A one day visit was organized for Dr. Scott Christiansen, Senior Agricultural Advisor from USAID, to see progress made with on-going activities in the Muharab watershed research site, and to meet with farmers and researchers. The visit was led by Dr. Andrew Noble, ICARDA’s DDG for Research and organized by the WLI in close collaboration with Jordan’s National Center for Agricultural Research (NCARE).
|Figure 1: Muhareb & Majidyya site|
The Muhareb site is located in the northern central part of Jordan and representatively illustrates the Badia environment characterized by scarce but and highly erratic rainfall. Harsh climatic conditions, and uncontrolled and excessive animal grazing threaten the ecosystem.
The visit aimed to demonstrate the important role of the WLI in creating and fostering a platform for research, and the potential contributions of the research output to improve livelihoods in the area. The Muhareb watershed functions as an experimental field site for integrated and sustainable management of the Badia’s ecosystem services, which ensures maximum benefits within existing environmental thresholds. The research follows a holistic approach that seeks balanced interventions for managing upstream and downstream hydrological regimes that jointly contribute towards improved livelihoods in the Badia.
Stop 1: ‘Qasr Mushatta’, Queen Alia Airport. Brief introduction to what ‘undegraded’ Badia conditions might look like. Fenced areas at the airport demonstrate increased greenness and vegetation cover when not overgrazed (Figure 2).
Stop 2: Rangeland in-situ conditions of Muhareb watershed (rangeland modeling watershed). Badia conditions of grazed and degraded rangelands of Muhareb watershed and introduction to ICARDA/NCARE rangeland monitoring approach.
Stop 3: Upland watershed restoration approach. Vallerani micro-water harvesting techniques were used to retain rainwater and increase shrub vegetation on steep upland slopes and shallow soils.
Stop 4: Community meeting and research vision on integrated watershed management. Short slideshow demonstrating Badia research approaches towards sustainable and integrated watershed management; then a group discussion with local landowners.
Stop 5: Lowland watershed restoration approach (Abu Mashal marab). Introducing to marab flood plain management technique as a potential measure to decelerate confined runoff and increase soil moisture for flood plain re-vegetation (Figure 3).