Um Al-Safa Forest

 

Um Al-Safa Forest is located in the north of Ramallah on the lands of Um Al-Safa and An-Nabi Saleh villages. It is 650 meters above sea level with an area of 733 Dunums. This natural forest is filled with wild trees and plants like Buckthorn, Pistachio, Styrax, Carob, Maple, Barzeh, and Oak trees. Pine and Cypress trees were introduced to the area in 1927. During the British Mandate over Palestine, a number of forests were created including Um Al-Safa (Ramallah) in 1927, Nahalin (Nablus) in 1927, Al-Izarrieh (Jerusalem) in 1945, and Al-Qaren (Hebron) in 1935.

 

Although agroforestry in the area started during the British Mandate era, attention to afforestation in the mountains increased during the Jordanian rule. The Jordanian Government used to hire retired individuals to plant the forests. They were also keen on hiring guards to protect these forests from random use that might cause harm to the forests. In the western parts of this forest, there is an old refined rocks building as well as ruins of two mud and rock buildings. Some stories say that these buildings were former military barracks and were used as housing for the guards of the forests where Ab Qasem Al-Arqoub of Jibeia used to be a guard during the Jordanian rule.

 

According to a study about the biodiversity of Um Al-Safa Forest, it has “a rich biodiversity” that includes 20 species of plants in addition to various trees, bushes, weeds, and climbing plants.