The Annotated Ramsar List: Lebanon
The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance
LEBANON / LIBAN / LÍBANO
The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Lebanon on 16 August 1999. Lebanon presently has 4 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 1075? hectares.
Note: Much RIS information is still missing for Lebanon's sites.
site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas
Ammiq Wetlands. 16/04/99; 280? ha. Privately-owned. The last remaining significant wetland in the country, a remnant of much more extensive marshes and lakes that once existed in the Beqaa Valley. It remains an important staging and wintering area for migratory waterbirds en route between Europe and Africa. Reedbeds of Phragmites sp. and Typha sp. dominate, interspersed with open fields of coarse pasture. The site has been designated as an Important Bird Area: notable species include the globally threatened Black-winged Pratincole, Ferruginous Duck, White Pelican and Great Snipe. Local people and visitors from other parts of the country use the area for outdoor recreation. During the summer the site provides irrigation for the surrounding agricultural land and supports livestock grazing. Ramsar site no. 978. Most recent RIS information: none.
Deir el Nouriyeh cliffs of Ras Chekaa.16/04/99. The site is part of a coastal limestone promontory just north of Beirut, amid the highly-developed narrow coastal plain between Beirut and Tripoli, and is described as "a mosaic of woodland and olive groves". The site is significant because of its position as a coastal headland on the Middle East bird migration route: notable bird species include the White Pelican and Purple Heron. The presence of submarine freshwater springs off the coast at Ras Chekaa is thought to enhance the biodiversity of the waters here. Of historical and cultural interest is the convent of Deir el Nouriyeh. The main agricultural use of the site is the cultivation of olives. Ramsar site no. 979. Most recent RIS information: none.
Palm Islands Nature Reserve. 03/08/01; Tripoli; 415 ha; 34°30’N 035°46’E. Nature Reserve. The Reserve consists of a group of three flat rocky islands of eroded limestone, with associated outcrops and surrounding waters, rising from 1 to 12 meters above the sea about 5.5km northwest of Tripoli. The islands’ beaches support the endangered Loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta during nesting and breeding, and the critically endangered Green turtle Chelonia mydas occurs infrequently but regularly in surrounding seas. The endangered Mediterranean Monk Seal Monachus monachus was seen regularly until recent years but only very rarely since. The many caves and sheltered coastal rocks provide an important spawning ground for fish, and some 42 species of migratory birds (include 6 IUCN Red List species) feed and rest on the islands before moving on to the Lebanese mainland for breeding. During winter, freshwater is found in inland pools; a single well, built at the time of the Crusades and associated with archaeological remains of a Crusader church from AD 1224, yields potable water but is overextracted, increasing groundwater salinity. Alteration of the vegetation cover by a proliferation of rabbits (14 of which were introduced "by a misguided environmentalist in 1984") is seen as a threat to the biodiversity. Declared a Nature Reserve in 1992, visitors have been permitted for guided tours and swimming between July and September since 1998. Ramsar site no. 1079. Most recent RIS information: 2001.
Tyre Beach.16/04/99; 380 ha. World Heritage Site. The Ramsar site is located within the best preserved stretch of sandy coastline in southern Lebanon; it is remarkable for its biodiversity but threatened by its proximity to the city of Tyre and the Rachidieh refugee camp. Its artesian wells are an important heritage site and give rise to a number of notable freshwater habitats. Beach vegetation is dominated by sea spurge and cotton weed, while the hillocks are dominated by shrubs, grasses and the rush, Juncus. Vegetables, citrus and palm trees are cultivated within the reserve area and irrigated with water from the artesian wells. In the summer months, the area is a popular tourist destination. The beaches of Tyre are thought to be important nesting areas for the Green Turtle and Loggerhead Turtle. Ramsar site no. 980. Most recent RIS information: none.