Preserving forests, sustaining livelihoods

Posted April 19, 2021

 “Through forest management, we are generating much needed income during the harsh situation while bringing the forests back to life,” expressed Aisha, Manara site supervisor.

In October 2019, more than 120 wildfires ignited simultaneously in Lebanon burning over 1600 Ha of forests and causing significant property damage. Shortly after, Lebanon fell into a spiral of crises that resulted in a sharp increase in unemployment and poverty rates.

To support the most vulnerable in enduring the deteriorating socio-economic situation, UNDP, in partnership with the British Government, initiated an inclusive response to harness the potential of forests as a source of livelihood and short and long-term economic opportunity across 79 towns in Lebanon and help preserve the country’s natural resources.

“Working in the woods has created an opportunity for me to pay my tuition fees and learn about the benefits of forest management on our health and the environment,” said Ahmad Ayoub, 21-year-old chemistry student.

2,069 women, youth and people of all ages are benefitting from the cash-for-work initiative; constructing trails, pruning, or producing low-cost firewood. Contributing to safeguarding the world’s lungs, the intervention also entails implementing sustainable forestry measures to preserve this renewable resource of life and maintain healthy plant development for a healthy ecosystem.

“My work as a farmer stopped due to the situation. I am doing what I'm passionate about again and earning an income to provide my kids with essential needs." - Youssef Ayoub, 46