of ancient copper mining and smelting in Wadi Faynan, southwest Jordan. Journal of Toxicology and Industrial Health 18: 297-307.
- RSCN Statement on Dana Biosphere Reserve (mailchi.mp)
- انقذونا ضانا – Save Dana – YouTube
- „Dana Biosphere Reserve“: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosph%C3%A4renreservat_Dana; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dana_Biosphere_Reserve
- UNESCO, Dana Biosphere Reserve, Jordan: https://en.unesco.org/biosphere/arab-states/dana
- “Statement, issued by Jordan Bird Watch, dated 08/19/2021; subject: Decision to remove part of Dana Nature Reserve mining purposes” (JBW, 19.8.): http://www.jordanbirdwatch.com/news/dana-biosphere-reserve/
- “RSCN rejects gov’t decision to begin copper mining in Dana Reserve. Government resets boundaries of Dana Biosphere Reserve ‘without consulting RSCN’” (Jordan Times, 19.8.)
- “Jordan to open copper mine in country’s largest nature reserve. The Dana Biosphere Reserve is being considered for UNESCO World Heritage site status” (Jordan News, 20.8.)
- “Energy Ministry defends decision to explore copper deposits in Dana Biosphere Reserve” (Jordan Times, 21.8.)
- “Wadi Feynan copper mining will pose grave threat to archaeological, environmental treasures – scholar” (Jordan Times, 22.8.)
- “Dana nature reserve under threat” (Jordan BirdWatch, 19.8.): http://www.jordanbirdwatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/bayan-dana-jbw-statement.pdf
- Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN): “Absolute Rejection to resetting the boundaries of Dana Biosphere Reserve” (RSCN, 23.8.)
- Kafafi, Z. A. (2014). New insights on the copper mines of Wadi Faynan / Jordan. Palestine Exploration Quarterly 2014, 1-18: https://www.academia.edu/14984637/New_Insights_ont_he_Copper_Mines_of_Wadi_Faynan_Jordan
- RSCN Jordan: “Save Dana” (YouTube, in arabic language; 1:42 min): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-l1jh7abgDU&t=59s