Plant Biodiversity and Nature Protection of the UNESCO Site of Battir Including Wadi Al-Makhrour.
Israa Yousef Ahmad Al Shwawerah
اسراء يوسف أحمد الشواوره
Biodiversity is an essential element of human life as it provides economic, social, and environmental benefits. Plant biodiversity is a major element of the total biodiversity on planet Earth. Plants, with all species, constitute a breathing lung for the human being and other living animal kingdom. Conservation of biodiversity has become a major and urgent issue for humanity mainly due to the scientific observation its significant decline that is caused by the extensive industrialization and human errors in treating the environment. The environment is the major effect on biodiversity conservation, therefore, keeping healthy environment guarantees sustainable biodiversity. Battir and Wadi Al-Makhrour represent the biodiversity of the Bethlehem area of Palestine. This research is a study to provide a list of all the plants that constitute plant biodiversity in the latter, provide an evaluation for the water quality that comes out of the natural springs in the former as well as an analysis for the soil in Battir to provide an analysis for its constituents of minerals and heavy metals. The main aim of this research is to investigate the water and soil quality in order to identify any problems that may affect the conservation of the plant diversity in those areas. The analysis of the three activities were analysed and revealed that a) plants in Wadi Al-Makhrour were diverse and distributed in such a manner that some plants were present along the trail from start to finish, many of the plants were of medical use. b) the water test showed that the water that come out from the natural springs are free from both Fecal and Total Coliform, however, BOD showed that water was polluted with organic matter. Heavy metals measurements were within the allowed percentages quoted by the WHO and the Palestinian Authority standards. d) The soil test results showed that the soil of Battir is mainly Tarra Rossa origins and that the soil types are mainly Clay in both areas with Silty Clay resting on Dolomite rock in one sample. The other sample was on Limestone rock and with the same soil types. The color of the soil samples was the same. TOC showed that both places were of the same level of contamination. pH levels were alkaline. Battir village, as this study revealed suffers from persisting underground pollution due to the use of cesspits as a wastewater system which allows contaminated water to infiltrate into the underground which may well hit the aquifers. Data must be then brought to the attention of decision-makers and stakeholders in order to obtain support from the local surrounding communities. Keywords: biodiversity, environment, Battir, Wadi Al-Makhrour, conservation, sustainability.