In an ambitious collaborative effort, eight native tree nurseries, representing most of the Lebanon’s native tree producers, recently formed the Cooperative of Native Tree Producers of Lebanon that offers advanced know-how of tree seedling production for reforestation. The Cooperative focuses on ensuring more successful reforestation efforts and responding to a rising demand for quality native tree seedlings. The Cooperative was recently recognized officially as a government-approved entity, helping ensure its sustainability.
With support from the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative (LRI), a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the United States Forest Service (USFS), this group of nurseries has been working together for the past few years to enhance their native seedling quality, thus increasing the rates of survivability once the trees are planted in the field and decreasing the costs of tree production. They all share the same high-quality standards and protocols for native tree seedling production, utilizing LRI introduced practices and approaches that produce robust seedlings to survive in Lebanon’s often-challenging growing environment. The Cooperative’s high-quality standards and protocols were adopted recently at the national level.
Through LRI, the native tree nurseries constituting the new Cooperative have successfully produced and supplied more than 350,000 robust seedlings of pine, cedar, fir, oak, and other native species during the past two years in Bcharre, Tannourine, Kfardebian, Maqne, Ainata, Aanjar, Kfarzabad, Rachaya, ElQlaiaa and Rmadyeh, covering nearly 600 hectares of municipal land. Survival rates after one or two years of planting are in most cases between 60-90%, compared with the previous national average of about 25%.