Lebanon celebrated its Arbor Day on December 7. Activists, students and environmentalists gathered in open spaces to plant trees.
Recent years have seen growing grassroots and government efforts to preserve Lebanon’s famed cedar forests, but there has been scant attention paid to rare juniper trees. There is currently no law to protect the vanishing Lebanese juniper tree.
“I have cherished the Lazzab [juniper tree] since childhood, it is the only tree that lives at elevations reaching up to 2,700 metres above sea level,” Lebanese activist Christian Akhras told Al-Shorfa. “It is scattered in Mount Lebanon and on the foothills of the eastern and western mountains of Lebanon.”
Today, massive re-forestation campaigns are taking place across the Kfardebian area of the Kesrouan district. “We rely on agricultural specialists and volunteers from universities, scout associations and civil organizations,” said Joelle Saad of the environmental organization Jouzour Loubnan [Roots of Lebanon].
“In 2012, we planted more than 35,000 trees of a variety of species that we will nurture for three years, our work also includes care and protection,” said Saad.
They plan to plant 70,000 thousand trees, both cedar and juniper trees.
The Association for Forests, Development and Conservation (AFDC), in cooperation with Lebanon’s Ministries of Agriculture and Environment, recently launched a plan to increase Lebanon’s green cover by 7 percent. In Kfardebian, the goal is to create a “green mountain,” that in addition to restoring the forest itself, will also provide local populations with improved air quality and groundwater conservation.
Read more about trees in Lebanon:
The Lebanese Cedar Survival Passes Tipping Point?
Landmines and Eco-Tourism Protect Lebanon’s Vulnerable Cedar Forests
Lebanon NGO Plants Ancient Species to Reclaim Arid Land
Image of juniper trees in Lebanon from Shutterstock