Integrated forest management and monitoring plan for sustainable fire prevention
Forests in Lebanon have suffered a continuous and marked degradation process, which has led to intense fragmentation of forests, a major loss of ecological integrity and the increased vulnerability of the livelihoods of rural resource-dependent communities. According to FAO data, between 1990 and 1995 over 30% of Lebanon's forests disappeared or were burned. The year 2007 was a particularly severe for forest fires in the eastern Mediterranean, with particular impact on the devastation of large forest areas of Greece and Lebanon.
Despite this severe degradation, Lebanon is one of the countries of West Asia with high plant diversity and richness of forest resources. Forest cover in Lebanon, which according to recent studies by the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO is approximately 13.5% of the country, is an element of great singularity and importance within the markedly arid environment of the southeastern Mediterranean. The great geomorphological variability (predominantly Jurassic and Cretaceous calcareous and sandstone), the altitude and climate of the mountainous territory of Lebanon, stretching from the coast inland along the border with Syria, gives rise to a diversity of forest ecosystems. These types of woodland provide important direct and indirect benefits from the mitigation of climate change, accumulation and regulation of water resources, development and protection of soils, and non-timber products (fruits, herbs, medicinal and culinary, honey) and recreational, cultural and spiritual services.
The restoration post-fire and the prevention and combating large forest fires in relation to global change is a priority for the Lebanese government and within the IUCN Programme, with special reference to the innovative approach of "Forest Landscape Restoration" developed by IUCN / WWF and adopted globally by several governments and international agencies. The project provides the tools to develop a national post-fire restoration strategy, following IUCN “Forest Landscape Restoration” approach, as well establish a pilot forest area in a high conservation value mountain (El Chouf Forest Reserve) involving resource-dependent communities.
Objectives and results
The project objective is to review the national strategy for fire risk reduction, prevention, and response, and restoration forestry in Lebanon.
The project outcomes are the following:
- Lebanon's national strategy for fire risk reduction, prevention, response and recovery of the forest has been reviewed and approved by the National Committee, including a programme of long-term action that clearly identifies the needs of financial and human resources, training, infrastructure and equipment, and the operating mechanism of the central control unit.
- Lebanese representatives of public institutions and civil society involved know the principles and methods of "Forest Landscape Restoration" and have applied the knowledge to develop a restoration plan that will serve as pilot to raise awareness and promote its adoption in the various initiatives post-fire restoration planned in Lebanon.
- National NGOs: Association for Forest Development and Conservation (AFDC).
- Universities and research centers: Universidad de Córdoba, Lebanese University.
- Public Institutions: FAO, Lebanese Ministry of Environment, Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture.
- The main cooperation and development organizations and agencies operating in the region, to complement efforts.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID).
Duration and budget
September 2008 – October 2011
Total budget: 188.160 €
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IUCN-Med receives core financial support from the Ministry of Environment of the Junta de Andalucia, the Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) among others