An Overview of Jordan

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An Overview of Jordan Powered By Docstoc

Dr. Saeed Damhoureyeh

      Trip report
   Shaumari reserve
    Azraq reserve
    Qasr Harranah
     Qusayr Amra

      Done by:
   Asmaa Wazzan
   Hiba Abdel Aal
    Natalie Abdo
   Laial Faraheed
    Amal Trooddi
An Overview of Jordan
Since ancient history, Jordan was a birthplace for
several civilizations, and was inhabited by human
settlements all through the years. It was the pathway
for caravans traversing Arabia and India and
received caravans coming from Yemen and Hijaz.

  Although Jordan's size is limited (90,000 km2), the
landscape reveals great diversity within short
distances. As a Middle Eastern country, Jordan is
located between 29° 11' N and 33° 22' E. It is
bordered by Syria to the north, Iraq to the east, and
Saudi Arabia on both eastern and southern borders,
and Palestine to the west.


   Three main physiographic regions are identified;
    they tend to show north-south alignment.

   1. Jordan Rift valley and Wadi Araba

The rift valley extends from Lake Tiberias in the
north down to the Gulf of Aqaba in the south. In
terms of biogeography, the Rift Valley, which also
comprises Wadi Araba, is of the Sudanian type in
terms of vegetation features. Zoo geographically, the
Rift Valley has a distinctive highlight, since it
comprises the eastern limits of the Levantine land
bridge, which acts as a filter for three main global
biogeography regions, namely: the Pale arctic, the
Ethiopian, and the Oriental. For that reason it acts
as a junction for tremendously important
biodiversity traits. The area is the lowest point on
earth, reaching 396 m below sea level.
Wadi Araba extends from the south end of the Dead
Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba on the red sea. It is
considered a part of the Great Rift Valley with an
outstanding zoogeographical importance because of
its position at the focal point of the biological filter
between Pale arctic, Ethiopian and Oriental regions.
The elevation of Wadi Araba ranges between 300
meters below sea level and 200 meters with a length
of about 190 km. The mean maximum temperature
during summer is 39° C, and the mean minimum
temperature in winter is 11° C. The annual rainfall
ranges from 0-50mm, and rarely more precipitation
occurs. The soils are of sandy nature mainly, with
sands dunes of comparatively rich vegetation, in
addition to Hammada and saline soil.

In southern Jordan, the desert continues from the
northwest of Saudi Arabia. Ecologically it is included
with Wadi Araba since there's high similarity
between them in terms of topography, soil types,
annual rainfall and other environmental factors.

The ground water basins are divided into three areas
as follows:

  1. Northern Wadi Araba: Ground Water here found
     in fluviatile deposits, talus and alluvial fans
     with a total thickness of about 250m. All the
     ground water in this Area discharge into the
     Dead Sea. The amount of renewable freshwater
     resources amount to 8-10 mcm/year.
  2. Southern Wadi Araba: The ground water flow is
     directed from the north to the Red Sea in the
     south with recharge coming from precipitation
   falling in the surrounding mountains in the
   east. The throughput of aquifer is calculated to
   be around 10 mcm/year composed of brackish
3. Disi Basin: This aquifer system originates in the
   south of Jordan and extends to Saudi Arabia. It
   is characterized by very high quality water
   which holds appreciated economic potential, in
   spite of the fact that is considered as a non-
   renewable water resource. The aquifer is
   situated in an Area of low population density
   and no industry, which will culminate in
   protection of water from pollution in the long
   run. This is crucial because this aquifer is the
   only strategic water reserve in the country. In
   addition to ground water, Wadi Araba exhibits
   two important areas in terms of surface water:
   the northern wadi catchments which discharge
   to the Dead Sea and the southern wadi
   catchments which discharge to the Gulf of

The Jordan Rift Valley is part of the Syro-African
Rift. It is regarded as a passageway between
Eurasia and African fauna, and the gateway for
northward ad southward dispersal.

