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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   The Shouf Biosphere Reserve covers about 5% of the overall area of Lebanon and extends along the ridge of the western chain of Mount Lebanon from Dahr-el Baidar in the north to Jezzine in the south and overlooks both the Bekaa valley to the east and the Shouf valley to the west. The mostly treeless summit of the Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve forms the skyline of a large part of southern Lebanon. The cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) reaches its southernmost limit in this area. At the local level several of the cedar stands are recognized as outstanding scenic landscapes, the larger cedars contributing in a most distinctive way to the landscape. The western slope of the mountain, with the different patches of cedar forests gives way to the surrounding villages.

There are 28 villages in the transition area where the main economic activities include agriculture and pastoralism. The biosphere reserve also includes two protected areas (Al-Shouf Cedar Reserve and Ammiq Wetland) that are becoming a major natural attraction for Lebanon and the region. Tourism is currently the main economic activity in the core area.The area encompasses a number of important vegetation zones and represents one of the few remaining natural landscapes of Mount Lebanon that were described in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Old Testament as well as in countless documents throughout written history.

The core area is made up of the protected areas of Al-Shouf Cedar Reserve and Ammiq Wetland, municipal lands incorporated into the Al-Shouf Cedar Reserve, and private lands. The buffer zone is made up of municipal lands incorporated into the Al-Shouf Cedar Reserve and private lands. The transition area is made up of municipal lands incorporated into the Al-Shouf Cedar Reserve, religious trusts (Awqaf) and private lands. The existing management plan for the Al-Shouf Cedar Reserve is being updated (2005-2010). One of the primary objectives is to build community support for the Al-Shouf Cedar Reserve and its Management Plan. The Al-Shouf Cedar Society under the guidance of the Government Appointed Committee is the designated authority to implement this plan.

The Shouf Biosphere Reserve has special significance for the maintenance of wildlife habitats. In addition to its cedar (25% of the remaining Cedrus libani forests in Lebanon) and oak ecosystems, it represents the best prospect for the long-term conservation of the larger mammal species such as wolf, wild cat and striped hyena. The area is also rich in archaeological and cultural heritage with sites such as Niha Fort and Mukhtara Palace.
  Major ecosystem type   Evergreen sclerophyllous forests, woodlands or scrub
  Major habitats & land cover types   Temperate heath and scrub with Acantholimon libanoticum, Astragalus cruentiflorus, Astragalus gummifer etc.; Cedrus libani forests dominated by Cedrus libani associated with Acer tauriculum, Astragalus emarginatus, Cephalaria cedrorum etc.; Quercus infectoria latifolia and Quercus calliprinos woods including Acer tauriculum, Arceuthos drupacea, Astragalus pinetorum etc.; Quercus infectoria latifolia and Quercus calliprinos dry woods with Astragalus gummifer, Centranthus longiflorus latifolius, Juniperus oxycedrus etc.
  Location   3339'37.93''N, 3542'8.87''E (central point)
3330'20.64'' to 3348'54.86''N; 3535'34.64'' to 3548'44.55''E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   29,540
  Core area(s)   15640
  Buffer zone(s)   5500
  Transition area(s) when given   8400
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +1100 to +2000
  Year designated   2005
  Administrative authorities   Al-Shouf Cedar Society
  Brief description   The core area is composed primarily of the long and narrow crest of the Lebanon mountain chain. The buffer zone lies 500 metres from each side of the demarcation line of the core area. The transition zone reaches out to include the main villages surrounding the core area and buffer zone.

Fauna and flora; Insect and reptile collection; Identification of medicinal and edible plants; Monitoring mammals using transmitters and GIS; Perspective for the sustainable use and management of Cedrus libani in Lebanon; Development after the establishment of the Al-Shouf Cedar Reserve. Research and monitoring will concentrate on the importance of the Shouf Biosphere Reserve as the primary watershed for the Bekaa and Shouf regions of Lebanon, the integrated management of the cedar forests of Lebanon, and the impact of the Shouf Biosphere Reserve and Ammiq Wetland on the economy of the Shouf and Bekaa areas particularly as it relates to ecotourism activities in these areas.
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Hydrology, meteorology.
  Biodiversity   Afforestation/Reforestation, alien/invasive/exotic/introduced species, birds, community studies/communities, ecosystem assessment, ecosystem functioning/ecosystem structure, endemic species, fauna, flora, mammals, mediterranean type/scherophyll, migrating populations/migration, mountain and highland systems, natural medicinal products, restoration/rehabilitation/redevelopment, wildlife.
  Socio-economic   Capacity building, livestock and related impacts/overgrazing, local participation, monitoring methodologies, people-nature relations/man/nature, recreation, stakeholders' interests, tourism.
  Integrated monitoring   Indicators, land use/land cover, monitoring/methodologies, planning and zoning measures/zonation, sustainable development/sustainable use, watershed studies/monitoring.
  Contact address   Nizar Hani
Scientific Coordinator, Shouf Biosphere Reserve

  Telephone   (961) 550 22 30
  Fax   (961) 368 24 72
  Web site

Last updated: 18/09/2007

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