Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profiles


Lebanon

by
Fady R. Asmar


1.INTRODUCTION
Country Location and Background
Land Area and Land Uses
Farming Sector
Traditional Products

2.SOILS AND TOPOGRAPHY
Topography
Soil Resources

3.CLIMATE AND AGRO-ECOLOGICAL ZONES
General Climatic Conditions
Bio-climatic Zones
Farming Systems in the Natural Regions

4.RUMINANT LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION SYSTEMS
Livestock Numbers
General Situation of the Livestock Production System and Value Chains
Social Status of the Farmers
Sources of Income and Living Standards
Farm Sizes
Milk Production, Marketing and Prices
Milk Handling and Hygiene
Artificial Insemination Services
Veterinary Services
Feeds and Feeding Systems


5.THE PASTURE RESOURCE

6.OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT OF PASTURE RESOURCES
Dairy Production: Problems and Proposed Solutions
Pasture and Fodder Crop Research
Rangelands, Woodlands and Pastures
The Hima, a Traditional Management and Conservation System
Rapid Grazing Assessment around the Al-Shouf Cedar Biosphere
Reserve: An Example to be Followed
Management Options
The Mediterranean Garden

7.RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS AND PERSONNEL

8.REFERENCES

9.CONTACTS


1. INTRODUCTION

Country Location and Background
The Republic of Lebanon, situated on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, covers a total area of 10 452 km2 most of it being mountainous. The Mount-Lebanon and the Anti-Lebanon chains run parallel to the sea, separated from each other by the Bekaa plain (see Figure 1). Lebanon stretches along the east side of the Mediterranean Sea, its length almost three times its width; it narrows from north to south. Lebanon's mountainous terrain, proximity to the sea, and strategic location at a crossroads of the world were decisive factors in shaping its history. The political, economic, and religious movements that either originated in the region or crossed through to leave an imprint upon Lebanese society give form to that history. The soils are new, friable and easily eroded, most of the country being on sloping terrain. Relief, rainfall intensity and runoff contribute to the severe water erosion and soil loss, especially where the vegetation cover is reduced or lost. Lebanon has land boundaries of 454 km (with Israel and Syria) and a coastline of 225 km. Lebanon is densely populated with the bulk of the population living in urban areas. The population in July 2011 was estimated to be 4 143 101 with a growth rate of 0.244% (World Factbook); the population of Beirut, the capital city, was 1.9 M in 2009.

Figure 1. Map of Lebanon

[Click to view full size]

Land Area and Land Uses
Forests and woodlands play an important social role with the rise of ecotourism and environmental concerns. Although uncontrolled urban expansion has destroyed many landscapes, the concern for the social and aesthetic values of the forests is gaining importance. All forests and natural vegetation have been historically subject to very intense human intervention, which explains the absence of primary forests and the great loss and degradation of the mountain coniferous forests, represented by the emblematic Lebanese cedar and the Cilician fir, currently reduced to small relic stands and scattered trees –namely the mountain juniper stands, highly fragmented and isolated from each other. Climate change in the Eastern Mediterranean threatens to exacerbate the effects of maladaptive practices (i.e. overgrazing, overharvesting of wood and Non Wood Forest Products, deforestation, urbanization in forest land, agriculture and pastoral land degradation) and hasten desertification and land degradation. The implications of the combined phenomena of climate change and forest and other wooded lands degradation and loss pose serious threats primarily to Lebanon’s food and water security. Forests, other wooded lands and most of the remaining vegetation formations, have always been used as grazing lands, providing a wide variety of species distributed over the different ecosystems and altitudes.

The inner Bekaa and Hermel valleys and Anti-Lebanon Range suffered the largest deforestation rate between 1963 and 1998 (58%), followed by the Northern coastal region (10%) and the Southern coastal region (4%). On the other hand, forest cover increased in the Mount Lebanon region for the last decades (25%) as forests naturally expanded due to the abandonment of agricultural land, rural land-use practices (including grazing), war or displacement of people The effects of overgrazing in the Hermel and the Anti-Lebanon Chain are shown in Figures 2 & 3.

Figure 2. Overgrazing in the Hermel Figure 3. Overgrazing in the Anti-Lebanon Chain

According to data from the FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA), 2010 [FAO-MOA, 2010], forests [i.e. land with tree crown cover (or equivalent stocking level) of more than 10% and area of more than 0.5 ha; the trees should be able to reach a minimum height of 5 m at maturity in situ] cover 13.2% of the total land area of Lebanon (136,900 ha). An additional 10.2% of land classified as “other wooded land” (OWL) [ i.e. land either with a tree crown cover (or equivalent stocking level) of 5-10% of trees able to reach a height of 5 m at maturity in situ; or a crown cover (or equivalent stocking level) of more than 10% of trees not able to reach a height of 5 m at maturity in situ (e.g. dwarf or stunted trees) and shrub or bush cover] makes a total of 242 900 ha (23.4% of the Lebanese land area) of forests, woodlands and scrub (see Table 1 and Figure 4, below). This makes Lebanon to be one of the most forested countries by total percentage in the Middle East.

Table 1. Land Use Classes in Lebanon (FAO-MOA, 2010)
Land Use Class
Area (ha)
%
Forest 136 900 13.2
Other Wooded Land (OWL) 106 000 10.2
Other Land (OL) 780 100 75
...Of which with tree cover (114 000) (11)
Inland water bodies 17 000 1.6
Total 1 040 000 100

 

Figure 4. Land Use Classes in Lebanaon (FAO-MOA, 2010)

The land use class called “other lands with trees” covers the following land uses:

  • Grassland: In Northern Bekaa, Anti-Lebanon and above the tree line (2 000 m)
  • Human settlements (urban and agriculture)
  • Important share of artificial area
    Barren land: Karst formations, cliffs, eroded soils…
  • Woodlots (7 100 ha): tree groves (<0.5 ha) in urban and agricultural areas and riparian formations; urban trees

Although Lebanon is the most forested country in the region, several increasing impacts - mainly forest fires and urbanization, persistent maladaptive management practices (overgrazing and under-grazing, and irrational wood collection), and lack of sustainable forest and range management plans, suggest that Lebanese natural vegetation is nowadays being degraded, fragmented and is less resilient to global changes or combined environmental and human-induced disturbances. This is mainly reflected by the quality and quantity of products and services (including grazing) provided by the different ecosystems.