 2. The Highlands

The highlands extend from Um Qais in the north
passing through Ajlun Mountains, the hills of
Amman and Moab regions, and the Edom
Mountains region.
Many creeks and wadies drain from these Hills
from north to south and lead to the Jordan River,
Dead Sea and Wadi Araba.
   The southern Highlands are higher than those in
  the north, while the reverse is true concerning the
  variety of vegetation and their density.
  The highlands harbor the natural forests in the
  Kingdom, making up less than 1% of the total
  surface area. The mismanagement of this
  environmental resource is noticeable year after

   3. Badia Region "Eastern Desert"

Badia comprises the Eastern Plateau of Jordan. It is
considered as a flattened area subjected to flash
floods. Badia contains the Azraq depression, the
second after Jafar depression in the southeast of the
country. The Azraq depression formed a permanent
Azraq Oasis, currently named as w wetland reserve.
(JCSBD, P.71-73)

   Rainfall and Temperature

The major characteristic of the climate is the
contrast between a relatively rainy season from
November to April and very dry weather for the rest
of the year. With hot, dry, uniform summers and
cool, variable winters during which practically all of
the precipitation occurs, the country has a
Mediterranean-style climate. In general, the farther
inland from the Mediterranean Sea a given part of
the country lies, the greater are the seasonal
contrasts in temperature and the less rainfall.
Atmospheric pressures during the summer months
are relatively uniform, whereas the winter months
bring a succession of marked low pressure areas
and accompanying cold fronts. These cyclonic
disturbances generally move eastward from over the
Mediterranean Sea several times a month and result
in sporadic precipitation.

Most of the East Bank receives less than twelve
centimeters of rain a year and may be classified as a
dry desert or steppe region. Where the ground rises
to form the highlands east of the Jordan Valley,
precipitation increases to around thirty centimeters
in the south and fifty or more centimeters in the
north. The Jordan Valley, lying in the lee of high
ground on the West Bank, forms a narrow climatic
zone that annually receives up to thirty centimeters
of rain in the northern reaches; rain dwindles to less
than twelve centimeters at the head of the Dead Sea.

The country's long summer reaches a peak during
August. January is usually the coolest month. The
fairly wide ranges of temperature during a twenty-
four-hour period are greatest during the summer
months and have a tendency to increase with higher
elevation and distance from the Mediterranean
 Daytime temperatures during the summer months
frequently exceed 36°C and average about 32°C. In
contrast, the winter months--November to April--
bring moderately cool and sometimes cold weather,
averaging about 13°C. Except in the rift depression,
frost is fairly common during the winter, and it
occasionally snows in Amman.
For a month or so before and after the summer dry
season, hot, dry air from the desert, drawn by low
pressure, produces strong winds from the south or
southeast that sometimes reach gale force.
 Known in the Middle East by various names,
including the khamsin, this dry, sirocco-style wind
is usually accompanied by great dust clouds. Its
onset is heralded by a hazy sky, a falling barometer,
and a drop in relative humidity to about 10 percent.
Within a few hours there may be a 10°C to 15°C rise
in temperature. These windstorms ordinarily last a
day or so, cause much discomfort, and destroy crops
by desiccating them.

The shammal, another wind of some significance,
comes from the north or northwest, generally at
intervals between June and September. Remarkably
steady during daytime hours but becoming a breeze
at night, the shammal may blow for as long as nine
days out of ten and then repeat the process.

It originates as a dry continental mass of polar air
that is warmed as it passes over the Eurasian
landmass. The dryness allows intense heating of the
earth's surface by the sun, resulting in high daytime
temperatures that moderate after sunset.

     There is no doubt about the importance of the
edaphic factors, especially the soil type and the soil
texture in relation to vegetation type and the
association texture on the different soils.

The Mediterranean ecozone is characterized by the
type of soil known as terra Rosa and/or rendzina
soil. These two types are the richest and are used for
cultivation, and the dense and best vegetation found
in Jordan usually grows on such soil types. In the
Irano-Turanian ecozone, the dominant soil type is
comprised of loess and calcareous types. (JCSBD,

The soils in Jordan were studied and classified by
several workers. There are differences in methods of
classification of the soil according to the different
schools and methods used in this field; MOORMANN
(1959), ZOHARY (1962), NEDECO-DAR AL-

However, the soils in Jordan do not show mature
profile except in some places of the Mediterranean
region and under the forest vegetation, where the
best profile is found. It is made of horizons A&C,
with some litter and organic matter on the floor of
the forest. Other than that the soil is only
represented by C horizon or even just the parental
rock and that is mainly due to poor vegetation and
continuous erosion.

The soils in Jordan often show enormous variation
within a very limited area, which in turn affect the
vegetation accordingly.
The most fertile soil types in Jordan are the Terra
Rossa and the Rendzina Series or what is equal to
the Red and Yellow Mediterranean soil, which are
used for cultivation and support the best natural
vegetation in the country.

