The regeneration and management of woodlands in the Mediterranean needs particular attention: the role of plant cover is essential for mitigating desertification processes.
Reforestation is often limited to a narrow number of species which are easy to grow in nurseries. This practice greatly reduces levels of biodiversity and it is even more worrisome with regards to shrubs and minor hardwood which are the greater part of the Mediterranean woody flora.
Beside cedars and juniper, many other trees of economic and/or of ecological interest are present in Lebanese mountains. Restoring these ecosystems requires the use of dozens of plant species to rebuild strong and resilient ecosystems. Recent international research results highlighted the positive effects of biodiversity.
Unfortunately, there are few nurseries producing Lebanese native species. Learning how to propagate these â€˜newâ€™ plants properly, including those deserving a wider use as drought-tolerant, can be a great challenge as well as a powerful tool to combat desertification and enhance biodiversity.
Jouzour Loubnan took the initiative of creating the LABORATORY FOR SEED GERMINATION AND CONSERVATION (LSCG) dedicated to this purpose.
To date, 200 different Lebanese native species were harvested in the wild according to predefined scientific protocols respecting a minimal number of plants and a minimum distance between contributing plants. Seeds were then cleaned, measured, weighted, dried and stocked at 4Â°C:
â€¢ Germination protocols were defined for 25 different species.
â€¢ More than 200 seedlings, grown in our germination room belonging to Juniperus, Cedrus, Abies, Quercus, were transferred to a nursery in Kfardebian to be used in our future campaigns in this region.
â€¢ More than 150 other seedlings were transferred to APJM (Association pour la Protection de Jabal Moussa) nurseries in accordance with our partnership agreement.
â€¢ Bulbs and rhizomes for more than 10 endemic or endangered species have been collected and stocked for ex-situ conservation as well as for a future botanic garden collection.
Moreover, before each plantation campaign with Cedrus libani trees, genetic tests were performed in the molecular biology laboratory of the Faculty of Science at Saint Joseph University to verify their Lebanese origin.