The different types of land use classes related to the agricultural sector and that could be used for grazing, either as free range, forage crops or on agricultural residues is indicated in Table 2 below:

Table 2. Land Use (Agricultural Census; FAO, 2010)
Type
Area (ha)
Utilized Agricultural Area (UAA)
214 380
Arable Lands
144 200
Agricultural Irrigated Land
114 820
Land covered with greenhouses
3 580
Land under annual crops
110 620
Land under permanent crops
114 750
Temporary fallow land (1 to 5 years) within holdings
11 382
Abandoned land (> 5 years) within holdings
40 280
Non agricultural land within holdings
15 540
Non productive lands
275 086

Woodland ownership in Lebanon is almost equally distributed between the private sector, the public sector and the religious communities, under several tenure systems. However, cadastre is not always updated and surface areas and boundaries are not always clearly set. The different land tenure systems are the following:

  • The Waqf: are usually lands owned by religious communities or by extended families. They are managed by individuals assigned by the group of owners or by the community.
  • The Macha’a: are communal lands owned by a municipality and managed by the municipal council.
  • The Amiri: are lands owned by the state, normally managed by the Ministry of Agriculture, but sometimes their management is referred to the communities.
  • The Mulk: are private lands, owned by individuals.

The users of forest areas may not be the owners. Rentals, usufructs, customs and agreements are used to regulate this system. Forest workers, private rural companies or shepherds may be allowed to use the space under these usage systems.

The distribution of land ownership among different groups (see Table 3), according to FAO-MOA (2005) is as follows (the lands owned by the religious communities are included in the private group):

Table 3. Distribution of Forest and OWL Ownership (Source: FAO-MOA, 2005)
Land Ownership
Forest (ha)
OWL (ha)
Private
82 418
84 884
Public
52 671
14 642
     State
37 388
     Municipality
13 646
     Communes
1 637
Unknown
1 811
6 474
TOTAL
136 900
106 000

Farming Sector
Lebanon is a major food importer. Fruits, vegetables and poultry production exceed the local market consumption and could contribute to increasing exports. However, the opening of the Arab markets and the free trade agreements in place will certainly affect this production, by allowing the import of cheaper fruits and vegetables from neighbouring countries. Farmers in rural areas need capacity-building to improve their farming methods thus increasing their productivity and competiveness. This would also contribute to the development of a more environmental friendly agricultural sector. In 2002, agriculture in Lebanon represented 6% of the GDP, and 7% of the active population, while in 1970 its contribution to the GDP was around 9% with 19% of the active population. Agricultural production has decreased by 12% between 1970 and 2008. This is mainly due to the effects of the post-war (1975-1990) economical crisis, and to the economical policies favouring the tertiary sector (services) over the primary and secondary sectors. It is important to note that one of the current objectives of the Ministry of Agriculture is to increase the contribution of the agricultural sector to the GDP to at least 8%.

The natural advantages of the country in terms of water resources, number of sunny days, geomorphology and climate diversity would allow the development of the agricultural sector, if other socio-economic and geo-political constraints are overcome. Value chains are not properly managed, production is inferior to consumption, and imports mainly from neighbouring countries are significant. Different agricultural censuses undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO have shown the importance of multi-activity (see Figure 5) in rural areas (with the exception of the Bekaa Valley and the Akkar Plains). At the household level, agriculture is mainly a part time activity, complementing other production, or service activities. Commercial agriculture is not very frequent, and when it occurs it must be complemented by other economical inputs.

The average size of holdings is small (see Figure 6), reflecting the structure of this activity and the dispersal of the farms. Fragmentation and small sizes of holdings are characteristic of the mountains and the South. The sizes are a little larger in the Bekaa and the coastal plains. Only 5% of holdings are larger than 4 ha, with 49% of the total Utilized Agricultural Area (UAA), while 30% of the UAA are larger than 10 ha and concentrated in the Bekaa. The legal status and land tenures of the holdings are distributed as follows:

  • 92% of agricultural holders are single holdings operating their lands individually
  • 7% of agricultural holders are operating their lands in a partnership with others
  • 1% other legal statuses
  • 83% of holders own their lands (corresponding to 68% of total UAA)
  • 8% of holders are still in a transitory (heritage) process (corresponding to 7% of total UAA)
  • 6% lands are operated through rental (corresponding to 18% of total UAA)
  • 3% other ways (in kind, …) (corresponding to 5% of total UAA)
Figure 5. Multi-activity of agricultural holdings Figure 6. Average size of holdings
Source: Agricultural Census (FAO, 1999)

Traditional Products
Milk is usually consumed fresh, or processed into cheeses and yogurt (Figures 7-10). Some traditional dairy products are available either directly at the farms or in markets and supermarkets. Many low income rural families rely on livestock for food security, nutritional and economic status (FAO-MOA, 2005c ). Traditional dairy products, particularly the “laban” (yogurt) and “labneh” (strained yogurt) from goats and cows are the most popular protein sources in the Lebanese culinary habits; they accompany daily food, providing high quality dietary protein for people, mainly for children and women, and the elderly. Different types of cheese are also produced from cow, goat and sheep milk.

