Asia Occidental

Payment for Ecosystem Services in Jordan

Local women working in the drying and packaging unit for medicinal plants in Hima Bani Hashem

Jordan has only 5% of its total area arable. In such conditions sustainable use of natural resources is a big challenge owing to the scarcity of water, the ongoing processes of land degradation due to water and wind erosion, and increase population which reduces the economic development gains. These challenges are more exacerbated due to the anthropogenic impacts of over-grazing, unsustainable agricultural and water management practices, and over exploitation of vegetation cover. Poverty in the arid and semi-arid areas of Jordan also contributes to the increasing rates of resource degradation. It is deriving farmers and herders to produce their basic needs using unsustainable practices.

Several economic valuation studies have been undertaken for the Jordan rangeland ecosystems. They indicate that there is good potential for developing the rangeland resources in an economically viable way while ensuring that environmental objectives are met and the resource basis is not degraded.

An economic valuation study conducted by IUCN and ELD in Jordan (Westerberg et al, 2014) estimated in short, that well managed rangelands will avoid an economic cost to the country of at least 10 to 12 million JD/year.

Direct investments in local activities in the rangelands, such as in “Hima” grazing management, medicinal and aromatic plant production and ecological livestock production need to be and probably are economically feasible even for local community organizations (e.g. herder and women cooperatives). The economic rationale to invest in biodiversity conservation and to develop such financial flows through Payment for Ecosystem Services is the fact that rangelands biodiversity conservation can provide important benefits to society.

Objective:

Funded through the "mainstreaming biodiversity in silvo-pastoral and rangeland landscapes in the pockets of poverty of Jordan" project by IFAD and in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture in Jordan; The project aims to protect the local ecosystems by introducing the concept of Payment for Ecosystem Services into the rangeland management in Sylvo- Pastoral areas in Ma’an Governorate.

Results:

1. Prefeasibility study for PES interventions: Workable aspects for PES interventions and kind of expected improvements and how these improvements can be attained.

2. Two stakeholder and community consultation workshops/meetings for identifying the appropriate implementation model (geographic location, size, status, and what needs to be improved for a functional PES process).

3. Design and Implementation of Pilot activities to improve water conservation, rangeland and sylvo-pastoral reserve management - including biodiversity conservation mainstreaming measures and income generation activities. (Two PES pilot systems of tentative area 200-300 dunmus)

4. Training and primary investment for Income Generating taking into consideration gender balance and representation of the beneficiaries (60-80 trainees).

5. Assessment of the opportunities (including economic analysis) for the implemented PES pilot activities to enable replication.

6. A policy framework and comprehensive institutional analysis and identification of key-players, their roles and interrelationships for PES process.

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