On Saturday, August 3rd, LRI helped convene a field visit to a new reforestation site in the Shouf area that a private funder -- Tinol Paints International, a leading Lebanese company -- has committed to supporting with a generous multi-year financial contribution. Ms. Wafa Saab, CEO of Tinol Paints International, representatives of the Shouf Cedar Reserve, including its manager, Mr. Nizar Hani, and the head of municipality of Mrusti, Dr. Nasser Zeidan participated in the field visit and reforestation discussions. Ms. Noura Joumblat welcomed the parties and encouraged the initiative in her capacity as president of the Executive Committee of the Al-Shouf Cedar Society. The area to be reforested is centered on a degraded quarry site in Mrusti, with restoration efforts undertaken to incorporate it into the broader Shouf Reserve.
The private sector-led reforestation agreement between Tinol Paints and the Shouf Reserve comes as a follow-up to LRI's “Building Linkages for Sustainable Reforestation” campaign. It is an illustration of successful efforts undertaken to bring local reforestation partners -- including municipalities, local NGOs and other reforestation actors -- together with the private sector to help fund reforestation efforts that build on sustainable planting methods and provide models for longer-term financing of reforestation in Lebanon. Groups like Tinol Paints are pioneers in providing seed capital for reforestation efforts such as the one in Mrusti. Numerous other private sector entities in Lebanon have followed suit elsewhere throughout Lebanon.
Through efforts of the project during the next couple of years, Mrusti’s degraded quarry site will be restored, native trees returned to the area, erosion reduced, and new job opportunities created for the ranger and others working at the new reserve entrance. The Mrusti project is expected to begin this fall.