Learning, Planning and Monitoring: An informative journey to assess the biodiversity status of our Himas
By Elie El-Haddad – Project Coordinator
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon – SPNL, and under a project funded by CEPF, is working on promoting the Conservation of Biodiversity and Traditional Land-use Practices in the Upper Beirut River Valley IBA/KBA.
Since healthy biodiversity is a keystone for the survival of ecosystems, SPNL’s Research and Conservation team is working on developing and implementing a monitoring protocol, with the consultation of the prominent biodiversity expert and conservationist Richard Porter, to assess the biodiversity status of Himas Hammana and Ras el Maten and help them eventually assess the most convenient future conservation actions.
SPNL Research and Conservation team, along with local community members, participated in a virtual capacity building program on Bird identification and monitoring, led by Richard Porter. In parallel, the team conducted weekly field visits to monitor birds, plants, reptiles and mammals during Spring (April 2021 – June 2021).
Monitoring protocols were developed particularly to suit the two main targeted locations, Himas Hammana and Ras El Maten, while focusing on the priority species of the project: Turtle Dove, Syrian Serin, Greek Tortoise, Lebanese Thin-toed Gecko and Ehrenberg’s Marjoram. The field visits were successful and promising. The Turtle Dove, Syrian Serin and Greek tortoise were recorded multiple times during this Spring, and hopefully the other priority species will be recorded during the upcoming field visits.
The project team will continue to implement the monitoring protocol, under Porter’s supervision, during this summer with some minor modifications up till Autumn, when a raptor counting will take place in collaboration with OSME.