BEIRUT: A guide to the cultivation of 30 native tree species in Lebanon was launched Wednesday at the Lebanese University’s Department of Agronomy as part of a major reforestation effort in the country.
The guide, “Forest Nurseries in Lebanon for Native Species Production,” is the result of two years of cooperation between Center for Applied Research in Agroforestry Development and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, both based in Spain, and Lebanon’s Association for Forest Development and Conservation and Agriculture Ministry.
“All the organizations working on reforestation had noticed a lack of guidelines, of references available about the species,” Marcos Valderrabano, program officer at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, said at the launch.
The previous guide provided information on only three tree species present in Lebanon.
Since the union was already familiar with the Mediterranean climate and ecosystems, the organizations made the decision to work together to “gather information that can be spread,” Valderrabano added.
The new guide details tree cultivation from seed collection to time of planting and information is communicated in tables, glossaries, photographs and descriptions of techniques.
“The publishers wanted to aim specifically at forestry managers, in order to help them in their daily activities ... But we chose to create a book that could be read by anyone on the street,” he stressed.
The guide is meant to facilitate forest landscape restoration in the country, a comprehensive approach described by Valderrabano as “different from reforestation, which focuses on a limited number of goods and services provided by the forest.”
The Association for Forest Development and Conservation has already developed five nurseries following the principles of forest landscape restoration since 1994.
Spain sponsored the guide and has also provided financial and technical assistance in other agricultural projects.
“This involvement has been going on for at least 10 years, as we are leaders in many agricultural sectors related to the Mediterranean such as olive oil ... We are willing to bring our competence to countries with potential such as Lebanon, who now require knowledge,” Spain’s Ambassador to Lebanon Juan Carlos Gafo said at the event.
According to Valderrabano, universities as well as NGOs and anyone interested in forests and their ecosystems should find the guide useful.
“The sustainability of the landscape must be acknowledged as an objective for the whole society,” he added.