Figure 7. Goat Labneh preserved in olive oil

Figure 8. "Baladi" goat cheese
Figure 9. Traditional cheese with herbs

Figure 10. Labneh production (straining of yogurt)

(Source: Les filières lait et viande de ruminants au Liban – Conte-rendu d’études – Institut de l’Elevage – Confédération nationale de l’Elevage)

Some farmers still process the milk into cheese and labneh and keep them to strain and mature in the animal skin (Ambriss and Dharfyieh Cheese) following a traditional ancestral technique. The end product, with a very pungent yet highly appreciated goaty taste, is sometimes conserved in olive oil for a longer shelf-life. These products are only sold at the farms and are produced in relatively small quantities. The traditional goat cheese, also called “green cheese” (Jebneh Khadra) or “Baladi Cheese”, is processed with raw milk. Although the end product is exquisite, it is very risky because of all the diseases linked to raw milk and the artisanal use of rennin. Keshek is a powder made from yogurt and burghul (crushed wheat) which requires a long and laborious preparation. It requires days and days of rubbing and sun drying until the dough is transformed into an off-white powder. It is used in several culinary preparations, in soups, stews, pies… the best Keshek was made with goat milk and the local wheat variety, Salamouneh. Goat Keshek is now very rare to find as it is usually mixed with ewe or cow milk that give it a milder and less pungent taste than the goat yogurt alone. It is even harder to find Keshek made with Salamouneh wheat, as this variety is almost no longer planted because of its low productivity, and despite its resistance to drought and diseases.

Sheep and goat meat are consumed raw in many dishes of the Lebanese cuisine, to the extent that it is almost impossible to imagine a Lebanese Mezze without the raw Kebbeh (ground meat with burghul), and the raw liver.


2.SOILS AND TOPOGRAPHY
Topography
Lebanon has a complex geomorphology with a narrow coastal strip bordered by steep hills and mountains and is characterized by the abrupt change in elevation within a distance of less than 20 km between sea level and 1 750 m above mean sea level (amsl) and by the presence of two mountain chains (Figure 11). The highest peaks of the western mountain chain "Mount Lebanon” reach 3 088 m amsl. The "Anti-Lebanon" mountain chain borders Syria and slightly exceeds 2 800 m amsl. Accordingly, Lebanon can be divided into four topographic components (as per the map of the “Schéma Directeur d’Aménagement du Territoir Libanais”, undertaken by the Counsel for Development and Reconstruction (CDR, 2004) :

  • The level coastal plain, parallel to the sea; reaching a maximum of 9 km in the Akkar Plain in the north, a minimum of 1 km near Nakoura in the South and nil in Chekka and Jounieh where the mountain dips directly into the sea. These level lands have a slope gradient ranging between 0 and 8% and are used mainly for citrus and bananas with frequent urban sprawl.
  • The "Mount Lebanon" chain stretching from North to South with the Kornet Es-Saouda (3 088 m) as the highest crest in the country located near the Cedar area and covered by snow between November and September. The area is mainly sloping and steep lands with a slope gradient ranging between 15 and 45% and 45 and 90% respectively. Terraces and forest alleviate the visual effect of eroded lands and abandoned quarries.
  • The Bekaa Valley reaching 900 m in its western and central parts and less than 600 m in the north-east. The level lands with a slope gradient ranging between 0 and 8% reach a width of between 5 and 20 km, with dominant agricultural activities and the possibility for mechanization despite the uncontrolled urban expansion on productive lands.
  • The "Anti-Lebanon" mountain chain in the east runs along the Syrian border which has a lower elevation than "Mount Lebanon." In the south-east, the Hermon (Haramon) summit rises above the south Bekaa and the Syrian Golan and reaches an altitude of 2 820 m. These mountains are extremely eroded with frequent rock outcrops and soil accumulation in shallow deposits.
Figure 11. Digital elevation (relief) model of Lebanon (Source: CDR, 2004).

The figure below (Figure 12) is a cross-section of Lebanon showing the Mount-Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountain chains, separated by the Bekaa plain; it also shows the different geological features and major faults.

Figure 12. A cross-section of Lebanon
[Source: Walley (1998). Also available at: http://ddc.aub.edu.lb/projects/geology/geology-of-lebanon]
Legend:
• Jurassic (J): Highly fissured and karstified dolomitic limestone and limestone, intervening with some volcanic and tuff.
• Cretaceous: A sequence of karstified and fissured limestone and dolomite, marly and chalky limestone, with clastic rocks at the base of the succession.
• Major fault

Soil Resources
The relatively deep Inceptisols and shallow Entisols or Cambisols and Leptisols occupy the Lebanese mountain landscape in association with rock lands and other very shallow soils (Figure 13). This landscape is hilly to mountainous with limestone as the dominant rock type. Terraced land (Terric Anthrosols) is mainly used for fruit trees. These soils are distributed among the marginal lands with eroded Lithic Leptosols, which are used for grazing. With historical deforestation, urban encroachment and animal pressure, erosion is normally serious, notably along the sloping lands of both east and west mountain chains, so these soils are truncated, young and undeveloped with gravel common on the soil surface.

Figure 13. Simplified soil map of Lebanon (Source: Darwish, 1999)

On less steep areas, Xeralfs (Luvisols) are the classical mature red Mediterranean soils formed on limestone or other basic rocks. They occupy about 52% of zones with xeric soil moisture regimes. They are in general decarbonated, rich in iron oxides (Haematite, Goetite), with neutral to slightly acid pH, and high clay (from 30 to 50 %) content. These soils have a strong surface structure, with a medium gravel content, compacted subsoil, thus with a moderate infiltration rate (2.0-6.0 cm.h-1).

