Twenty five representatives from nine Lebanese forest tree nurseries recently gathered in Bkessine to formalize the Lebanon Native Tree Nursery Network. The main objective of the gathering was to share technical information and experience among the network members, to review nursery improvement plans aimed to produce quality tree seedlings for more sustainable reforestation, and to promote more successful nursery business models.
The network had its beginning in November 2011 when the nine nurseries agreed to form a national network or union of forest tree nurseries. The decision came at the conclusion of the first Native Tree Nursery Workshop held on 15-17 November at the Mediterranean Forest Development and Conservation Center in Ramlieh.
The first three-day workshop, organized by the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative (LRI), was convened to share best practices for producing native tree seedlings -- such as cedar, pine, and juniper -- that help ensure survivability after planting. Topics covered included producing target seedlings to optimize outplanting success, principles of sub-irrigation, and the importance of seed sources for forest biodiversity.
The Lebanon Native Tree Nursery Network provides an important new mechanism for the sharing of best practices among forest tree nursery operators. It is a significant development for reforestation efforts in Lebanon to help practitioners strengthen native tree production methods and to advocate for improved reforestation efforts.
The Lebanon Reforestation Initiative is a four-year project funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the US Forest Service. The LRI aims to increase native tree reforestation and wildfire prevention in Lebanon by strengthening production of vigorous tree seedlings by native tree nurseries, by increasing survivability rates of planted seedlings, and by promoting greater coordination among reforestation stakeholders in Lebanon. The project also seeks to build public awareness and institutional capacity to prevent and respond to wildfires and to promote biodiversity protection. Dr. Anthony S. Davis, one of the leading native tree nursery and forest regeneration specialists in North America and Assistant Professor of Native Plant Regeneration and Silviculture at the University of Idaho, facilitated the workshop discussions.