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The Shouf Biosphere Reserve is the largest in Lebanon, covering some five per cent of the country. This precious ecological heritage is the focus of a new initiative from the not-for-profit association arcenciel (‘rainbow’), training young people in forestry conservation and providing the teaching skills they need to pass on their expertise.
Founded in 1984, the not-for-profit association arcenciel is steering a new initiative to preserve Lebanon’s forests. Twenty young people are trained to become instructors in forestry conservation, enabling them to pass on their skills to other young people in situ. The Shouf Biosphere Reserve – which has enjoyed World Heritage status since 2005 – is the first site to partner this initiative.
arcenciel draws on the expertise of the Environmental Agency of Iceland, which provides the initial training for the scheme. The 20 young participants, aged between 20 and 28, learn how to create footpaths that respect and protect local biodiversity and ensure sustainable forest management (especially fire prevention and pest control). At the outcome of the training programme, which delivers a recognised certificate, participants form a committee dedicated to preserving the country’s forests, with the support of arcenciel.
In 2016, this committee worked with 60 volunteers aged 18 to 28 in the Shouf Biosphere Reserve. The participants were organised into four groups that would ensure the protection of the site through concrete conservation work. Drawn from underprivileged backgrounds, the volunteers reflect Lebanon’s diverse society. The project encourages individuals from a milieu that is not necessarily very concerned with ecology to take part in collective action to preserve this extraordinary site.
The Fondation d’entreprise Hermès is pleased to support this eco-project promoting peace and respect for the environment, as part of the second edition of our H³ programme (Heart – Head – Hand).