Relative to the area, Lebanon's reforestation, afforestation, and agricultural activities are high. This also holds true for the costs associated with such agroforestry activities. In a considerable portion of the country, poor degraded soils, dry climates (1/3rd of Lebanon), indiscriminate grazing, and social rejection due to a lack of local participation persist and contribute to the high costs and low tree survival rates. On the other hand, there is a large constituency of civil society and private sector enterprises in the country that are tremendously invested and committed to land restoration and improving agricultural practices. Many reforestation projects in Lebanon are sustained by irrigation which is costly and often leads to conflict as water resources are limited. These stakeholders are in great need of technologies that can improve their agro-forestry activities and further their social, economic, and environmental goals.
AUB-NCC is collaborating with Menaqua Land Restoration to study the performance of Land Life Company's Cocoon Technology in three different locations with varying environmental conditions. We are experimenting if this technology is a solution for saving water, reducing planting costs, expanding the planting season, and improving the survival-rate of trees in agroforestry initiatives across Lebanon and the MENA region. We are doing so with the help of citizen scientists, who are mobilized in the training workshops, planting campaigns and supplementary monitoring. This scientific study under the proposed test-phase project, will act as the foundation to better direct and fundamentally strengthen the relevance, socio-economic response, and scaling up of the Cocoon technology.
- Conduct scientific testing with and for key stakeholders on the capacity of the Cocoon technology to improve agroforestry practices, reduce agro-forestry planting costs, and ultimately build climate-change resilience in Lebanon with recommendations for replication in the MENA region.
- Test the capacity of the Cocoon technology to 1) improve water availability in the root zone of newly planted seedlings, 2) enhance the growth of newly planted seedlings, 3) reduce competition for water by weeds 4) expand the planting season window, and 5) remain applicable in different forest and agricultural species.
Scientific testing will be undertaken across three sites in Lebanon focusing primarily on semi-arid and arid regions that constitute one-third of the lands in Lebanon and serve as representative pilot sites for the MENA region not only in terms of ambient conditions but also in terms of cultural similarity and stakeholder groups. The selected sites include one protected area site (Jabal Moussa Nature Reserve), one public land site undergoing reforestation (Ras Baalbek), and one private orchard currently being planted with fruit trees (Arsal).
Jabal Moussa Location Ras Baalbak Location Arsal Location