The Lebanese cedar tree is being decimated by climate change, a new video report released by Greenpeace explores. Climate change is impacting the Middle East in extreme ways – from drought and famine in Syria, to forest fires in Israel and Lebanon, to wars over water in Iraq.
The iconic cedar trees of Lebanon were used in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem and mentioned in the Old Testament, “The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar in Lebanon” (Psalm 92:12). They are also a symbol of strength and prosperity.
There are a total of less than twenty Lebanon cedar forests remaining. They are the only old-growth forests in the Middle East, with some trees being more than two thousand years years old.
Greenpeace is promoting a new film about the trees, the ‘Cedars of Lebanon’. This is the second film that was produced to document and highlight the devastating impact of global climate change on precious and unique ecosystems in the Middle East.
The documentary highlights the increasing dangers and risk factors that the shrinking cedar forests face due to climate change, which include parasitic infestation from insects and fungi, frost and heat stress, the halting of natural forest growth, as well as forest fires of unprecedented ferocity, scale and frequency.
These threats are compounded by issues such as overgrazing, tree cutting, and rampant urbanisation in Lebanon.
“The Lebanese Cedar tree, already unique and iconic species, is really suffering from unprecedented levels of stress and risk factors, the heat waves and forest fires of the past two years only increases their urgency,” warned Julien Jreissati, from Greenpeace.
“By producing films such as these and working together with environmentalists and conservationists around the world, we document the effects of manmade climate change on our natural environment and work together to mitigate the risks and help develop sustainable solutions for its conservation.”
“The immediate and urgent effects of the climate emergency are annually becoming ever more apparent, not just with the destruction of our ecosystems, but with the annual loss of lives and livelihoods as a result,” added Jressati. “It is imperative that climate change is acknowledged and tackled as a serious threat that is already profoundly affecting our lives, and that the necessary policies are urgently implemented to mitigate that impact.”