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Best-fit Practices for Reforestation to Enhance Climate Resilience in Remote Hilly Areas of Lebanon
According to the most recent forest assessment (FAO, 2005), the forest area in Lebanon is estimated at over 139,000 ha (13.3% of the country) with an additional 108,000 ha classified as Other Wooded Land (OWL). The FAO analysis shows that 85 % of the forest area in Lebanon is considered "disturbed", i.e. impacted by human activities, with about 14% of the forest area affected by past forest fires. About 60% of the forest area is privately owned, compared to 27% state-owned and 11% owned by municipalities and communities, with only 3% of the area designated as nature reserves.
Forests play two main roles in Lebanon: (i) they serve directly as income sources for rural livelihoods and (ii) they provide environmental services, mainly soil and water conservation, to rural populations particularly in hilly areas. However, war, uncontrolled urban expansion, and frequent forest fires have resulted in the total forest area declining from about 20% of the country to only 13% at present.
Lebanon is interested in reversing that trend. It is embarking on a large reforestation initiative with the goal to replant 70,000 ha, an increase of over 50% over the currently forested area. It is also investing in the extension of irrigation to increase income from high-value crops, including substantial investments in the construction of hill lakes to harvest rainwater. Without significant upstream reforestation, some of these hill lakes could become vulnerable to excessive silting and to flooding events that are likely to become more intense as a result of climate change. Such events could cause serious infrastructural damage to vulnerable lakes and reduce their storage capacity.
The proposed study aims to present best-fit reforestation practices so that local authorities and beneficiaries have the knowledge to choose successful reforestation practices that support their livelihoods and long-term resilience. Climate change scenarios will be applied to current knowledge of ecosystem and soil conditions, to understand potential impacts and develop recommendations for reforestation for resilience under changing ecological conditions. Best fit practices will be defined based on two major criteria: a) social acceptability and ease of implementation and b) tree survival rates based on local ecosystems and experiences. These umbrella criteria will be further defined in discussion with the stakeholders and captured in the typology suggested during study implementation.
This activity is ongoing. Findings will be shared on this page when they become available.
Last Updated : 03-22-2018