Rainwater catchment pond at Bsharri
Rainwater catchment pond at Bsharri
I. BACKGROUND

The environmental associations in Cedars region –Bsharri, have been working for 20 years and till nowadays on protecting the environment, through protecting the biodiversity in the region. This work started with the protection of the old Cedars forest, the God Cedars Forest, which is the oldest and the older forest in the World. Later on, environmental associations expanded their work in order to encompass neighboring areas.

“The Committee of the Cedars Forest Friends” is an environmental committee which was established on July 1986. The Committee’s main objective is to protect and develop the Cedar Forest. Major activities of the committee consist of stopping damages caused by human beings and planting Cedar trees and seedlings.

The committee won several local, international, humanitarian, and environmental medals for its extensive and continuous work. It collaborated with institutions/associations from Japan, England, France, and Australia, in order to make the forest survive after it was facing extinction in 1985.

Major achievements are:
1. Cleaning-up of the Forest from dead woods
2. Protection of the Forest from diseases
3. Reaching the capacity of having 25000 seedlings of Lebanese Cedars per year due to the new techniques used in the Committee’s nursery. The Committee has gained over the years adequate experience in the domain of collecting, stocking and curing seeds and in the domain of seedlings and plants.
4. The Committee undertook a study on the “the cedars reserve”-Kadisha
5. Reforestation of more than 12000 cedars trees and works continuously on its protection and development, this accumulates to only 15% of the total planned project. Also, other projects were done including: establishment of internal agricultural roads, fence, studies on the soil, herbal coverage and the weather in the country.
6. The Committee elaborated a plan for 20 years divided into 4 phases.






II. AIMS OF THE PROJECT

The aim of the Project is mainly to provide a biological balance in the area surrounding the God Cedars Forest, as well as minimizing soil erosion.

The aim of the Project is to provide the necessary need of water (7000 m3/year) through the establishment of a water catchments pond in order to irrigate more than 120 000 seedlings of Cedars, Juniperus, Oack, etc. This is crucial in order to succeed the reforestation operation especially during the first three years of the seedling life.

The area of the region is 15600 Hectares, where 8000 hectares are non – cultivated causing a lot of soil destruction and erosion during the spring, in addition to over-grazing causing a lot of damage to the herbal coverage resulting in a non ecological balance that influences negatively the weather in the area.


III. RELATION OF THE PROJECT WITH GEF OBJECTIVES

The establishment of a water catchments pond is directly related to GEF objectives. It provides the needed water for the irrigation and growth of the seedlings and the establishment of the Cedar forest thus decreasing the soil erosion. Also, the presence of the forest provides protection to the herbal coverage through protection from grazing and other forms of aggressions. And, as a result, we will be encouraging the sustainable agriculture.


IV. PROJECT OBJECTIVES

1. To reduce the problem of the drought during the summer and spring seasons and irrigate the seedlings of Cedar, juniper and oak, that were and will be planted in “Jabal Al- Makmel” in a 400 hectares forest area.
2. To provide big chances of success for the seedlings to grow into trees and establish a real forest and thus:
? Avoid soil erosion.
? Improve water holding capacity in the ground.
? Stop the desertion phenomena in “Jabal Al Makmel” replacing it with herbal coverage that makes the soil roof a place to plant seedlings, new and natural flowers.
? Change the weather of the highest region in the Middle East (“Al Korne Al sawda” 3000m).
? Extend the area of walking on the snow during the winter and early spring.
3. To change the area surrounding the forests from 7000 hectares of desert, to an area of forest able to stop eclipses, soil erosion, and then it could be a model that could be practiced in all el Makmel –Bsharre- area.
4. To make use of water wasted on soil roof, without being used inside the soil.
5. To increase Lebanon’s tourist capacity especially eco-tourism (The forest is the most important tourist forest in Lebanon)
6. The operation of protection over 400 hectares in “Jabal El Makmel” from erosion and grazing through the artificial reforestation can lead to natural regeneration of a big quantity of trees and rare and endemic herbs , where some are : Iris Cedretti , trees of Juniperus excelsa , Acer tauricolum….
7. To decrease the percentage of dry areas in the Lebanese mountains. This Project is in line with the plan of planting trees first established by the FAO in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture.