On level lands (plains, valley floors, foot-slopes) Fluvisols and Vertisols develop from quaternary alluvial and colluvial sediments. The soils are slightly calcareous and non calcareous, with neutral pH, have strong structure and very fine texture with high clay and organic matter content. They have no salinity hazards and possess a high CEC value. Vertic soil types are prone to swelling and shrinking upon drying-wetting which can cause problems to plant root systems due to soil physical properties. Thus, when cultivated they must have special attention to irrigation schedules (Darwish & Zurayk, 1997).


3. CLIMATE AND AGRO-ECOLOGICAL ZONES
General Climatic Conditions

Lebanon’s climatic conditions are determined by its geography and physiography. They vary from a Mediterranean climate along the coastal plain and in the middle mountain range, to reach sub-alpine or mountain Mediterranean climates on the highest slopes, covered by snow during most of the year; it becomes sub-desertic and almost too dry for agriculture in some of the northern plains. As in most countries with a Mediterranean climate, the majority of precipitation falls between November and March, in the form of heavy showers. The mean annual rainfall on the coast ranges between 700 and 1 000 mm. It peaks in the central mountains at 1 600 mm, ranges in the Beta plain from 200 mm in the north-eastern part to 800 mm in the southern part, while on the Anti-Lebanon chain it ranges from 600 mm to 1 000 mm in the Harmon.

Bio-climatic Zones
Lebanon has very rich biological diversity, which is the result of a number of factors (i.e. palaeo-history; high geomorphological and climate diversity; mountain isolation as a key component of speciation; the country’s location at the cross-road between continents and bio-geographic regions; the intense human practices over centuries). Despite the degradation of the vegetation cover caused by human activities, Lebanon is still regarded as very diverse, sheltering an estimated 4,200 species, the result, as mentioned, of the physiography of the landscape and the country’s location at the crossroad between continents.

The Mediterranean Mountains in their seaward aspects can be differentiated by their altitude into the Thermo-Mediterranean, Eu-Mediterranean, Supra-Mediterranean, Mountainous Mediterranean and Oro-Mediterranean zones. A belt of evergreen maquis and garrigue characterizes the former, while the later are respectively covered by summer-green forests and dwarf thorny vegetation characterizing the alpine and sub-alpine zones. The Thermo-Mediterranean zone, between 0 - 500 m altitude, comprises, at sea level, a coastal strip which once had two plant communities currently severely degraded. Plant community degradation is also shown in the upper vegetation characterized by an evergreen garrigue. In this zone Ceratonia siliqua, Pistacia lentiscus and Pistacia palaestina trees grow along with their accompanying flora. At altitudes ranging from 500 to 1 000 m, lies the Eu-Mediterranean zone, mainly covered by maquis dominated by Quercus calliprinos and Pistacia palaestina. Additionally, Pine forests (Pinus pinea and Pinus brutia) are found in these areas together with associated species to the oak maquis like Cercis siliquastrum, and Styrax officinalis. The Supra-Mediterranean zone (1 000 -1 500 m) situated above the evergreen vegetation is characterized by a deciduous forest. In this zone, the vegetation cover is denser as the population density is lower and major human settlements are more recent. At present, this zone is occupied by Quercus calliprinos and Q.infectoria, Pinus brutia and P.pinea. A higher zone of coniferous forest, ranging from 1 500 - 2 000 m altitude, usually replaces the zone of the summer-green forest. This mountainous Mediterranean zone harbours relic formations of Cedrus libani, Abies cilicica and Juniperus excelsa. Plant communities encountered comprise Quercus cedrorum, Q. calliprinnos, Ostrya carpinifolia, Sorbus flabellifolia, Malus trilobata, Prunus ursina and Pyrus syriaca.

In the high summits dominating the Mount Lebanon chain, lie the Oro-Mediterranean zones where the leading plant community is xerophytic vegetation comprising a formation of cushion-like dwarf thorn shrubs and Juniperus excelsa, the only tree present at this altitude. In these alpine uplands, a high endemism level is marked as the result of the isolation effect.

The Eastern Mount Lebanon foothills are steppic and desiccated. They are either covered by a heavily degraded garrigue or barren, and the sub-desertic soils support a poor, overgrazed rangeland. The pre-steppic vegetation zone between 1 000 and 1 500 m is mainly composed of heavily grazed forestlands of Q. calliprinos. In the Supra-Mediterranean zone, Q. calliprinos and Q. infectoria are found. Then follows sparse Juniperus excelsa stands, which extend to higher altitude and figures as sporadic trees mixed with dwarf thorny shrubs. However, the dominant formation on these slopes is a degraded garrigue used for grazing. On the Western slopes of the Anti-Lebanon chain, the pre-steppe vegetation is similar to the one present on the eastern slopes of the Mount Lebanon chain.

Farming Systems in the Natural Regions
According to Agricultural Census undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO, in 1999 and in 2010 (FAO, 1999; 2010) agriculture and farming systems vary with the different natural regions as per the following:

  • The coastal zones, generally narrow, have mainly fruit orchards (citrus, bananas, tropical fruits…) and greenhouses. Animal husbandry is almost non-existent.
  • The western slopes of the Mount Lebanon chain, with terraces, where subsistence agriculture is dominant, often with a few cows. Small ruminant herding is very important in the North, either on a sedentary or on a semi-nomadic basis. Modern dairies are starting to expand. It is in these regions (mainly in the Akkar) that the bulk of the herds are found.
  • The dry hills of the South which connect the Mount Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon chains, and where the 15-year Israeli occupation and the mine-fields hinder the development of the agricultural sector. However, some holdings are able to survive, mainly with goat herds.
  • The central and south-western parts of the Bekaa, mainly with large dairy farms, and smaller holdings of mixed dairy cows and sheep herds.
  • The Northern Bekaa (Baalbek and Hermel) is characterized by its aridity and the high percentage of un-cultivated lands. This is where small ruminants are concentrated, with sedentary, semi-nomadic and nomadic herding systems.
  • The Anti-Lebanon chain is a very arid mountain zone with a dominance of agro-pastoral practices with mixed herds of goats and sheep. The zone particularly suffers from severe degradation and desertification and a depletion of resources.

