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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in CONSERVATION
Wednesday, 02 August 2017 14:03

Agroforestry - Sustainable Agriculture

The Friends of Nature (FON) NGO is coordinating the project AGROF-MM “Capacity Building on Agroforestry” for Lebanon. The project is EU funded through Erasmus+, and steered by AGROSUP DIJON as lead organization; it is originally designed for European partners who include: France, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Hungary, Turkey, Greece, and England. FON is the only partner from outside Europe assisted by our connections with the EC.

Background

In their quest to improve water quality and quantity, the Ministry of Water in France requested from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Agricultural sector to contribute their role because they are directly impacting both factors quality and quantity. Agroforestry was proposed as the best solution, even by the Ministry of Water. Thus, efforts were undertaken to expand the Agroforestry systems and practices even across Europe, of which is the current project.

Project Objective

The main objective of the project is to popularize the application of the Agroforestry systems and practices for their valuable economic, ecological and social benefits. This is to be accomplished through capacity building of various stakeholders, mainly:

  • ·     extant farmers through direct training of farmer groups, syndicates, etc.
  • ·      future farmers through the education programs at technical level and higher education levels

Objectives for Lebanon

Capacity building on Agroforestry will in this phase be dedicated to training of trainers in higher education, the trainers are hoped to deliver the notion on Agroforestry to future farmers (students) as well as general public.

Accomplishments

A.   FON has designed suggested course material in Agroforestry in addition to other links and resources tailored to Lebanon’s students and background.

a.     a full course to be taught in the Faculties of Agriculture. Some may be offering such a course; we may enhance the basics.

b.     a short intervention of 3-4 credit hours in existing courses of ecology, environmental science and introductory agriculture courses. Agroforestry is proven to be a valid solution for some of the ecological, environmental and agricultural problems; it is important to show the students that solutions exist and are being globally supported for implementation.

B.    FON has trained trainers (professors) from 9 universities of Lebanon in the faculties of sciences and agriculture to deliver the information package and train students on Agroforestry

C.    FON has availed the educational material to the trainers.

D.   The University of Holy Spirit of Kaslik has responded by opening an elective full course in Agroforestry in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences. 24 students were already trained in Spring 2017.

E.    The project is still in progress throughout 2018 with more missions to be accomplished. 

Stakeholders

At the level of universities, FON has trained professor from the following universities

·      Beirut Arab University (BAU)

·      Lebanese American University (LAU)

·      Lebanese International University (LIU)

·      Lebanese University (LU)

·      Notre Dame University (NDU)

·      Saint Joseph University (USJ)

·      University of Balamand (UoB)

·      University of Holy Spirit of Kaslik (USEK)

At the levels of ministries, FON has also trained representatives from 

·      The Department of Rural Development and the Department of training at the Ministry of Agriculture,

·      The Department of Biodiversity at the Ministry of Environment.

And NGOs  : Lebanese Reforestation Initiative. 

 

Training of Trainers Workshop - Lebanon

 

PRESENTATIONS

DISCUSSIONS

 

 

COFFEE BREAKS AND LUNCH

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in CONSERVATION
Wednesday, 26 July 2017 14:24

Ecotourism with Local Community

A main vocation of the ecotourism activities of the Friends of Nature is to support local communities with alternative income from nature-based activities, in order to

  1. engage them in the chain of beneficiaries and supporters of ecotourism,

  2. make them local advocates for preservation of natural assets and resources,

  3. help maintain them in the countryside and help them not to abandon and migrate to the cities after their livelihoods, so the mountains of Lebanon would remain alive with their original communities and not the wealthy few who would buy all our cultural heritage for pennies at times of scarcities.

 

HOW DO WE SUPPORT?

A-  LOCAL GUIDES, B- LOCAL PRODUCE AND ECONOMIC CYCLE

 

A- LOCAL GUIDES

Charbel - goat shepherd in Adonis valley & high mountains                                                                

  

Naim - a retired public schoolteacher

  

Fady - an apple farmer

Milad - head of Deir Dourit municipality

 

 

B- LOCAL PRODUCE

"IM TONI" village breakfast in family business                                           

   

Violette - village lady making a living

 

Drinking milk and yogurt directly from shepherd tent

 

Savoring and purchasing fresh fruits locally

   

Local economic establishments - local tavern

 

 

 

 

Published in ECOTOURISM
Wednesday, 26 July 2017 10:46

Ecotourism in Fatri

ESTABLISHMENT OF AN ECOTOURISM AREA IN FATRI

is a project funded by USAID through Rene Mouawad Foundation program BALADI.

The goals of the Friends of Nature to initiate and develop ecotourism in the legendary Adonis valley met with the aspirations of the Adonis valley (private food company)

and worked together on the building of a project to start ecotourism in Fatri village where we are both based.

The project grew to include the municipality of Fatri and another local NGO - Aie Confience.

 

The project is under implementation and it includes the following components:

- USAID funds the construction of a center on municipal land; Fatri municipality will be responsible for the management of the center where the Friends of Nature will conduct activities on awareness to nature, biodiversity, environmental problems to the local and general public.

- The old footpaths will be cleaned and rehabilitated so the Friends of Nature manages and executes under its Shepherds Routes Hiking program visitation and hikes on the trails, thus bringing visitors to the village.

In the guided tours, the visitors will be directed to visit important village sites and to benefit from the local produce purchased directly from the farmers.

- A camping area will be developed by the project and remains under the responsibility of the municipality, it will be managed by Aie Confience NGO.

- The private sector represented by the local food industry Adonis Valley is supported to broaden the development of its organically based food products and thus indirectly support farmers to sell their produce. The Adonis Valley has adopted the 100%renewable energy policy and full treatment of its refuse.

 

USAID and BALADI have installed three street panels to commemorate the project.

Friends of Nature initiated its ecotourism activities with the hike named DARB EL CHIR under the beautiful cliffs of Alita-Fatri. More will be coming.

 

PANEL 1

 

 

PANEL 2

 

PANEL 3

 

 

 

 

Published in ECOTOURISM