Dahr Al Ahmar – November 24th,2017 - Under the auspices of the Committee of Endowments in the Druze Council, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative, inaugurated with local communities a reforestation site on a religious endowment land in Dahr Al Ahmar owned by the Committee of Endowments in the Druze Council. The event was attended by H.E. Wael Abou Faour represented by Mr. Rabah Al Kadi, Dr. Maya Nehme LRI’s Project Director, Mr. Nabil Al Masri Rachaiya’ s Qaemaqam, Sheikh Asaad Serhal representative of the Committee, along with Mr. Ghaleb Bahmad Dahr Al Ahmar’s Head of Municipality and local community members of Dahr Al Ahmar, neighboring municipalities and local associations.
The occasion highlighted the importance of reforesting lands owned by religious congregations, which represent approximately 40% of Lebanon’s land available for reforestation. Reforestation on land held by religious endowments will focus on planting native tree species that will generate income and create jobs for the local communities. This year, LRI will plant 10 hectares in Dahr Al Ahmar with 4,900 native tree seedlings including Wild Pine, Stone Pine, Aleppo Pine, Sumac, Hawthorn, Wild Pear and Almond. The committee is committed to ensuring the long-term care, regular maintenance, irrigation, and protection from grazing and fire.
On this occasion, Mr. Rabah Al Kadi stressed on the importance of reforestion in the region of Rachaiya due to its positive environmental and social impacts. He also complemented the partnership between the Municipality of Dahr Al Ahmar and the committee along with the USAID funded – Lebanon Reforestation Initiative.
Dr. Maya Nehme, LRI’s Project Director in her remarks affirmed the importance of public-private partnerships in reforestation efforts between the private religious endowments providing the land and long-term maintenance, the local municipalities providing protection and available resources, and local NGOs and international donors providing financial and technical assistance. This partnership will help raise environmental awareness nationally and increase Lebanon’s green cover. Implemented by the United States Forest Service (USFS), this activity will feed into Lebanon’s 40 million tree program.
In his remarks, Sheikh Asaad Serhal, representative of the Committee of Endowments in the Druze Council stressed the commitment of the committee. “We really value LRI’s interested in turning a barren land of the Druze endowment land into a reforested land in Dahr Al Ahmar. We will be committed to take care of the planted site that will be a major resource to the local community.”
Mr. Ghaleb Bahmad, Head of Municipality of Dahr Al Ahmar thanked LRI for its environmental efforts and sought to compensate the losses caused by humans. He also thanked USAID for funding this project that will contribute to increasing Dahr Al Ahmar’s green cover specifically and Lebanon generally.