A nature reserve near the war-damaged Libyan capital, a sanctuary for hyenas, rare birds and plants, is now under threat due to climate change and human activity.
Asherfian Park, a two-hour drive east of Tripoli into the Naphtha Mountains, was added to the UNESCO list of biosphere reserves last month.
Includes dry forests, grasslands and deserts on the edge of Sahara. This is an ideal habitat for the increasingly rare Houbara bustard, a large bird.
“The ongoing climate change, the resulting lack of summer rainfall, and long-wave droughts have made the reserve vulnerable to repeated fires in recent years,” said Anas al-Kyadi of the Libyan Wildlife Trust. Said.
In addition to unauthorized logging and construction, these factors “damaged plant and animal diversity,” he said.
However, Qiyadi hopes that the UNESCO list will help protect the park.
“The 83,060 hectares (about 205,000 acres) core area of the biosphere reserve has a variety of rare and / or Endangered species“The United Nations Agency for Cultural Affairs said on its website.
They include 350 species of plants, some medicinal or aromatics, endangered birds, reptiles and mammals.
About 65,000 people also live in the larger park area.
Decades of violence
Ashaafean was designated as Nature reserve Under the dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 1978.
But in a decade of violence after Kadafi overthrows in a NATO-backed rebellion, the fragile and divided Libyan nation has nine nature reserves increasingly threatened by human activity. Little protection.
Qiyadi said several initiatives are underway to protect the reserve, including a program to breed endangered turtles in captivity and release them to the wild.
“A few days ago, we released 36 endangered turtles into the (Asherfian) park,” he said.
During the long drought in Libya, volunteers also signed up for Mizuki, adding that the irrigation network alone was not enough.
“Because the water source is far from the reserve, we and a group of volunteers have launched a campaign to irrigate and plant more trees, but that requires continued attention.”
Droughts and deadly forest fires struck several countries in the Mediterranean this year, especially in neighboring Algeria.
This time Libya was largely spared, but since 2015 a large fire broke out, killing many. Endangered animals Trees over a century old.
Ashaafean is the first UNESCO-classified Libyan site. Biosphere reserve..
This designation aims to promote sustainable development, protect ecosystems and support research and education.
Tareqal-Jdeidy, a scientist at the University of Tripoli who led the listing campaign, said it was a step towards better protecting one of Libya’s most valuable reserves.
The designation “will attract international attention from organizations focused on the environment, flora and fauna. There will be research on how to develop it,” he said.
According to UNESCO, most of the reserve’s inhabitants make a living not only from traditional sustainable agriculture, but also from timber collection and beekeeping.
“This area is known for its olive and oil quality,” he said when he announced the designation.
Jdeidy hopes that the park will not only serve the local economy, but also as an example of its efforts to combat desertification.
“We support locals directly and indirectly through development programs related to the reserve,” he said.
© 2021 AFP
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Climate change and human activity threaten Libya nature reserves
Source link Climate change and human activity threaten Libya nature reserves