American Univesity of Beirut

 Seeds of Hope

Our reforestation journey started back in 2003 with the rising question about the native trees of Lebanon. After doing field visits for more than 3 consecutive years, with the collection of seeds and taking pictures of the trees in the different seasons, the results were creating a book ‘Trees of Lebanon’. In this book, each tree is described based on its locations in Lebanon, history, illustrations about its different parts, and how to collect their seeds and treat them to obtain seedlings. The following result was the creation of the AUB-NCC nursery in AREC (AUB’s farm in Bekaa) which distributed native tree seedlings for free for the municipalities who wanted to do reforestation in their public lands.

In 2010, after doing a monitoring visit to the villages that planted seedlings, and seeing the low success rate of the seedlings survival due to lack of watering and maintenance from the municipalities, our team thought of engaging locals from the villages in the reforestation. Different community outreach projects were initiated like ‘Ana Shajara’, the concept of ‘Professional forests’, and the ‘Green Exercises’ under the program of ‘Back to Nature’. Viewing the high cost of planting seedlings in Lebanon, and for the sake of sustainability, we’ve been always encouraging people to do reforestation using the direct seeding method, where they collect seeds from forests and plant them in adjacent land. This is why our reforestation project is called the ‘Seeds of Hope’. We believe that reforestation in Lebanon should be about the number of people who are planting and not about the number of trees planted!
 
  • Ana Shajara
This program aims to show that the tree planting process is a community activity that starts with collecting seeds from local native trees, growing them in the village, planting them, and maintaining them. Ana Shajarah program involves school children who adopt trees, plant them, and take care of them in their own homes and lands with the help of families and friends. The purpose of this program is to engage youth and their families in the seasonal planting activities from October till December which is necessary to ensure the survival and protection of the planted trees. Other nature-related activities are also done such as forest clearing, trail rehabilitation, art crafts… A kit is given for municipalities to sustain the Ana Shajra program and monitor the planting season for 2 years.
So far, 4029 school students from most public schools in different villages all over Lebanon.
 
  • ​Professional forests
The reforestation journey happens with the collaboration of professionals and school students from the receiving village. Each professional plant trees with students. An MOU is signed with the municipality for the watering and maintenance of the forest for 2 years. The purpose of this activity is to reconnect school students to nature that surrounds them and to build a relation between them and professionals. So far, 2 professional forests were created:​​
  1. ​Writers forest in Batloun: 27 writers and hundreds of students from a local school.​
  2. Media forest in Werhaniyeh: 24 media figures and 78 students from a local school.
 
  • Direct seeding
Viewing the high cost of planting seedlings in Lebanon, and for the sake of sustainability, we’ve been always encouraging people to do reforestation using the direct seeding method, where they collect seeds from forests and plant them in adjacent land, using our seed-planting rod tool. We gather a group of locals or students from local schools, we plant the seeds and we do one-year monitoring of the survival of the seed, with maintenance and weed clearing.
 
If you’re interested in any of our following activities:
  • ​Preparing a reforestation outing for your school students
  • Setting a professional forest in your village
  • Doing a seed collection and seed planting private event
  • Experiencing our direct seeding reforestation method
Please send us an email on backtonature@aub.edu.lb.
 


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