Irrigation is very unequally distributed over the country, with 41.9% of the UAA as an average. The central and northern Bekaa (in the region of the Orontes River), the coastal plains of the North and the South and the fruit orchard zones rich in springs in the mountains are different from the other agricultural zones which are characterized by rainfed agriculture. The irrigation networks were severely affected during the different war episodes and not fully rehabilitated. Irrigation networks from the Litani River, planned for the South were stopped after further troubles in 2006.

The regional agricultural specialties shown below (Figures 14-17) underline the territorial specificities and the broad range of potential products and crops. The agriculture along the coastal zone is mainly intensive with citrus orchards, tropical fruits and horticultural crops. Greenhouse production is intensive around and within the cities, waiting to be converted into towers and urban centres (Verdeil et al., 2007).

Figure 14. Large Agricultural Exploitations Figure 15. Irrigated Crops

 

Figure 16. Tree Crops (a,b,c,d) Source: Agricultural Census, 1999 (FAO, 1999)

 

Figure 17. Field (a) and Intensive (b) Crops Source : Agricultural Census, 1999 (FAO, 1999)

The Bekaa plain offers large areas of arable lands planted mainly with cereals and sugar beet. Grape growing is very important in the central Bekaa, thanks to the contribution of large investments and the application of modern production, transformation and marketing techniques allowing the development of an important wine industry. Olive production is very important in Koura, in South Lebanon and in Hasbaya. While apricots are one of the main specialties of northern Bekaa; fruit trees (apples, cherries, peaches) are concentrated on the western slopes of the Mount-Lebanon chain.

Animal production is mainly concerned with ovines and caprines. Sheep production is mainly concentrated in the Bekaa, historical birth place of the local “Awassi” breed. Goats are found almost everywhere, feeding in the woodlands and high altitude formations. Ovine production is not well developed, although some investors are trying to put a milk value-chain into operation.

The preliminary data of the Core Module of the Agricultural Census 2010 (FAO, 2010) provided by the “Lebanese Observatory for Agricultural Development Project”, based on the assessment undertaken during 2010 and on the land-use land cover map of 2005, have shown the following figures (and see Figures 18 and 19):

  • To date, the number of Agricultural Holdings is 157 115 distributed as follows:
    - 20% Bekaa
    - 31% North Lebanon
    - 19% Mount Lebanon
    - 16% Nabatiye
    - 14% South
    • The thresholds for considering an agricultural holding are as follows: > 1000 m2 for irrigated and non irrigated lands; > 400 m2 for greenhouses; 1 cow; 7-8 goats
    • The total Utilized Agricultural Area is 214 380 ha with 157 115 exploitations. The average farm size is therefore: 1.36 ha
    • The Utilized Agricultural Area (214 820 ha) is distributed as follows:
    - 46% Bekaa
    - 23% North Lebanon
    - 12% Nabatiye
    - 11% South
    - 8% Mount Lebanon (not yet finalized)
    • Fallow and abandoned lands, along with some forests and other wooded lands are often used for grazing, mainly for goats and sheep.

Areas of various crops are shown in Table 4 and production in Table 5.

Figure 18. Distribution of Temporary Fallow land by Mohafaza (Based on the Agricultural Census 2010 – FAO, 2010) Figure 19. Distribution of Abandoned land by Mohafaza (Based on the Agricultural Census 2010 – FAO, 2010)

 

Table 4. Area (ha) under different crops (Source: FAOSTAT)
Crops
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
Wheat
40 000
43 600
43 500
45 808
46 620
49 500
52 900
52 800
49 900
50 000
Barley
8 700
7 000
11 500
13 911
12 590
14 500
15 900
15 750
14 500
16 000
Chick pea
2 600
2 000
2 921
1 989
1 810
1 900
2 030
1 800
1 900
2 000
Maize
900
879
846
930
550
900
1 050
900
900
1 000
Pulses
9 447
8 738
11 165
9 814
8 503
8 839
9 096
8 527
8 913
7 439
Vegetables
28 487
26 632
28 705
27 298
27 301
26 553
26 401
25 737
27 222
27 213
Fruit
70 661
70 981
69 868
71 900
71 571
69 733
70 605
70 800
71 780
73 886
Citrus Fruits
15 205
15 292
15 155
16 426
16 890
16 500
17 113
16 763
16 810
17 091
Root Crops
12 945
11 942
16 940
19 201
19 564
19 738
19 934
20 132
20 136
20 535
Vetches
4 400
4 500
4 400
4 350
4 400
4 574
4 601
4 300
4 496
3 014
Sorghum
900
750
700
600
591
642
691
687
646
645
Sugar Beet
7 027
270
0
0
1 156
1 100
500
430
700
700
Coarse Grain
10 850
8 929
13 296
15 713
13 999
16 333
17 954
17 648
16 338
17 954
Olives
55 646
56 834
57 570
57 564
58 531
58 524
59 100
58 600
56 000
57 000

 

