New tools to support forest management in Lebanon and Syria

The Pinus brutia is estimated as the second forest species in area present in Lebanese and Syrian forests. However the lack of management, absence of clearing, cleaning, pruning and thinning of these pines trees have made these forests more susceptible to fires more than any other coniferous species.

In this context, the respective ministries of agriculture are lacking the necessary information and tools needed to support their management practices as a way to provide a sustainable strategy for the conservation of these natural ecosystems.

The main objective of the project is to develop some scientific tools for the establishment and planning of the sustainable forest management strategy through:

1) generating new information on the composition, and dynamics of the forest systems by means of the application of modern skills of inventory and forest modeling,

2) Developing tools of support to the forest management in Syria and Lebanon,

3) Improving the capacities of the governmental entities responsible for forest planning, conservation and management and

4) Sensitize the rural populations on the importance of the conservation of the forest resources and its sustainable management.

Through the technical guidance of the CTFC and the financial support of the AECID, a simulation model for the sustainable management of the Pinus brutia forests is made available for decision makers at the ministries of Agriculture in both Lebanon and Syria.

The implementation phase included field measurements and data collection for hundred plots in both countries and the development of the technical capacities of the technical staff. Being essential in improving the conservation and the development of the forest systems in Lebanon, these scientific measurements, for the first time in the Middle East, are to be integrated in a software able to support the decision making process for the sustainable management of these forests systems.

Through the support of the local partners the YMCA of Lebanon has contributed to the development of additional variables that would integrate the social and economical aspects as a way to allow the involvement of the communities neighboring the forest areas. Representatives from local communities, municipalities, NGOs, governmental bodies have collaborated to setting up the priorities for development in the phase 2 project. At this stage (the phase 2), the validation of the model will be tested on the ground by integrating all information and activities for the development of a one pilot forest management initiative.

Further information: Patricia Sfeir, agridp(at)ymca-leb.org.lb

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