Chairman of Lattakia Agriculture Directorate, Eng. Ahmad Hakim said that the goal behind establishing nature reserves is to protect the important sites and to rediscover the biodiversity in these reserves which are considered a national treasure and attractive tourist destinations.
He added that nature reserves also support the national economy and preserve plant and animal species and the genetic resources which are settled in these areas, in addition to the systematic and rationed investment of these biological resources which can emerge in the reserves.
He indicated that the Directorate works on rehabilitating the extinct species and redeveloping and rehabilitating the endangered and unique species in a way that would guarantee their return, in addition to developing the ecotourism industry which constitutes a substitute source of income as it has become the first competitor of the archeological and historical places.
Nature reserves contribute to improving the temperature, purifying the air, combating desertification, preventing soil erosion, and recharging the groundwater as well as reducing the speed of the wind, improving the vegetation and preserving the wildlife.
Al-Frunluq nature reserve is located in the northwestern part of Syria in al-Bayer area, 47 km to the north of Lattakia province as it extends over an area of 53,360 hectares and it is considered the most complete environmental forest system in Syria.
The reserve was established in 1999 and it has a scientific nature, and it is invested in tourism as more than 64,000 tourists visited the reserve in summer in 2009.
Al-Frunluq is situated on various types of unique green impulsive rocks which led to the existence of rare animal and plant species.
The reserve consists of a number of the plains, hills, water streams, rivers and creeks, and the soil in it is muddy while the rocks are green and a western, eastern and southern winds blow in the reserve, and the annual rate of rainfalls is 1200 mms.
Due to its geographical location between Europe and Asia, al-Frunluq provides a sanctuary for wild migratory animals and a stopping point for the endangered migratory birds.
More than 260 plant species grow in the reserve, 38 of which are medical, 52 are ornamental and 29 are aromatic.
Preliminary statistics showed that there are 18 mammal species, 29 reptile and amphibian species in the reserve, and some of the most important animals in the reserve are wild pigs, rabbits, foxes, reptiles, wild cats, weasels and mongooses.
50 bird species and 56 endangered bird species also live in the reserve, in addition to several migratory birds such as owls, nightingales, woodpeckers, hoopoes, partridges, and bats.
R. al-Jazaeri /