Wednesday, 02 August 2017 15:57

Creating the First Marine Reserve

Through the dedication, forceful lobbying and influential works of Dr. Ricardus Haber, the founding father of Friends of Nature, FON contributed the establishment of the first nature reserves by concept and practice legally, communally and effectively to set the national precedence and the prototype.

·      Ehden Forest Nature Reserve – the First Cedar Forest declared a Nature Reserve

o    6 years of fieldwork researching the biodiversity at the nature forest of Ehden proved the significance of the natural system at maintaining its assets under the immense threats.

o    FON launched an awareness campaign targeting various components of the social structure: teachers, students, elders, youth, university students, farmers, herdsmen, politicians, etc.

o    In parallel, activities safeguarding the forest and reducing anthropogenic pressures were executed with local volunteers.


·      Palm Island Nature Reserve – The first Marine Protected Area

o    In collaboration with the Environment Protection Committee NGO in Tripoli, FON worked on uncovering the biodiversity riches of the Palm Islands archipelago comprising 3 Islands: Sannani, Nakhel & Ramkeen.

o    Field research revealed the importance of the islands as the last resort to many of the coastal floral species and the struggle of these species for survival under intense pressures.

o    FON conducted an awareness campaign directed to local community of Mina-Tripoli, similar to Ehden

o    A series of activities were implemented to reduce the pressures off the islands


·      First Law of Conservation of Nature Sites in the Republic of Lebanon

o    FON drafted a conservation law and prepared a portfolio for each of Ehden and Palm Islands including biodiversity assessment, state of threats, significance of ecosystems, and landmarks as national assets.

o    The portfolio was presented to the Ministry of Justice for processing.

o    FON lobbied for the passing of the law for a year and a half, first with through the government, followed by the parliament

o    The law was passed without major change and ratified by the Lebanese parliament to be the first law of conservation of a nature site in the Republic of Lebanon. Law 121, March 1992 achieved the precedence for nature conservation.


·      International Platform - Rio Biodiversity Convention

o    Lebanon was one of rare developing countries that achieved nature conservation before to the Biodiversity Convention.

o    Owing to the efforts of FON, Lebanon went to Rio having accomplished a prototype of local and legal conservation.

o    Owing to the efforts of FON, Lebanon and the Ministry of Environment acquired huge funds for the conservation of biodiversity.






Friends of Nature provides a training for students and teacher with hands-on outdoor activities to discover the natural cycles, formation of rivers and valleys, creation of forests, rise of Lebanon from under sea, importance of protecting all that as in the example of Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve opposite to us. 



The training is divided into the following sessions.

Workshop 3: Learning on the Adonis valley (ecology)

a.     The nature walk continues to a field overlooking the Adonis valley. Here we explain about natural assets

                                               i.     Soil

                                             ii.     Topography: mountains, valley

                                            iii.     Water cycle: viewing the Mediterranean sea, evaporation into clouds, rain and snow to make waters of the river

                                            iv.     Forests and their formation

                                   v.   Role in nature conservation

b.     They will learn about using a compass and a GPS

c.     We explain the history of the Adonis valley and relation of the valley to old civilizations

d.     We give an explanation of nature reserves: referring to the Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve facing us.


Workshop 4: Learn about fossils

a.     Observe different Lebanese fossils.

b.     Lear about the process of their creation

c.     Learn the different locations in Lebanon where fossils are found

d.     Learn why these fossils are found in their respective regions and not other sites.

e.  Give a whole perspective to the nature of Lebanon from the rise of mountains to the creation of forests







Published in CHILDREN & NATURE