Since January 2012, the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative has been working closely with native tree nurseries throughout Lebanon to help grow more vigorous tree seedlings that are better suited to survive once planted. The project introduced advanced growing equipment and techniques, including state-of-the-art growing containers, greenhouses and irrigation systems, as well as providing detailed technical procedure and protocol manuals.
LRI project staff and visiting specialists have been providing extension services to nursery managers throughout the year on both technical issues and the strengthening of nursery management.
LRI has assisted nursery managers in forming a professional cooperative of nurseries: the Cooperative of Native Tree Producers of Lebanon (CNTPL), for members to share best practices and promote sustainable reforestation in Lebanon.
With ongoing LRI technical assistance, the 9 nurseries of the CNTPL are yearly growing several hundred thousand native seedlings in accordance with the US Forest Service guidelines. Most of the cooperative seedlings are being planted as part of LRI's outplanting program as well as many active reforestation stakeholders in Lebanon. Early indications are that the survival rates of the vigorous seedlings grown by cooperative nurseries have dramatically increased after being planted in the field.
LRI is as well supporting the CNTPL in empowering and promoting it to become a national reference for seedlings production and reforestation best practices.
Enhancement of the Association for Forests, Development and Conservation (AFDC) Nursery- Andket, started in December 2011.
25,000 seedlings have been produced for outplanting under LRI practices, including pioneering seedling containers, fortified growing media, an advanced fertilization program, an improved irrigation system, and professional technical assistance.
Total production capacity per year: 30,000 seedlings
On November 6-7 a fourth meeting of the Lebanon Native Tree Nursery Network focused on a review of technical improvements, institutional development, and enhanced business practices, with agreement being reached to register the network as a government-approved cooperative.
On the technical level, the below topics were discussed:
- Review of 2012 growing season
- Seed handling in native plant nurseries -- Influence of fertilization and irrigation practices on Cedrus libani, Pinus pinea, and Fraxinus excelsa - Review of practices and Sterilization of Styrofoam and plastic containers between growing seasons - Crop planning session for 2013
On the institutional level, the nursery owners and managers mainly discussed the formation of the next steps for the formation of the Cooperative of Native Tree Producers of Lebanon.