Table 5. Production (tonnes) of different crops (Source: FAOSTAT)
Crops
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
Wheat
108 100
139 500
119 000
116 300
136 800
143 700
153 400
116 200
143 700
153 000
Barley
9 400
81 000
17 100
25 000
23 800
29 000
31 800
33 100
29 000
34 000
Chick pea
2 200
1 900
3 189
1 900
1 500
1 300
1 200
1 400
1 300
1 500
Maize
3 500
3 800
2 744
3 300
3 300
3 400
3 100
3 100
3 400
3 600
Sorghum
1 400
1 200
1 000
1 041
1 180
1 268
1 356
1 097
1 268
1 327
Pulses
13 350
13 050
14 947
16 200
10 802
10 990
10 531
11 535
10 721
11 647
Vegetables
892 000
874 500
856 351
785 800
828 100
805 700
690 200
820 200
839 488
851 138
Fruits
845 600
831 300
814 587
950 000
953 100
924 391
908 100
950 000
949 676
961 297
Citrus Fruits
317 700
316 500
289 363
364 200
395 300
392 000
374 200
392 500
389 000
292 000
Sugar Beet
341 700
15 200
0
0
84 800
79 200
35 000
30 900
37 000
37 000
Coarse Grain
14 700
13 450
21 144
29 653
28 634
34 048
36 662
37 626
34 048
39 436
Olives
189 500
85 800
18 4421
83 200
16 7300
76 500
17 7300
76 200
83 000
83 500

4. RUMINANT LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION SYSTEMS
Livestock Numbers

  • Table 6 shows the total numbers of the different animals raised in Lebanon, according to FAO (FAOSTAT, 2011). Although goat and poultry numbers have increased over the period 2000-2009, there has been little change in the numbers of asses, camels, cattle, horses and mules while the number of sheep has declined.
Table 6. Livestock Population (Source: FAOSTAT)
Item
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
Asses
15 000
15 000
15 000
15 000
15 000
15 000
15 000
15 000
15 000
15 000
Camels
450
440
440
440
440
440
440
440
450
450
Cattle
77 000
78 124
88 216
86182
80 343
76 900
77 000
77 400
76 900
77 000
Goats
417 000
399 183
408 933
428 035
432 158
494 700
484 400
434 700
450 000
450 000
Horses
3 580
3 580
3 580
3 580
3 580
3 580
3 580
3 580
3 580
3 580
Mules
4 780
4 780
4 780
4 780
4 780
4 780
4 780
4 780
5 000
5 000
Sheep
354 000
328 579
297 829
302 513
305 360
337 300
370 400
324 400
330 000
330 000
Poultry (,000)
31 000
32 000
33 000
34 000
37 500
35 500
36 000
36 700
37 000
37 500

According to the preliminary data of the Agricultural Census 2010 (FAO, 2010) based on the assessment undertaken during 2010 and on the land-use land cover map of 2005, the main species raised for livestock production are goats, sheep and cattle (both for milk and meat), distributed as follows:

  • Cattle (see Figures 20 and 21)
    - Average of 5 heads/holding
    - Of which 43% pure breed
    - Number of dairy cows: 63% of total herd
    • Sheep (see Figure 22)
    - Average of 62 heads/holding
    - Number of ewes (milking): 63% of total herd. Breed: mainly “Awassi”
    • Goats (see Figures 23a & b)
    - Average of 66 heads/holdings
    - Number of females: 61% of total herd. Breeds: Mainly “Shami” (or Damascus goat) and “Baladi” or “Jabali” (local goat), with their cross-breeds.
Figure 20. A modern large scale dairy farm [Source: Les filières lait et viande de ruminants au Liban – Conte-rendu d’études – Institut de l’Elevage – Confédération nationale de l’Elevage] Figure 21. A small scale dairy barn [Source: Les filières lait et viande de ruminants au Liban – Conte-rendu d’études – Institut de l’Elevage – Confédération nationale de l’Elevage] Figure 22. Awassi sheep in a field of forage crops [Source: Les filières lait et viande de ruminants au Liban – Conte-rendu d’études – Institut de l’Elevage – Confédération nationale de l’Elevage]
Figure 23a. Baladi goats Figure 23b. Baladi goats  
 

It should be noted that the production of ruminants is secondary in Lebanese agriculture, with less than one agricultural holding in 8 being involved in animal husbandry. Cattle are mainly raised for milk production with the majority of the stock in large farms of the Holstein breed. The rest consists of smallholders with a few (4-5) head of local (Baladi) breeds, Baladi Friesian crossbreds, or even Holstein. However, it seems that the Baladi breed is gradually being replaced by exotic and more productive breeds. Sheep and goats have always been an integral part of the rural mosaic in Lebanon. Sheep are mainly of the regional Awassi breed with local characteristics, and goats are mainly of the local Baladi breed, and the Damascus or Shami breed. Both sheep and goats are managed under nomadic and semi-nomadic systems, feeding on native pastures, woodland species and crop residues. They are distributed all over Lebanon (Figure 24) with a high concentration in the Bekaa Valley. The economic and heritage importance of these breeds, both at the community and national levels contribute to their conservation, and reduce the risk of losing them through breeding or replacement programs. The wild goat that used to roam in the Lebanese mountains has disappeared and is thought to be extinct.

Changes in land use practices, the shifting from rural to urban livelihoods and the severe fragmentation that the woodlands, rangelands and pasture lands are witnessing because of the urban sprawl, has seen herds (goats and sheep) decrease in number and pastoralism is no longer an important part of the rural mosaic. In some parts of the country, mismanagement practices and overgrazing have lead to the deterioration of the pastures and woodlands. In other parts, mainly in Mount-Lebanon, the severe reduction in the size of the herds and the abandonment of pastoralism have led to a closing of the landscape, an increase in the biomass and consequently an increase in the intensity and frequency of forest fires.

Figure 24. Livestock distribution
Source: Agricultural Census, 1999 (FAO, 1999)

General Situation of the Livestock Production System and Value Chains
With less than one holding in eight involved, livestock production remains secondary in Lebanese agriculture. In 2003, dairy cattle, sheep and goat milk production represented 7.2% of the total value of the agricultural production; while the meat production did not exceed 3.9%. Despite this production being secondary, it remains very important, mainly when it comes to goats and sheep largely because of their strong ability to utilize pasture and fallow lands within the holdings or at the landscape level.

