Land Degradation Neutrality of Mountain Landscapes in Lebanon

Land Degradation Neutrality of Mountain Landscapes in Lebanon


The LDN project seeks land degradation neutrality in mountain lands by rehabilitating degraded land and preventing further degradation.  It will do this initially at the pilot scale to gain the necessary skills and know-how as well as confidence before it can be up scaled and replicated post-project comprehensively.  

Rehabilitation practices will be tested for technical effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and benefits in the agriculture, mountain pastures and forestry sectors, the quarrying sector, and the eco-tourism and outdoor recreation sectors.  Prevention will be achieved through comprehensive land use planning and the monitoring for compliance with set conditions and their enforcement.  

There will be clarification of roles and enhancement of capacities particularly at local government level.  The institutional and regulatory context will be reviewed, updated, and strengthened to prevent new degradation of forests, rangelands, and agricultural lands.  The project will aim for a robust, comprehensive, and appropriate legal framework which will assess biodiversity and key ecosystem goods and services to inform permitting decisions.

Finally, the project will develop new financing mechanisms for SLM/SFM based on international best practice and a knowledge management platform to facilitate sustainability, replication and up-scaling of the new practices leading to land degradation neutrality.


The current land management practices in Lebanon are not sustainable as they continue to erode the country’s natural resource base (soil, water, green cover, and landscape). While traditional practices such as terracing, controlled grazing and forest management have helped protect the land, modern practices have significantly altered the natural and social make-up of the land including perceptions of natural resources. Population growth, the continued loss of arable land and biodiversity, concerns about food security and the expanding infrastructure due to population growth and urban sprawl are major factors impacting land resources and the natural environment. Land degradation has been flagged as a serious environmental problem in Lebanon, resulting in losses estimated at US$132 million yearly. This is bound to be an underestimate due to the incomplete data, and damages and associated costs of environmental degradation are certainly higher. Unsustainable growth is having a heavy toll on Lebanon’s natural resources with losses in forest cover, biodiversity and natural ecosystems, degradation of rangeland and desertification.

Despite recent incipient efforts, there is no systematic practice of sustainable land management in Lebanon, and this is especially so in mountain areas. Little effort has been made for an integrated and holistic approach to achieve land degradation neutrality, whether at the central level or at the local level with the community and particularly with farmer groups. To date, this has prevented the development of an approach to landscape management and regeneration that would maintain / increase agricultural productivity and the continued delivery of multiple benefits from forest and rangeland


Such an approach is impeded at the local level by three main barriers in particular - 1 Weak institutional framework for addressing land degradation; 2 Weak regulatory framework and lack of capacity and experience in applying and promoting sustainable land management practices; 3 Limited models and technologies for sustainable land management and financial barriers for up-scaling. Despite an impressive baseline of activities, efforts remain fragmented, land degradation barriers have not been overcome and mountain lands in Lebanon continue to be subjected to impacts from competing land uses. Without a fresh and comprehensive approach, land use in mountain regions will remain unsustainable.

Major achievements

  • Preparation of a landscape-scale survey of mountain lands and high-country areas in Akkar and Jbeil districts.
  • Development of a socio-economic assessment for the high-country areas in Akkar and Jbeil distrcits
    Ongoing preparation of a GIS platform for the Land Degradation Neutrality of Mountain landscapes in Lebanon (LDN).
  • Preparation of the Sustainable Mountain Tourism Strategy of Lebanon.
  • Preparation of the Sub National Plan for Strategic Forest Management in Akkar and Jbeil areas.

Project outcome

Outcome 1: Degraded Mountain land in selected mountain districts of northern Lebanon identified, rehabilitated, and restored

  • Output 1.1: Landscape-scale survey of mountain lands and high-country areas in Akkar and Jbeil Districts
  • Output 1.2: Degraded forests restored at selected project sites and sustainable forest management applied
  • Output 1.3: Sustainable rangeland management practices for selected sites in high country grasslands
  • Output 1.4: Degraded quarries rehabilitated
  • Output 1.5: Sustainable agricultural practices in degraded farmland in selected sites
  • Output 1.6: Enabling environment established for responsible tourism and minimum impact outdoor recreation 

Outcome 2: Mountain lands managed sustainably to prevent degradation

  • Output 2.1: Improved land use planning through strengthened frameworks and capacity at central and local levels
  • Output 2.2: LDN capacity enhanced and LDN mainstreamed into land use planning and key policies targeting mountain lands
  • Output 2.3: GIS platform established for land use planning and related monitoring

Outcome 3:  Project monitoring and evaluation, communication, knowledge management and financial mechanisms for the dissemination and replication of the results of the project with the aim of achieving land degradation neutrality 

  • Output 3.1: The project is monitored and evaluated on a continuing basis according to the adopted M&E Plan
  • Output 3.2: Communication and Knowledge Management Strategy implemented
  • Output 3.3: Effective sustainable financing mechanisms identified and developed

GESI Component: 

The gender analysis carried out during project formulation has found that patriarchal structures and traditional gender roles persist in Lebanon. Women continue facing discrimination at various levels, and their involvement in certain domains, such as decision-making processes, is restricted. In the agricultural sector, women, and youth count as one of the most vulnerable groups of society – while also being important actors of change. It is also the project’s aim to bring about transformative changes in the norms, cultural values and the roots of gender inequalities and discriminations, for instance through the integration of gender-related issues and opportunities in capacity building and knowledge management activities.

Aiming to benefit 10,000 women overall directly and indirectly, the project will make targeted efforts to ensure that men and women in the selected communities, including particularly vulnerable groups, such as female-headed households, will participate in and benefit from its activities equitably. One entry-point for such gender-responsive action is its work with tourism operators.  Women’s economic participation in Lebanon remains low, but they have been successful in business, and especially their engagement in rural tourism has provided significant opportunities for women’s socio-economic empowerment. The project will further foster women’s engagement in the tourism sector and promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in its other areas of focus such as in forestry and farming. The project’s focus on gatherers of non-timber forest products offers distinct opportunities in this regard as well, given women’s engagement in respective food value chains.

The project will also utilize the positive political developments at the national level regarding gender equality and women’s empowerment, including through cooperation with the newly established Office of the Minister of State for Women’s Affairs (OMSWA).

The project will consider women’s as well as men’s vulnerabilities and needs and experiences and skills as an integral dimension of the implementation process, monitoring and evaluation. This will result in women and men participating and benefitting according to their respective needs and ensures the project avails itself of the whole spectrum of knowledge, skills and expertise required to achieve maximum development results.