The best remaining area of mature, natural Pinus halepensis forest in the country, on limestone slopes of the highest hill range in northern Jordan, between 550 and 1,000 m. Understorey of Arbutus and evergreen Quercus. Parts of the forest remain remote from habitation, although there are some pockets of agriculture. The surrounding area has oaks and olive groves as well. There is a much-used recreational area in the centre of the site, with parking spaces, barbecue sites, restaurant and playgrounds.
See box for key species. A representative bird assemblage of Mediterranean pine woodland, a rare and diminishing habitat in Jordan. Other breeding species include Dendrocopos syriacus, Phylloscopus bonelli and Parus caeruleus (the only known breeding site in Jordan for the latter two species), and other species observed during the breeding season in suitable habitat include Circaetus gallicus, Accipiter nisus, Falco subbuteo and Nectarinia osea. Lullula arborea winters in small numbers. Large numbers of migrating raptors have been reported in spring, but no details are known.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Sciurus anomalus (relict population). Flora: rare/endemic plants include Verbascum transjordanicum, Orchis collina, Biarum eximum and Globularia arabica; in addition, Cupressus sempervirens, Tulipa agensis and Cyclamen persicum are experiencing cutting or collecting pressure.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Part of Dibbin Forest is a National Park (5,000 ha) managed by the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, but this designation is in recognition of the forest's value for public recreation, and no management for wildlife conservation occurs. Critical threats are from forest-fires due to negligence and recreation, and from piecemeal clearance and conversion of forest to olive groves. Intense disturbance from picnicers (with attendant litter and burning) is a problem locally.