Although the production of milk and meat is relatively low, the demand on such products and their by-products remains very high. In 2001-2003, this demand was mainly met by the import of:

  • More than 90% of the demand for bovine meat
  • More than 80% of the demand for ovine meat
  • More than 63% of the milk and dairy products consumed in Lebanon

The local production of sheep and goat meat suits the requirements of the traditional Lebanese diet. However, despite the important contribution to the Lebanese diet and cuisine, the demand on sheep and goat meat has been decreasing during the past few decades, mainly because of the development of malls and supermarkets and the availability of cheaper imported meat. The demand has witnessed a slight increase again (particularly for goat meat) after the global crisis related to the mad cow disease and the new trends in food habits favouring local and organic products.

Some large investments have been put into the dairy products value chain level. Some are private, with several new dairy plants delivering fresh and UHT milk to the Lebanese market. Other investments are public, mainly through the IFAD project (now phased out) on the rehabilitation of the small livestock producers in the Bekaa. After the troubles in 2006, the dairy sector has suffered important losses, but the private sector has managed to recover and rehabilitate the affected plants; FAO is bringing substantive support to the livestock production sector through assistance projects. In addition to the integrated circuits, milk is commercialized through three main channels: independent milk-men (the hallabas), milk-men appointed by the dairy plants and collection centres, both public, currently facing financial and technical problems while private plants are functioning well.

The dairy sector is composed of many semi-artisanal plants which do not have good control over milk quality and have a low innovation capacity in terms of cheese and dairy products. In order to access the large distribution centres, plants should be able to provide a standard quality over the year, with a standard taste and bacteriological qualities. This requires large investments that small producers cannot afford, and leads to a limited distribution of the traditional “terroir” products or regional specialties.

Cattle meat production remains very limited, with livestock imported from different countries (mainly EU) and slaughtered in Lebanon. Such production provided around 60% of the bovine meat in 2002. High quality meat is mainly imported chilled or frozen. Some low quality meat is also imported and sold at very low prices. It seems that the production of meat and milk from small ruminants is decreasing in parallel with the decrease of the size of herds:

  • The number of sheep has decreased from 378,050 head in 1999 to 302,513 in 2003, to an estimated 330,00 in 2009 (although the 2010 Agricultural Census suggests that numbers may be even lower at 236,400 in 2010) – see Table 6 sheep numbers for 2009);
  • The number of goats decreased from 435,965 in 1999 to 399,183 in 2001 but then increased again and reached 428,035 head in 2003, and possibly 450,000 in 2009 according to FAO (although numbers may be lower as the 2010 Agricultural Census suggests that 2010 numbers were lower at 367,400).

The production of sheep meat and milk suffers from competition from imported meat from Australia, Turkey and Syria. The artisanal production of sheep milk not being constant over the year, the dairy and cheese factories have to depend on other sources to maintain their output. Goat production seems to be suffering as well, although the demand for goat meat and milk products remains large and some 10,000 families have this production as their major source of income. This is mainly due to the following:

  • The price of the milk has decreased;
  • The rangelands, pastures and woodlands are being degraded and fragmented thus no longer providing a good source of feed, although this degradation is partially caused by mismanagement of grazing;
  • The mismanagement of grazing in the woodlands has lead some population groups to refuse to allow grazing in their lands and villages; this has lead in turn to an increase in the biomass in the forest and an increase in fires, thus leading to a further degradation of that resource;
  • Goat herders do not have easy access to veterinary services, credit facilities and other means for the development of their herds and the improvement of their products.

Although some NGOs have implemented development projects for the support of goat production, most herders still suffer from the lack of access to services, markets and credits.

The control of zoonotic diseases and hygiene of meat and milk products are not well mastered. Brucellosis is quite frequent with some 13% of the livestock affected in 2002, and a high level of infection of humans. Other sanitary problems are also present and have a serious impact on the livestock population. The “FAO/UNDP Project “Recovery and Rehabilitation of Dairy Sector in Bekaa Valley and Hermel-Akkar Uplands (LRF-OSRO /LEB/901/UNJ)” is a grant from Lebanon Recovery Fund, following hostilities in Lebanon (12th July-14th August 2006). The project started in July 2009 for 24 months, to bring urgent assistance to the dairy sub-sector with emphasis on increasing milk production and hygiene, income generation from dairy farms and improving livelihood standards, especially for the poor small dairy farmers. Although the project was initially formulated to provide assistance to farmers in the Bekaa, Hermel and Akkar, its range was later extended to cover all needy farmers in the Bekaa and the North. In its current setting (see progress report for the period 1 June 2010 to 27 February 2011 <mdtf.undp.org/document/download/5814>), the project focuses primarily on supporting small scale dairy producers and primary milk collection and milk hygiene at farm and village levels, with a particular attention on practical training programs and capacity building of farmers, through the following activities:

  • Implementing an extensive training program with sessions and demonstrations;
  • Providing the necessary support for artificial insemination and veterinary services;
  • Supporting milk collection and marketing by setting-up primary milk collection centres at village levels through the implementation of Village Dairy Producers Associations (VDPAs) and the provision of milk cooling tanks;
  • Providing the necessary support for the improvement of milk hygiene, through the provision of small equipment;
  • Empowerment of small dairy producers and VDPAs in milk collection and marketing through reviving the milk collection centres previously implemented by the MOA and linking them to the primary milk collection network created under the project at the village level.

