Habitat:  Oak woodland on limestone

Area: 1118 dunams

Handed over: 1118 dunums

Land owner: Government

Ecozone: Central highlands

Annual rainfall: 500-600 mm

Nearby village: Sirris, Al-Faraa Camp

About Al-Mikser "Sirris"

On top of a hill overlooking wide plains to the east, where the region of the Great Rift Valley is and where on the other side mountains are covered with olive trees, lies Al-Mikser Reserve. The reserve is about 1118 dunams big.

There are a lot of trees that complete the green scenery in this agricultural region, known as the mountains north–east of Nablus. This is one of the most significant areas of the north agricultural region. The reserve is 31 km south of Jenin and in the north of the West Bank. Its name “Sirris” comes from a village nearby, nevertheless it has a new name now, the Al-Mikser reserve.

A visit to the reserve, which borders a main street from the north, connects the north West Bank areas to its south areas. There it shows the high significance of biodiversity. The reserve consists out of brown–red soil mixed with chains of hard rocks, where all-year-long different kinds of plants grow between its clefts. 

This reserve is located near the Sanoor Meadow, which in one of the meadows in the north of the West Bank and has watersheds in the rainy seasons. It also enriches the reserve as it is a good habitat for migratory and residential birds.

Throughout the time, small twittering birds appear; they are flying in the skies and are bringing an astonishing diversity into the region. Soaring birds looking for their daily meals are clearly seen from far away. Due to the active movement of the birds, day and night, you can watch flying ones and birds of prey, whereas in the depth of the reserve, you can see the nests of the different birds.

The Reserve is characterized by the tangled trees in a safe haven for nesting birds. In the reserve there are honey buzzards and other animals, such as: rock hyrax, foxes and wild boars.
The locals speak about great numbers of different species of hawks roaming over the reserve in recent years.

One can see well-organized pine, acacia and willow trees which were recently planted by governmental Palestinian sectors, who established a nursery in the area. Though naturally grown-trees, for instance, oaks, pistacia, alshers, styrax and carobs are nicer and better organized. 
There is no water surface in the reserve. In the past the Al-Mikser even suffered from overgrazing.

Al-Mikser reserve is known for its slopes and cliffs. It is also characterized by low solar radiation and relatively moist soil which helps the weeds to grow fast and effectively.

The neighbors of the reserve say that wild boars are of great danger to the inhabitants of the area. They appear in the night to graze in the nearby farms and later hide inside the densely tangled shrub land.

Recreation

Visiting the reserve is only possible in a limited way. Very few farmers can be seen in the vicinity of the area. The best time to visit the area is during early mornings and evenings when the heat is down. At the reserve there are no paved asphalted roads or suitable places to sit down; nevertheless it is not difficult for the visitors to go to rural villages. There they can make use of the services from the locals and spend the rest of their day in the Bathan area, which is in a valley surrounded by lots of trees. Many Palestinians from the West Bank and within the territory used to visit this area in 1948.

Due to its location near the water estuaries of Al-Faraa and Al-Bathan, the visitor can also visit the historical parks and cafes of the Al-Bathan area. Besides that there is the Al-Faraa historical hill, only 2 km away from the reserve or one can visit the plain of Sameet. Because of the occurrence of the reserve near many of the surrounding villages, people can access to the rural lifestyle through these areas.

Use of natural resources and ecosystem services

Inhabitants of nearby villages mainly visit to collect wild plants such as Bible hyssop, Common mallow, Palestine arum, Tumble thistle and Greek sage. Unfortunately, the reserve suffers from the locals hunting the partridge during spring. They are also looking for eggs for food-consuming or in order to sell it to city-dwellers. Another fact is that grazing is observed but reportedly limited.

Pressures and Threats

Some pressures and threats are unsustainable grazing, logging and reportedly hunting. In addition to that a few peripheral parts are under pressure from conversion to olive groves and other parts of the reserve, with particularly dense vegetation, may also be prone to fires. The reforestation efforts of the MoA that were observed during the site-visit are also a potentially threat to the ecological integrity and uniqueness of the area, especially if non-native species are introduced as a consequence.