General overview

“Ensuring effective management and governance in Sites of Ecological Importance and expanding biodiversity protection in Southern Lebanon” is a project Funded by the European Union and communicated under the title of “Bioconnect

This 45-month project (1st February 2022 – 31st October 2025) is a joint effort between 4 Lebanese Partners: Al Shouf Cedar Society (ACS) , Association for the Development of Rural Capacities (ADR), Association for Community and Environment (ACE), and Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL), that are working together towards enhancing the management and governance of sites of ecological importance as well as creating new Protected Areas and OECMs for broader landscape conservation. These main objectives will be achieved by increasing ecosystem health and socio-economic benefits and abating the main pressures on key biodiversity while supporting local communities.

SPNL’s part in the project

Geographical scope

Four main regions: Coastal South Lebanon, West Bekaa, Mount Lebanon, and the Mountains of South Lebanon. The project will address the following Himas: Qoleileh and Mansouri, Kherbet Qanafar, Ain Zebdeh, Hammana, and Ras Al Matn, and Ebel es-Saqi, respectively.

Strategic aims

Biodiversity conservation – developing and implementing Biodiversity monitoring schemes and protocols for plants, birds, herpetofauna, and mammals to enhance the knowledge of the current biodiversity in the targeted areas. Additionally, a Citizen-sciences protocol will be developed to ensure the sustainability of the research effort. The collected data will fill in to achieve an efficient land-scape connectivity, hence a decreased fragmentation between PAs, as well as better management planning.

Traditional practices empowerment – Under the Hima farm program, this project will ensure technical support for farmers so they can shift to better agriculture practices that are more beneficial for people and nature.

Education and Capacity Building – through SPNL’s Educational programs: SNOW (School with No Walls) for children and Homat Al Hima for youth, this project will ensure the development and delivery of general and focused education and awareness-raising sessions for local communities. This will help raise locals’ knowledge and capacities towards achieving self-sustained Hima sites. Moreover, ecotourism activities will be developed and implemented to increase the eco-touristic value of the targeted areas. This learning journey during this project will be supported by annual Hima Forums, where Hima leaders will be invited to share success stories and explore new skills and concepts.

Climate change mitigation and adaptationSince Climate change is a reality affecting nature and people’s livelihood, a Framework for ecosystem-based climate change mitigation and adaptation for Protected Areas will be developed and communicated with concerned stakeholders. This framework will help increase the resilience of Protected Areas in Lebanon that are facing the effect of Climate change.

Policy making and advocacy – Based on all the outputs and outcomes of this project, municipal decisions will be drafted in collaboration with the municipalities to protect biodiversity and ensure sustainable use of resources. These decisions will tackle different sectors such as Hunting, farming, and fishing.