Landscape Connectivity & Community Engagement Key To More Efficient Nature Conservation
By Elie El-Haddad | Research and Conservation Manager | SPNL ANNUAL REPORT 2022
As we develop more protected areas, we must consider how animals will piece them together” – Frances Stewart
Nature has unlimited ways to help us thrive through its diverse ecosystems and different resources, but to ensure that our nature will stay this haven for all living creatures, we need to protect it, and we need to act now!
SPNL and through different projects is working on a big strategical aim, which is promoting the Hima concept as tool to ensure landscape connectivity between existing Protect Areas in Lebanon. Starting with a science-based situation analysis for the natural and socio-economic components, then going to the engagement of the local community members so they can be Homat Al Hima, the main entity to sustain the conservation action within the established Hima sites.
From Mount Lebanon, passing by the Beirut River valley, to the Litany River basin, going through the West Bekaa to arrive to the peak of Mount Hermon, the Hima will be this natural and social bridge, built and maintained by the Hima Leaders from all regions to ensure that nature will always have a safe way to bloom.
This is a long journey, but for sure it’s a very interesting and exciting one. These last couple of years (2021 – 2022) SPNL team, namely the Nature Conservation department has achieved significant milestones towards the realization of the big dream:
A GIS mapping system is being developed to ensure a proper visualization of different layers within the Hima sites all over Lebanon. Land use, Landcover, Soil, Geology, and water bodies, were considered for the development of maps. This will help creating a comprehensive database where different elements could be integrated for a better decision-making.
Biodiversity monitoring protocols for Birds, Plants, Mammals and Herpetofauna are being conducted in different Hima sites for an updated assessment for the ecological health of the targeted sites. This will help establishing efficient management plans as well as prioritizing sites where the establishment of a new Himas could be the key for an improved conservation.
A citizen-science manual for Biodiversity monitoring is being developed to increase the engagement of local community groups in monitoring and conservation activities.
Nature has no boundaries, and the Hima revival has no limits once the community is engaged and on board for a beautiful journey to conserve nature and ensure the needed connections between Protected Areas. This way People and Nature will be thriving together in a greener country.
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