by Mazin B. Qumsiyeh and Banan Al-Sheikh

Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability, Bethlehem University, Bethlehem 92248, Palestine

Diversity2023, 15(2), 142;

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology, Conservation and Restoration of Plant Species)


The Palestinian environment suffered from abuse and neglect for decades. As a nascent state, Palestine aspired to protect and restore its environment, in line with international standards and conventions. Yet, many challenges remain, including a lack of data, the science–policy–practice gaps, and the lack of sovereignty. The management of protected areas (PAs) is particularly challenging under these circumstance. Two key protected areas in the northern West Bank (Wadi Qana and Wadi Al-Zarqa Al-Ulwi) were surveyed, with a focus on plant communities and dealing with threats. The two areas had similar Mediterranean flora with differences, including in rare plants. Both areas have important but different wetlands in their buffer zones. The data show that the protection of the two areas is important because of the differences noted, and both areas are valued as IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area) protection. Such protection is possible by working with local communities and bridging the science–policy–practice gaps.


The data show significant differences between the two protected areas in terms of habitats, buffer zones, and the list of rare plants, but they show similarities in terms of threats. This is despite the closeness in terms of geography, climate, and topography. The recommendations for protections were developed, but many need implementing. The data do give a baseline, which can be measured over time to ensure the conservation of both nature and local communities. The limitations of the data are that they focus on comparisons of the two areas over a short period, and while assessing and attempting to deal with threats, they did not produce detailed management plans (which are still needed). Further studies are required to obtain a deeper understanding and mapping of the flora and fauna in the two areas as well as the changes in habitats due to anthropogenic effects.

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