These types of soil usually occur under the
maximum amount of rainfall and the least mean
annual minimum and maximum temperatures.

The loess and calcareous are dominant in the Irano-
Turanian region, while the sandy, the saline, and
the hammada soils are dominant in the desert
region. These soil types are considered to be poor
and well correlated with poor vegetation and with a
low amount of precipitation and high temperature.
(Al-Eisawi, p.24&27)

   The desert soil is primarily composed of limestone
with flints scattered all over, or covered by a basalt
pebble and boulder that resulted from volcanic out
crossings centered on Jabal Druze. The soil of the
Southern desert is primarily composed of sand,
granite stones and sand dunes. The soil of Wadi
Araba is mainly alluvial sand and gravel carried by
flash floods in the surrounding highlands. Hence,
wadies ending in Wadi Araba build up wide alluvial
fans. In the southern region of Wadi Araba there are
Qa‘a, granite rocks and sand dunes. Qa‘a that are
found in the Eastern desert and Wadi Araba, are
formed where a single basin receives water and silt
drained by wadies from the surroundings region.
These Qa‘as are deprived from both flora and fauna.
Biogeography of Jordan

  Several authors divided Jordan into different
bioclimatic or biogeographical regions (Kasapligil,
1956; Long, 1957; Zohary, 1962; Poore and
Robertson, 1964; Bekok, 1971; Madany, 1978 and
Al-Eisawi, 1985). The whole of Jordan forms a
Mediterranean region and it's characterized by the
Eastern Mediterranean climate, which has a mild
and moderately rainy winter and a hot rainless
summer. However, spring and autumn do not have
specific entity. Al-Eisawi (1985) indicated the
presence of nine bioclimatic subdivisions in Jordan.

   Mediterranean
        This region is restricted to the highlands of
    Jordan extending from Irbid in the north to
    Ras-Naqp in the south. The altitude ranges from
    700-1750 m above sea level. The rainfall ranges
    from 300-600 mm. The minimal annual
    temperature ranges from 5-10° C and the mean
    maximal annual temperature from 15-20° C.

        Soil Type is (Terra Rosa) and the yellow
    Mediterranean soil (Rendzina). This region
    comprises the most fertile part of Jordan and
    presents the best climate for the Forest
   Irano-Turanian

           It is phytogeographically a narrow strip of
      variable width that surrounds Mediterranean
      ecozone except at the north. It is characterized
      by being a timber less land since it has no
      forest cover. The vegetation is mainly of small
      shrubs and bushes
i.e.: Anabsis syriaca, Artemisia herba-alba.

     The Irano-Turanian region is indistinguishable
zoogeographically from other bioclimatic ecozones.
In Jordan it is a transitional zone between the
Mediterranean ecozone and the surrounding
ecozones. This ecozone does not have its own entity
since it does not posses specific fauna as other
ecozones in Jordan. None of the species is restricted
to this region, and all the species found here
originally came from the surrounding ecozones.
Moreover, the width of this region varies from year to
year in relation to the amount of rain. Saint Girons
(1982) indicated that zoogeographically the Irano-
Turanian zone in Palestine is of disputed validity.

Altitudes usually range from 500-700 m, and rainfall
ranges from 150-300 mm. The mean minimal
annual temperature ranges from 5-2° C and the
mean maximal annual temperature from 15-25° C.
Soil are mostly calcareous or transported by wind.
Vegetation is mostly dominated by chamaephytes.
   Eastern Desert or ― Badia ‖

   Some authors refer to it as Saharo-Arabian
ecozone. This ecozone forms most of the territory of
    The annual rainfall in the northern part is
around 100 mm. The soil is very poor which results
in poor vegetation, and most of the vegetation cover
is in the wadies (Al-Eisawi, 1985). In the southern
part the annual rainfall is around 50mm, and the
similarity in soil types, climatic conditions and the
fauna with Wadi Araba is well noted. Ecologically
these two regions in addition to the southern Edom
Mountains are grouped together.

   Azraq Oasis and Shaumari Wildlife reserve are
part of the Eastern Desert. Both area form a center
for migratory birds and have several Mediterranean
species. Natrix tessellata, Malpolon mospessulanus
and Chamaeleo chameleons. Also, this indicated that
the Irano-Turanian ecozone is passageway between
the Mediterranean ecozone and the surrounding

 Arnd (1987) indicated that the oases in Saudi
Arabia have mesic species which we relict of
populations and were widespread during the pluvial
phases of the Quaternary.

