A NEW PILOT PROJECT INITIATED BY THE KBA UNIT IN LEBANON TO ASSESS THE BIODIVERSITY AND IMPROVE ITS MANAGEMENT
The Ras El Metn Hima/KBA area has an overall objective to conserve endemic and endangered wildlife and their habitats, incorporate wildlife conservation as an integral part of sustainable human development and strengthen the institutional capacity of local government agencies and non-governmental organizations.
There KBA UNIT of Lebanon found that there are two essential steps to begin with “understanding the resources (Vegetation, animals, landscapes, cultural and socio-economicvalues) and valuing the resources (What is important, what is most important)” and without which the process wouldn’t be able to advance one more step. The survey and inventory work conducted by locals from local community will provide the scientists with the needed information on the natural heritage of the site and prepare the floor to launch its process too. Based on the survey and inventory, a small monitoring scheme could be initiated after the biodiversity is assessed (phase 2).
During the last year, promising efforts were made in Ras El Metn in order to reach the main objective set by the Hima/KBA: several remedial actions were stepped up and many tools of relevance to conservation were tested.
The objective will be achieved more readily if significant additional actions are implemented. More specifically the Ras El Metn is intended:
to highlight the importance and viability of protection,
to provide a well-documented scientific database of its natural assets,
to provide a well-documented scientific database of its socio-economic and cultural assets,
to assess the biodiversity scientific content of the database,
to establish a baseline for monitoring of key species after the assessment is done, key habitats and progress on activities.
These will inevitably improve the implementation of the conservation measures, enhance the capacities of the research society to handle ecological and socio-economic data and identify future research needs; and promote participatory actions.
We understand that the development of a biodiversity assessment and monitoring study in the Hima/KBA area is a task that increases people’s skills, knowledge and awareness about their natural heritage. It develops the necessary expertise to address challenges, fosters attitudes, motivations, and commitments to make informed decisions and take responsible action. Increased knowledge based on solid scientific data could be a part of an overall strategy to reach key community leaders, like Homat Al-Hima, teachers, school board members, elected officials, business owners, news media, etc., since it can effectively help support outreach goals, and ultimately affect change and motivate action on behalf of biocenoses and their habitats. Preparation of maps and development of databases which inform the management of the Hima/KBA areas on the available key species and habitats and on how, where and when to see them, appreciate them and monitor them is an effective tool of conservation.
The KBA UNIT working with local communities, mainly Homat Al-Hima will certainly focus on the threats facing the valuable components of the biodiversity and develop and implement the measures to mitigate or eliminate their impact.