On November 4, 2018, the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative NGO, under the framework of the Livelihoods in Forestry (LiF) project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), organized a planting day at Al Baraj Reserve near Qaraoun Dam and planted 5,000 native tree seedlings. The planting day was organized in partnership with the Litani River Authority and celebrated the closing of the #لأنن_الحياة (“Because they are life”) national awareness campaign. The campaign started in October 2018 to raise public awareness of the importance of preserving forests and water. Dr. William Butterfield, USAID/Lebanon Economic Growth Office Director, and Dr. Sami Alawieh, Litani River Authority Director, attended the planting day with 2,000 community members and volunteers from across Lebanon.
Dr. Butterfield emphasized United States government commitment to Lebanon rural livelihoods through forestry-related activities, saying, “Today’s planting activity is an opportunity for us all to rededicate our efforts to the eco-tourism sector and to creating lasting links between Lebanese youth and their hometowns. USAID is pleased to assist in planting over 100,000 native tree seedlings this season.”
Dr. Sami Alawieh thanked USAID, the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative NGO, and the volunteers for their efforts to increase forest cover around Qaroun Lake and to contributing to reducing pollution.
Dr. Maya Nehme, Executive Director for the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative NGO, emphasized the importance of public awareness of Lebanon’s environmental issues, saying that such activities encourage everyone to make positive environmental changes locally and nationally.
In addition to the plantings, everyone was introduced to the “Cooperative of Native Tree Producers of Lebanon” through a booth on-site showcase native local tree species.
This activity will contribute to Lebanon’s “40 Million Trees” program.