 The Arabic term for northeastern desert is ―Badia‖
which is a more appropriate term than desert,
because it is capable of supporting vegetation and
animal life, and that the limiting factor here is
 This region comprises the largest part of Jordan
encompassing almost 80% of the total area. It is
characterized as flat, except for few hills or small
mountains, the result of volcanic eruptions.
 Altitude ranges between 500-700 m, yet there are
recorded few places on the northeastern borders of
Jordan which reach 1,200 m.

The mean annual rainfall ranges from 50-200 mm,
mean annual minimal temperature ranges from 5-
15° C and the mean annual maximum temperature
ranges from 15-2° C. Soil is mostly poor of either
clay, Hammada, saline, sandy or calcareous.

Vegetation is dominated by small shrubs and small
annuals located in wadi beds.

   Sudanian

   Some authors refer to this region as the ―sub-
tropical‖ or ―Afro-tropical‖ region. It starts at Al-
Karamah in the north and continues to the south
the Dead Sea depression and Wadi Araba, which end
at the tip of the Gulf of Aqaba. Moreover, this
ecozone includes the southern Jordan and southern
Edom Mountains. The vegetation is related to
tropical varieties such as Acacia SP. (Al-Eisawi,
1985). The ecological pyramids and climatic
conditions in the northern Jordan Valley ―Ghor‖ are
different from those of southern Ghor and Wadi
Araba. So, northern Ghor is considered part of the
Mediterranean ecozone.

The most important characteristic of this region is
its altitude, considered the lowest point on earth (-
396 m below sea level), providing a unique
environment and thus a unique ecosystem.
    Rainfall ranges from 50-100 mm, the mean
annual minimal temperature ranges from (10-20° C)
and the mean annual maximal temperature ranges
from (20-35° C).

     Soil is mostly alluvial transported by water,
saline soil, sandy and granite. The only inland sand
dunes in Jordan are restricted to this region.
Vegetation is characterized by having tropical sea
element such as Ziziphus spina-christi in addition to
some shrubs and annual herbs.

     The borders of the four ecozones aren‘t stable
and aren‘t well defined because of the integration of
ecological elements between the two adjacent
ecozones. Moreover, the climatic conditions vary
considerably from year to year which affect the
stability of defining borders. (JCSBD, p.74-77)

     RSCN (The Royal Society for The Conservation
of Nature) has been given a mandate by the
Jordanian Government to set up a network of
protected areas. So far it has established six natural
reserves covering an area of approximately 1000
square kilometers. Jordan has ratified international
agreements intended to protect biodiversity,
endangered species, wetlands, and the ozone layer.
The country has also signed treaties that limit
nuclear testing, marine pollution, and hazardous
     The Azraq Wetlands Reserve, a desert lake that
attracts migrating birds from Asia and Africa. The
Shaumari Reserve with its herds of gazelle, Oryx,
ostriches, and other indigenous animal species.
The Mujib Reserve, the deep gorge that flows form
the Jordanian highland to the lowest spot on earth
at the Dead Sea.
     Dana Nature Reserve is a system of Wadi‘s and
mountains with spectacular wildlife. The Zubia
Forest in north –West Jordan, with some of the
world‘s southernmost surviving pine and evergreen
forest. The RSCN has started providing quality
services at these protected areas, both to safeguard
the natural beauty of the areas and to meet the
basis needs of eco – tourists. Services to date
include park rangers, camping area, guides trekking
and hiking trail, sleeping facilities, visitor centers,
parking areas, and handcrafts production and
marketing centers.
     The five regions of Jordan slated for protection
in the near future are the Dibeen pine forest near
Jerash, the Yarmouk River gorge north of Umm
Qaia, the Burqu‘ desert Mudflats in the north –east,
the Feifa Area along the south –east Dead Sea coast
with its freshwater sping and oases full of
subtropical vegetation, and the Jordan River gorge
north of the Dead Sea, representing one of the last
remaining natural stretches of the Jordan River that
has been protected for decades, and thus still has
indigenous wildlife such as the Syrian wolf.

      Visited areas
     Shaumari Nature Reserve. (fig. no.1)
     Azraq Wetlands Reserve. (fig. no.2)
     Al-harranah Castle. (fig. no.3)
     Amra castle. (fig. no.4)
    Shaumari Nature Reserve

     Shaumari is the home of the magnificent
Arabian Oryx (, the big white antelope that
once roamed throughout Arabia. Here you can see
one of the largest herds in the world, built up by
years of care to save this animal from extinction.
     Shaumari reserve which is located in the
eastern desert near Azraq with a size of 22 square
kilometers was established in 1975.

      Shaumari was the first wildlife reserve in
Jordan. It was created to provide a safe home for one
of the most endangered animals in the world: the
Arabian Oryx. This magnificent desert animal, origin
of the fabled unicorn, was saved from the edge of
extinction by an international rescue effort and
Shaumari was the first place to have them back on
Arabian soil. Eight animals were flown over in 1978
from the World Breeding Herd in Phoenix Zoo,
Arizona, and by 1999 - twenty years later - the herd
had grown to over 200 animals.

     Shaumari is also a breeding center for other
endangered or locally extinct desert animals,
including the Persian onager, the ostrich (fig no.6)
and the goitered gazelle.
     The reserve serves as an educational center and
has a special visitor center and education program.
    Azraq desert oasis

     Azraq was a vast stretch of water in the desert
attracting large herds of free roaming plains animals
like some parts of Africa. Still do today as well as
huge number of water birds. (Azraq Reserve)

     It was established in 1978 at the eastern desert
with a size of 12 square kilometers.
     Marshland Azraq is a unique wetland located in
the heart of the arid Jordanian desert. It contains
several pools, a seasonally flooded marshland, and a
large mudflat.
     A wide variety of birds visit the reserve each
year, stopping for a short rest on their long
migration between Africa and Europe; or they stay
for the winter and some breed in the wetland. The
word Azraq means "blue" in Arabic and before water
pumping began in the 1980s the oasis provided a
sparkling blue jewel in the desert, attracting up to
1/2 a million migrating birds at any one time.

By 1993, however, the extraction of water was so
great that no surface water remained and its
ecological value was virtually destroyed. With
international support, a rescue effort started in 1994
and a significant portion of the wetland has been
restored. Many of the birds for which the oasis was
renowned are coming back and special
boardwalks and bird hides have been
constructed to enable visitors to see and enjoy them.
     Azraq is a unique oasis, which has recently
been brought back to life after years of excessive
water pumping. It is the only place in the Jordanian
deserts where you can walk around marshes and
pools and have green vegetation above your head.
Once a major stopover for thousands of migrating
birds, it is now beginning to attract some of these
birds again. (RSCN)
     It is dominated by four main habitats:
   Wet marsh
   Silt dunes
   Mud flat marsh
   Dry march
  (Supervisor of the reserve)

Azraq Oasis wet land is a part of the larger Azraq
Basin. The whole area is more or less flattened
forming a depression in the dessert as extending
into the Azraq mud flat( Qaa' Al-Azraq). Since it is
more depressed than the surrounding places, it
forms a structure like a huge concave plate.
In Azraq Oasis the altitude is about 520-522m,
where it forms a low depression in comparison with
the surrounding. (Al Eisawi, p.131)

Mud flat is the lowest point in the Azraq Basin, with
a length of 73 kilometers containing 12 valleys.
The Azraq basin is unconfined which is fed by water
coming from Jabal Arab in southern Syria with an
amount of 25 million m3/year, while the amount of
pumped water is 70 million m3/year.
This caused a decrease in the level of the ground
water below the water table resulting in the
disappearance of springs and a change in
In 1992, the last spring (Ein Al Soda) in the reserve
dried. This spring was feeding the reserve with 15
million m3/year. (RSCN)

Qusayr ‘Amra

 Is about 28 kilometers from Azraq. It was built
during the reign of the Caliph Walid I (705-715 CE)
as a luxurious bath house.

The building was a large complex that used to serve
host traveling caravans. The building consists of
three long halls with vaulted ceilings. Its plain
exterior belies the beauty within, where the ceilings
and walls are covered with colorful frescoes. Directly
opposite the main doorway is a fresco of the caliph
sitting on his throne. On the south wall other
frescoes depict six other rulers of the day. Of these,
four have been identified—Roderick the Visigoth, the
Sassanian ruler Krisa, the Negus of Abyssinia, and
the Byzantine emperor. The two others are thought
to be the leaders of China and the Turks. These
frescoes either imply that the present Umayyad
caliph was their equal, or it could simply be a
pictorial list of the enemies of Islam. Many other
frescoes in the main audience chamber offer
fantastic portrayals of humans and animals. This is
interesting in itself because after the advent of
Islam, any illustration of living beings was
prohibited. (RSCN)
Qasr al-Harraneh

 It is located about 16 kilometers west of Qusayr
‗Amra and 55 kilometers east of Amman.