V. ACTIVITIES

1. The Friends of Cedars committee started, one year ago, collecting information concerning the weather and the quantity of rain that will be used in the project, the soil nature and its convenience with such projects. We also did an experimental water reservoir on very small basis to experience the quality of the soil and the result was extremely positive.
2. Explain the project for the parties concerned (this activity has already been achieved) :
? The environmental committees (committee of the environment protection, committee of the cedars friends forest).
? The municipality of Bsharri to get their approval in order to implement this project on the Municipality property and obtain undergo the legal documentation process.
? Other organizations in the area as well as the local community.
3. Contact experts in the establishment of artificial lakes to estimate the cost of the project.
4. Contact plastic pipes companies in order to estimate the cost of the irrigation system.
5. This irrigation system will be covered with soil and will be close to the agricultural plots.
6. We will start directly the irrigation of the planted areas and the transportation of the water with containers to the far trees fields.
7. Plant 9000 Cedar trees
8. Take care of 22000 existing Cedar trees
9. Establish a 12000 m3 natural water reservoir
10. Establish an irrigation network.


VI. IMPLEMENTING TEAM

The project is part of an overall programme aiming at the establishment of 120000 Cedar trees in the coming 13 years. Many organizations are or will be involved in this Project including Governmental and Non Governmental Organizations (local, national and international). During this year (the term of the Project) the stakeholders will be Cedar’s Forest Friends Committee (CFFC), Civil Defense, Environment Protection Committee (EPC), Local Church and Bsharri Municipality.

The follow-up on Project activities will be undertaken by the administrative committee as well as the technical staff which includes an agriculture engineer and the forest engineer. The administrative manager of the Committee will follow-up of the activities timetable and will prepare the monthly reports.


VII. INVOLVEMENT OF THE LOCAL COMMUNITY

The local community involvement and participation is essential to the success of the Project.
? The local community is aware of the importance of this Project. More awareness sessions concerning the importance of the environment, trees, water, soil deterioration, vegetative cover, and eco-tourism will be conducted. These sessions will target schools, clubs and municipalities. The Lebanese Army will also participate in this Project. It has participated over the years in environmental activities and has shown its commitment for the protection of the Forest.
? Schools will be involved as well in the Project. Small school nurseries will be established. Students will participate in the plantation work in the Forest.
? The scouts and other clubs will be planting small areas and name them according to their clubs names in order to motivate them.
? The Civil Defense will be involved in the avoidance of the fires in the Forest.


VIII. RISKS

Some risks can take place in this period while executing the project such as:
? Climatic situations, like the late snow in April that can delay the start of the excavation work.
? The financial capacity can be a risk if it exceeds the cost of the Project.


IX. EVALUATION INDICATORS

The impact of the project can be evaluated through:
1. The additional irrigated areas.
2. The quantity of water which is accumulated by the lake and the reservoir.
3. Addition of sustainable cultivated areas.
4. The wild animals that visit the lake to drink water, goats flocks, etc…
5. The field visits, opinions of the local community members, the percentage of success of the seedlings, the herbal coverage, and the bio diversity after the protection.
6. Take the advice of professionals whenever necessary and make changes accordingly.

 

Project Snapshot

Grantee:
The committee of the cedars forest friends
Country:
Lebanon
Area Of Work:
Biodiversity
Land Degradation
Operational Phase:
Phase 3
Grant Amount:
US$ 23,100.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 39,300.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
Project Number:
LEB/OP3/1/05/05
Start Date:
5/2006
End Date:
5/2007
Status:
Satisfactorily Completed

Grantee Contact

Mr System Administrator

SGP Country office contact

Mr. Adnan Georges Melki
Phone:
00961 1 382332
Fax:
00961 1 386570
Email:

Address

Lebanese Environment Forum. Ain El Rummanah, El Arid Road, Najjar building, 2nd floor
Beirut