THE REPRESENTATIVENESS OF BIO GEOGRAPHICAL REGIONS, VEGETATION TYPES AND ECOTOURISM AT JORDANIAN PROTECTED AREAS, A GIS BASED ANALYSIS STUDYAbdelkader Ababneh, Akram Rawashdeh and Samer Nawiseh
Protected areas play a vital role in attracting tourists in a given geographical area; therefore, the network of protected areas within a given country should represent the various biogeographically regions and vegetation types. This research is considered the first study that aims to analyze the representativeness of biogeographically regions and vegetation types and their relation to ecotourism at the current protected areas network of Jordan by using geographical information System and comparison Index (CI). Most geographical regions and vegetation types are not adequately represented within the established protected areas system, the majority of the protected areas in Jordan are too small and 62.5% of them under 30 km² while 37.5% over 200 km². GIS and CI analysis showed that protected areas are skewed toward Sudanian as a bio geographical region, leading to low representation of other biogeographically regions such as Saharo-Arabian region despite that this region occupies the biggest size in Jordan. The study reveals that the two vegetation types of Hammada and Sand Dunes vegetations have exceeded the 10% set by The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) regarding the coverage percentage of each vegetation type in each country. Moreover, there are eleven vegetation types fail to meet the IUCNs recommendations, taking into account that despite having the lion- share among the vegetation types, they only cover less than 10% of total area. Its worth mentioning that the protected areas network system in Jordan is created for ecotourism and not for conservation purposes.
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