Archaeologists and historians put three theories
about the reason of its existence:
   Some experts believe that it was a defensive
   Some believe that it was a caravanserais for
    passing camel trains.
   The others say that it served as a retreat for
     Umayyad leaders to discuss affairs of state.

Because of its high walls, arrow slits four corner
towers and square shape of a Roman fortress. It may
consider as defensive fort. But the towers may have
instead been built to buttress the walls. They seems
not large enough to have been an effective defense

The arrow slits are also cosmetic, being too narrow
on the inside to allow archers sufficient visibility and
too few in number for effective military usage. We do
know that an inscription in a second-story room
dates the construction of Qasr al-Harraneh to 711
CE. The presence of Greek inscriptions around the
main entrance frame suggests that the castle was
built on the site of a Roman or Byzantine building.
Materials and methods

At site of the visited areas:

Qasr al-Harraneh

At the site of Qasr al-Harraneh we only try to
observe the type of soil which is mainly composed of
Pebble and gravel and notice the type of vegetation
that survive and manage to live in this type of soil
and environmental conditions-high temperature and
law rain-which mainly were saline vegetation.
We also collect a soil sample to study it at the

The rest of what we do at the site was a visit to the
Qasr it self in order to get the chance to see the
beauty of it and its historical importance.

Qusayr ‘Amra

The first thing we do at Qusayr ' Amra was to collect
samples of all the plant species that live in the area
of the Qusayr, give each one a symbol and list them
in a table in order to know frequency, abundance
and density of each species, as shown in table no. 1
in the results.

Then we have done three quadrates, measure
vegetation cover, how many species, how many
individual of each species, and the maximum height
specie in each one. Figure no.7 shows one of the
quadrates we have done.
Then we took one soil sample for further study for
its properties at the laboratory.

Also there we have got the chance to inter Qusayr
Amra which considers as globally important
inheritance, we saw the pictures on the walls like
the ones in figure no. 8, which tell us a lot about the
environment, ecosystems, and the vegetation found
at the time of its building. These paintings and the
way of building tell us a lot of how grate was our
ancestors and hoe they were a professional workers,
even the photo does not show that much and cant
give the true image about its importance, it does
worth to watch(figure no. 4 + 9).

    Shaumari Nature Reserve and Azraq desert

     At the Shaumari Reserve and at Azraq Reserve,
we made a tour at both reserve, listening to the ones
who are in charge of them in order to know the role
of both reserves in reviving the ecosystems that
must be found at these areas. And to know the role
of the RSCN in preserving and protecting the
environments right there and other parts in the
     And we told about the animals that are breeding
at the Shaumari reserve which are:

            The Arabian Oryx
            Persian Onager
            The Ostrich
            Goitered Gazelle
We took a   soil sample from the Shaumari reserve.
Experiments done at the laboratory and data

For all soil samples we have taken five experiments
were done to them at the laboratory:
  i. Granulometry test to classify the soil type and
     its particles size.
 ii. Permeability test which is the amount of water
     penetrating a unit area per time, so we measure
     the time taken by a known volume of water to
     penetrate an area of soil then do the
     Permeability =      volume of water
                         Unit area of soil*time
iii. Capillarity test to know the tendency of water to
     move through soil by capillary means, we
     measure the time it takes for water to raise the
     surface of a soil sample put in cylindrical glass
     and blocked with cotton ball at the end.
iv. Gaseous volume which is pore space per unit.
     We measure the volume of water that is enough
     to saturates a known volume of soil then do the

     G.V=     volume of water     * 100
              Volume of soil

v.   Organic matter to determine the percentage of
     organic concentration in the soil.
Visual observation
Qasr Al Harranna


The soil is composed of Pebble and gravel, it is
mostly clayey loam covered by gravels.

It is primarily composed of limestone with flints
scattered all over, or covered by a basalt pebble and
boulder that resulted from volcanic source.

*Pebble and gravel is of Hammada type which
comprises most of the Sahara Arabian region in
Jordan. *(Al-Eisawi, p.78)

Rain events are heavy but short in time. Water
running from hills composes Wadi beds.

Some of the water accumulates and remains for a
long time then evaporates to form mud flats, some of
these mud flats have many layers of soils that was
eroded by water and dried to from hard crust with
cracks, the depth of the crust depend on how long
water remained.
*Mud flats are places in the desert where water
accumulates and soil is made of very fine particle,
mainly of clay and silt. After the water evaporates,
the soil becomes solid and very hard, which does not
help any plant to germinate and survive.*(Al-Eisawi


Very low vegetation was observed. This little
vegetation is saline with small succulent leaves and
small crystals of salts. Some have a grey color to
reflect sun light.

The vegetation is mainly dominated by Anabasis
articulata which is representative of CAM plants.

Qusayr Amra


Vegetation is wadi bed vegetation, like Wadi Al-
Buttom. The vegetation in here is special cases
where Pistacia atlantica trees are growing along the
wadi side, especially in this area (Qasr Amra),
although this place is within the Sahara region, its
vegetation belong to the steppe type.

The dominated species are:
    Pistacia atlantica
    Some Tamarix spp.
    Retama raetum.
(fig. no.10)
All those plants are succulent plants.

Atriplex is a forage plant which can survive in saline
soil and high dry conditions and it is an edible plant.

When we entered the castle, we saw pictures on
walls that show different kinds of plants and
animals this gave us an image that in the past the
area was inhibited with different types of plants and
animals that does not exist anymore.
Al-Azraq reserve


The soil is of alluvial type transported by wind or
water. The soil is mostly clayey loams or silty loams.


The vegetation is heavy due to the presence of water
and such richness made this wet land among the
most important habitats on earth.
This vegetation is dominated by:
   Typha domingensis( fig. no.11)
   Phragmitis australis( fig. no. 12)

The ratio between these two plants must be 1:1, but
Fragmitis needs more depth of water than Typha
and since the depth of water had been decreased
through years, Typha had become the dominated
Typha is much longer than Fragmitis and grow more
rapidly so it blocks the vision of birds so they cannot
see water hence do not land on basin. Also the
thickness prevent birds from doing their activities,
so Typha must be reduced and that is what the
reserve is doing by introducing aquatic buffalo (from
Shishan) that feed on Typha and by this way the
problem was solved.
Shumari Reserve


Soil is of three types in this area

   Limestone Hammada
   Saline-gypsum
   Alluvial


Vegetation is very rich correlated with rain fall
quantity. Most of the plants are annuals.
Main vegetation is composed of little shrubs and
desert bushes such plants are well adapted to the
dry hot summer and most of them have their
vegetation season during summer, so they are either
succulent or spiny to adapt the dry hot saline
  It is divided into four main groups:
   Hammada vegetation, the observed species are:
      Anabasis and Atriplex.
   Mud flat vegetation in this vegetation, Ephedra
      is supposed to be observed but we didn't see it.
   Saline vegetation, the observed species is
      Nitraria retusa.
   Run-off vegetation, this vegetation is
      represented by bushes and shrubs of Atriplex,
      and this covers the majority of the reserve.
            Other observation

            Several animals inhabits the reserve like
                      The Arabian Oryx
                      Persian Onager
                      The Ostrich
                      Goitered Gazelle
                      Kestrel
                      Yellow wagtail
                      Hoopoe
                      Starling
                      Creamed colored courser
                      Stonechat
                      Long-eared hedgehog (fig. no.13)
                      Marbled polect
                      Grey wolf which was in the rehabitation
                       unit until it becomes well. (Fig. no.14)
            (Figures no.15, 16 and 17)


            Species list of Qusayr Amra:

name of   no of individual in each       total no     no of        total no of   frequency   abundance   density
specie    quadrate                       of           quadrates    quadrates
          quadrate                       individual   of           studied
                  1           2      3   of each      occurrence
A         2          3          0        5            2                      3   66.6        2.5         1.6
B         1          3          0        4            2                      3   66.6        2           1.3
C         26         18         0        44           2                      3   66.6        22          14.6
D         0          6          0        6            1                      3   33.3        6           2
E         0          3          0        3            1                      3   33.3        3           1
F         0          3          0        3            1                      3   33.3        3           1
G         0          4          2        6            2                      3   66.6        3           2
H         0          0          0        0            0                      3   0           0           0
I         0          0          2        2            1                      3   33.3        2           0.6
J         0          0          0        0            0                      3   0           0           0
Quadrate       1          2              3
Vegetation     20%        35%            25%
Maximum        32cm       63cm           50cm
height         sp. B      sp. A          sp.G

Results obtained from laboratory work:

Property       Shaumari    Harrana       Amra
Permeability   17:04       16:20         15:71
Capillarity    33:22       9:10          27:10
Gaseous        40.8%       32.7%         49%
volume %

Shaumari- shows higher permeability, capillarity
and gaseous volume.
Harrana-shows high permeability and gaseous
volume but low capillarity.
Amra-shows high capillarity and gaseous volume
but relatively low permeability.
              Area            Organic

           Shumari                 3%

            Qusayr                3.3%
           Harranah               2.7%

All visited area showed very low organic matter as
indicated in the above table.

