3 MILLION M2 OF PROTECTED LAND FOR A NEW REFORESTATION SITE
Jouzour Loubnan initiates the planting of 120,000 trees in Kfardebian with the support of USAID
In the presence of Mr. Nazem el-Khoury, representative of the President of the Lebanese Republic, along with the participation of officials and the community of Kfardebian region, Mr. Raoul Nehme, president of Jouzour Loubnan, and Mrs. Azza El-Abd, Mission Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), announced on October 14, 2012, the launch of a joint reforestation campaign of 120,000 trees in Ouyoun el Siman, Kfardebian.
“In the last 40 years, Lebanon has lost more than 40 percent of its woodland cover. This is a debt to Lebanon’s natural resources that our children and grandchildren will have to pay because we lived well beyond our means,” noted Mr. Nehme. “We, at Jouzour Loubnan, are trying to make a small contribution to this debt by continuing to plant native trees and nurturing them until well-rooted, by promoting environmental awareness of natural resources, and empowering local communities to protect, manage, and benefit from their environmental wealth.” Nehme then asserted that, “in a few years this arid region will become a forest we can all be proud of. Our children and grandchildren will be able to sit in its shade.” To date, Jouzour Loubnan has planted, irrigated, and maintained 60,000 native trees within eight different Lebanese regions, and expects to plant 200,000 trees in the coming two years.
The Lebanon Reforestation Initiative (LRI), a project funded by the USAID and implemented by the United States Forest Service (USFS), supports the Kfardebian initiative along with the Municipality of Kfardebian and the Union of the Keserwan municipalities. LRI provides technical assistance and institutional support for sustainable native tree reforestation and wildfire management in Lebanon. LRI is planting more than 300,000 native trees throughout the country in collaboration with grassroots organizations and local communities.
Mr. Jean Al-Akiki, Kfardebian's head of municipality, asserted his full support of environmental projects in Kfardebian and declared the urgent and vital need to protect its endangered heritage. “We are gathered here today not only to plant trees on those majestic mountains, but also to promise that we will offer whatever it takes to protect and take care of our forests for them to grow and become a national environmental treasure that is an integral part of our country’s long history," added Mr. Al-Akiki.
The Kfardebian event was concluded with the planting of three ceremonial cedars by the participants, giving birth to the new Kfardebian forest site, and invoking the spirit of the Greek proverb, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”