Habitat:  Oak woodland on limestone

Area: 350 Dunams

Handed over: 350 Dunams

Land owner: Private

Ecozone: Central highlands

Annual rainfall: 300-500 mm

Nearby village: Deir Razeh, Yatta, Karma, Bait Amrah, Kharsah, Tarama, Abdo

About Deir Razeh

If you want to visit a nature reserve that combines history and geography, you must visit the Deir Razeh protected area. Deir Razeh was named after the neighboring village and is about 8 kilometers away from the center of the city of Hebron. The reserve is about 780 m above sea level and is an area of 350 dunams. At its boarder is the village Yatta from the east, Karma and Bait Amrah from the south and Kharsah, Tarama and Abdo from the west.

Deir Razeh has a colorful landscape which used to be a part of the Palestinian spring scenery. This reserve which is located to the south east of Hebron cannot be ignored at all. It is full of pine trees, oaks, cypress and other varieties of plants. Despite that, we cannot neglect the historical part of this area while being there.

According to the residents and old written resources, this area was named after an old saint named Razeh who lived in the region. 

When you visit Deir Razeh you pass by ancient historic sites, such as Romanian olive mills and ancient caves. Many residents who visit the reserve especially go to the old area called Al-Jawf. In this area you can explore ancient caves, craved walls, columns and landfills, as well as the ruins of a church which said to be dating back to the Roman era. However, it was exposed to sabotage and destruction over the past years.

One can say that the reserve is a mixture of a vital diversity of geographical and historical factors which gives this reserve a distinctive cultural position in this place.

The terrain and its relation to the forests link the Mediterranean plants and the pine trees, which are dated back to different periods of cultivation. The Mediterranean plants are indigenous plants in Palestine; examples for such plants are oaks and carob trees.

Deir Razeh reserve was exposed to destructive activities like many other reserves in the West Bank. For instance through cutting off big trees and using them for heating or commercial use. During the past years local media showed images of the destructive activities in the reserve. 

The visitors can easily access the reserve. It is close to a residential area and to the main road, which makes it easy for everyone to reach.

Besides the historical and flora diversity, there is also a big diversity of fauna in Deir Razeh. The locals from the surrounding villages noticed the appearance of animals such as hyenas, foxes, deer and rabbits. They also noticed a big variety of birds that live and nest in the area. On site there are local small resident birds, for example the Sparrow and the Palestine sun bird, which is one of the most common birds in the reserve. Besides that, there are birds of prey, such as the falcon and the honey buzzard.

To complete the image of the reserve and its surroundings, you must know that there are rural homes around the Deir Razeh reserve, where people are still living life in a very traditional way. By means of the simple agriculture and poultry farming, you can see their different way of living. Therefore, it makes this area one of the places that reflects the natural image for a full Palestinian traditional lifestyle.

As the reserve is just 8 kilometers away from the center of Hebron Center; visitors can also visit the town and take the opportunity of accessing the many traditional, historical and religious places in the city, for instance the traditional glass factories or the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. Visitors can get all things from grocery stores in the city and neighboring towns.

Use of natural resources and ecosystem services

Deir Razeh is a very important grazing area for its neighboring villagers. There is a household use of spiny hawthorn, carob, bible hyssop, common mallow, felty germander, Achillea biebersteinii, Micromeria nervosa, common verbena and Coridothymus sp. Additionally, there is a significant use of wood fuel (up to 20% of local fuel demand). The nature reserve is also used for recreational purposes, because of the more than 100 visitors per week from the Hebron region.

Pressures and Threats

Large parts of the oak forest of Deir Razeh have already been converted into agricultural land. This process as well as grazing and the collecting of fuel wood continue to put pressure on the few remaining forest fragments in the area, where hunting may also be an additional threat.