Granulometry of Qusayr Amra:

            Size/ weight   Sample 1      percentage
            >3.35          57.95         57.95%
            3.35- 1.7      11.45         11.45%
            1.7- 0.7       5.0           5.0%
            0.7- 0.5       1.25          1.25%
            0.5- 0.25      2.15          2.15%
            0.25- 0.125    5.95          5.95%
            <0.125         14.05         14.05%
Granulometry of Shumari

           Size/ weight   Sample 1   percentage
           >3.35          16         16%
           3.35- 1.7      18.5       18.5%
           1.7- 0.7       5          5%
           0.7- 0.5       5.20       5.20%
           0.5- 0.25      18.5       18.5%
           0.25- 0.125    12.5       12.5%
           <0.125         13         13%

Granulometry of Harranah:

           Size/ weight   Sample 1   percentage
           >3.35          6,65       6,65%
           3.35- 1.7      8,5        8,5%
           1.7- 0.7       20,85      20,85%
           0.7- 0.5       10.0       10.0%
           0.5- 0.25      16.25      16.25%
           0.25- 0.125    14.15      14.15%
           <0.125         19.5       19.5%
Conclusion and discussion

Shaumari-High permeability in Shaumari makes
water to be accumulated at the bottom of the soil,
and this prevents the roots of the plants from getting
use of water.
The high permeability is compensated by the high
capillarity and gaseous volume, and the high
capillarity makes water to go up by capillary means.
 Low organic matter also has a role in having low
vegetation in this area.
Chart no.1 shows that the most dominant soil type
is sand because the most occurring size is (0.5-0.25)
mm in diameter according to vegetation region
classification, Shaumari occur in Hammada region
so it is characterized by having sandy Hammada soil
type, it is another reason for having low vegetation.

Harranah-high permeability and gaseous volume
and low permeability make the soil of this region
very poor. Low organic matter also has a role in
having low vegetation in this area.
Chart no.2 shows that the fine gravel soil type is the
most dominated ( 1.7-0.7 ) mm in diameter, this
region occurs in the Saharo-Arabian region with
sandy soil type is abundant.
Amra-high capillarity and gaseous volume helped
plants to grow by providing a sufficient amount of
water although it is low due to the low rainfall.
The most dominant soil type was gravel (>3.35) mm
in diameter this result is consistent with
classification of this region in Saharo-Arabian in
which Hammada soil is dominant. This soil type is
considered to be poor and related to poor vegetation.
And this is what we concluded from chart no.3.

Organic matter is relatively high in comparison with
Shaumari and Harrana.
All those reasons made Amra to have high vegetation
considered to the vegetation in the surrounding
Permeability and capillarity are low in all the regions
where gaseous volume was the highest in Amra.
(Chart no.4)
Figures and charts


    15                             >3.35
    10                             1.7-0.7
     5                             0.5-0.25
     0                             <0.125

         Chart no.1
         Granulometry of

            20                                  >3.35
            10                                  0.7-0.5
               5                                0.25-0.125

                         Chart no.2
                         Granulometry of
                         Qasr al-Harrana


          50                               >3.35
          40                               1.7-0.7
          20                               0.25-0.125


Chart no3
Granulometry of
Qusayr Amra


00:00                   permeability
                        gaseous volume

     Shaumari    Amra


                                         Figure no.1
Figure no.2

  Figure no.3
Figure no.4

   Figure no.5
Figure no.6

Figure no.7
Figure no.8

 Figure no.9
Figure no.10

               Figure no.11
Figure no.12

    Figure no.13
Figure no.14

Figure no.15
Figure no.16

Figure no.17
   Al Eisawi-vegetation of Jordan by Dawud Al-

   The Royal Society of
    Conservation of Nature.

   JCSBD-Jordan Country Study and Biodiversity.

   Laboratory manual by Saeed damhoureyeh