AUB Nature Conservation Center
 
Target Communities 
  • Aarsal

Located in the Bekaa, 35 kilometres away from Baalbeck, Aarsal is 14 km away from the Syrian border and 122 km away from the Lebanese capital Beirut. Its altitude is 1400-2000 m above sea level. The land, 36000 hectares (360 km²), is divided into a vast eastern region (an arid area), the valleys which surround the town, and the mountainous region (Al Jurd). Groundwater is present as well as a river which flows seasonally. The climate is humid in the north and dry desert in the south.

Aarsal has a population of roughly 35,000 of which 24,500 are permanent residents. Their major source of income is from stone quarrying, agriculture, and rearing goats and sheep. Wheat, chickpeas, and barley are cultivated for local consumption. Another common agricultural product in Aarsal is fruits trees especially cherries, apricots, hawthorn, sumac and grapes. Wild pear trees and wild almond trees are also present. Cultivated vegetables include eggplants, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Most production is used locally with some vegetables marketed in Zahleh. The dairy and meat produced are used for consumption in the local area, the Bekaa, and by industries in Chtaura.

 

  • Batloun

Located at an altitude of 1250 m above sea level and covers 5.5 km². Batloun is located 8 kilometres away from the Caza (province) Center in Baakleen. Batloun is rich in groundwater and there is a river that flows in the village. Vegetables and fruits are grown for local consumption and distributed in the markets of Sidon. The most cultivated fruit trees are apple, peach, cherry, figs, almonds and grapes.  Only small animals are raised for household consumption.

Batloun’s official population is 4500, of which 80% are residents. The main sources of income are from agriculture, governmental jobs, local trade and industries. Cultural and social events take place in the Batloun Cultural Club. As for medical care, there are 4 clinics and 2 pharmacies in Batloun. The village is however in close proximity to the Ain Wa Zein hospital managed by a Druze charity organization and caters for the inhabitants of the surrounding villages, including Batloun.

 

  • Kwakh

Located in the Bekaa, 8 kilometres away from Hermel, 12 km away from the Syrian border and 151 km away from the capital Beirut. Kwakh’s altitude is 650 m above sea level. With a land area of 10 hectares (0.1 km²), the population is 3000 but just 20% remain as residents in this remote village. 

The climate in Kwakh is moderate to semiarid. The most widespread agricultural production is wheat which is used for local consumption and cattle feeding. The fruit trees cultivated in this village are olive trees and almond trees.  A major portion of the land is used as forage pastures. Most of the families depend on raising animals for a living. Sheep, cows, and goats are herded to graze from the land.

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