A key premise in the RBG's approach to biodiversity conservation is to recognize and embrace humans as one of the dominant species in the ecosystem.
We recognize that efforts to conserve Jordan's flora are unlikely to succeed unless there are economic incentives for people to participate in the process.
The RBG therefore is striving to act as a giant demonstration site, and provide training for the local community, in areas such as sustainable water management, eco building, alternative energy, managed grazing and environmentally compatible income generation.
We want every strategy used at the RBG to be replicable by the average Jordanian.
With these goals in mind, the first major programme we started at the RBG was the Community-Based Rangeland Rehabilitation (CBRR) programme. It began in 2007 with five herding families and has now expanded to include 21 families who live nearby.
Originally, some of the local herders vehemently opposed the establishment of the Garden. But now, they have become our advocates and protectors!
CBRR projects work to balance grazing and biodiversity, tailoring grazing regimes to what can be sustained within the resources provided by a healthy habitat. At the same time, livestock owners receive intensive training in herd health and management, allowing them to earn higher incomes and improve their quality of life.
This year, the CBRR programme initiated a Dairy Production pilot project for making high-quality jameed from sheep milk, to create more sources of income for the community.
Income Generating Programme
In April 2010, the RBG established a Community Income-Generating Programme to teach new skills to people in the local community, especially women.
In the future, a number of micro-projects should be introduced in the community, related to sewing and crafts, beekeeping, mushrooms, and medicinal and aromatic plants.
The RBG also arranged for the Tell Ar-Rumman girls' school to be paired up with the Amman Baccalaureate School. Students from ABS visited the local school in 2011. They donated library books and musical instruments, painted the walls, and conducted minor renovations and construction work.
We are also collaborating with the Institute of Traditional Islamic Art and Architecture (ITIAA) to produce RBG products incorporating a touch of Islamic Art. In mid-March, students from the Institute spent a day at the Garden sketching and taking pictures, from which to develop designs for artwork and block printing.
Micro projects centering on mushrooms and herbs are being developed, along with other food-related possibilities, such as flavoured salts and sugars. At our Open Day preview event in May 2010, and on Canada Day in July 2011, we sold such products. The sugars, infused with Damascene rose, lemons, oranges and violet flowers, proved to be particularly popular.
For further information about the RBG's Income Generating Programme, or to make a suggestion, please send us an email: