Shouf Biosphere Reserve
- NATURE & ECOTOURISM
- nature reserve
Ain Zhalta, Chouf district
Government legislation Law No. 532 of 24 July 1996 declared “The communal lands of Niha, Jba’a, Mrousti, Khraibe, Maasser, Barouk, Bmohreh, Ain Dara, Ain Zhalta villages, in addition to the government owned lands on the eastern side of Barouk Mountain” a Nature Reserve.
In July 2005, UNESCO declared it a “Biosphere Reserve” called the Shouf Biosphere Reserve (SBR) with an area of approximately 50,000 hectares – or 5% of the total area of Lebanon. It includes in addition to the Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve, the 22 surrounding villages and the Ammiq Wetland, a Ramsar site and one of the last remaining wetlands in the Middle East.
It is under the authority of the Lebanese Ministry of Environment (MOE), which manages it through the Appointed Protected Area Committee (APAC) that includes, among its members, the Al-Shouf Cedar Society (ACS), the mayors of the larger villages, and independent environment experts.
The Shouf Biosphere Reserve is home to 1,054 identified plant species distributed over 111 families. They include 25 internationally and nationally threatened species, 48 endemic to Lebanon (Lebanon/Syria/Turkey), 14 rare species, and 214 restricted to the Eastern Mediterranean/Middle East area.
Cycling, Snowshoeing, Guided Tours