The project conducted extensive field surveys through individual visits to 2 131 farmers distributed in 257 villages from the Southern mountainous zones of Western Bekaa and Rashaya to the Northern Akkar along the Syrian borders, and representing almost 2/3 of the total surface of Lebanon. The objective of the surveys was to gather an accurate and realistic database of producers and their livelihood conditions in order to design appropriate activities according to their needs and priorities. As this survey was very comprehensive and has covered a representative portion of the livestock holdings in the country, it is used in this study to provide the characteristics of the different production systems (cows, sheep and goat), the strength and weaknesses, the needs and the priority interventions to put in place:

Social Status of the Farmers
In the dairy cattle small production system, women represent some 15% of the total number of farmers. The different studies undertaken at national level show that the young generation is no longer interested in the dairy or agriculture business; dairy farmers aged less than 40 years represent only 28% and 25% of dairy farmers have large families with more than 8 dependents. The large holdings requiring important investments, the social status of their owners is by far different and not comparable by any means to that of the small holdings, except when it comes to the workers within these large farms.

All the sheep and/or goat farmers in the regions surveyed are transhumant, sharing their time between high mountain zones in spring and summer (from April-May till October-November) looking for good quality pastures. The nomadic system allows the children to join schools during winter, when the families move the herds to lower altitudes. During the spring and summer, at the end of the school years, sons and daughters help their parents in the different tasks related to their herds and small farms. Even teenagers and young adults stay with their families and frequently inherit the job from their parents. The nomadic way of living and the freedom of the wilderness run in the blood and cannot be easily changed into a sedentary way of living. The provision of the bare necessities and a slight improvement in the quality of livelihoods would certainly preserve this family structure and this traditional system.

Sources of Income and Living Standards
Almost 60% of livestock farmers depend on dairy as their main source of living, while 20% depend on dairy with crops as a secondary source of income and 22% depend on dairy and other businesses such as casual daily work, trading, retirement allowances, etc… With the exception of the large, modern dairy farm owners, most dairy farmers (71%) rank as either poor or very poor for their living and livelihood standards. It seems that dairy farming and poverty are directly related mainly in the case of small sized holdings. This confirms the fact that small scale dairy farming is no longer profitable, but can always bring an additional source of income to the families and can improve the food security situation of the concerned groups. Almost two thirds of farmers depend only on goat and/or sheep products as their main source of income (sale of milk and milk products and animals). The rest of the farmers have an additional source of income from agriculture (fruits and vegetables) and from forest products (charcoal, aromatic plants…). The majority of nomadic shepherds are classified either as poor or very poor (78%). Their living standards are below acceptable humanitarian standards. They mainly live in rudimentary tents and shelters, with few concrete houses, scattered and separated from each other, with very limited, if any, access to the basic needs like roads, electricity, running water and social and medical services.

Farm Sizes
The structure of the dairy farming sector is dominated by smallholders with 66% of farmers having between 1 – 5 dairy cows (the majority having 1-2 cows). However, they own only 15% of the total number of cows. Small-scale milk production is the most prevalent form of dairy activity with female farmers (most having only 1-3 cows), who are the most vulnerable to poverty and natural and man-made disasters, and have very little access to credit facilities, technology and services. The surveys indicated that the total number of animals in the study area is 11,471 (sheep and goats) with an average number of 174 adult head/flock, distributed as follows: ≤ 50 head (24% of farmers); 51-100 head (24%); 101-200 (26%); 201-300 (14%); 301-500 head (6%) and 501-800 (6%).

Milk Production, Marketing and Prices
Milk production averages 10 kg/cow/day, reflecting serious problems related to feeding, management and mainly to the reproductive efficiency. Studies show that the number of pregnant cows and heifers represent only 40-50% of the dairy herd. The milk production quantity is directly related to the farm size and poverty level. Farms producing less than 100 kg/day represent 78% of dairy farms. They only contribute 23% of the total milk produced. Most dairy farmers rely on village milk collectors “Hallabas” who play the role of the middlemen between farmers and dairy processing plants.

Milk is usually marketed as follows: 60% of farmers sell their milk to village dealers or “Hallabas”; 3% sell directly to processing plants; 27% retail raw and home processed milk (laban and labneh), in villages and urban centres, using rudimentary utensils with poor hygiene; the remaining 10% is for home consumption and retail. Home processing and retail are being increasingly practiced in many regions, either because of the lack of milk collection facilities or because of the better prices obtained. In December 2009, farm gate milk prices ranged between 600 and 800 LL/kg (LL = Lebanese Lira; 1US$ = 1,500 LL). There are no officially defined standards and quality indicators, however the few farmers who have cooling facilities are able to ask for an extra 50 LL/kg. There are seasonal and spatial variations in prices. Prices are generally higher in summer time and lower in off-season. Spatial price difference is mainly a function of the high demand during summer time (tourist season and home and industrial processing of Keshek).

Milk production varies very much with the seasons. Total milk production in the surveyed areas may reach 4 000 kg /day in May and 6 000 kg/day during the high season (June-July). Milk productivity is very low; the quantity of marketable milk over the lactation period is estimated to be around 60 kg/sheep and 100 kg/goat. At the end of the season (September-October) milk production is very low and almost entirely used for domestic consumption or sold as a processed product (labneh, ghee, cheese). Most shepherds (70%) sell their raw milk to milk collectors “hallabas” at an average price of 600 LL/kg; the price is a little higher (800 or even 1 000 LL/kg) in the Bekaa because of easier access to roads, cooling tanks and other facilities.

Milk handling and hygiene
Some 80% of the milk produced is supplied raw (not refrigerated) to dairy processing plants, collected by the “Hallabas” with low quality standards. Most of the milk is transported in tanks (aluminium or plastic) with a very low level of maintenance, mainly when it comes to small holders. Most small holders do not have milking machines and depend on hand milking. It is obvious that the milk hygiene and handling are very poor. Only very few farmers follow the correct milking and handling procedures. This situation is only true with small holders and poor farmers. Large holdings with large investment and very modern facilities follow the international norms and standards of milking, handling, hygiene and control of quality (see Figures 25 and 26). Goat and sheep milk hygiene and handling are very primitive with almost no cooling devices for the collected milk, and very poor hygienic conditions linked to the cleaning and disinfection of the utensils.

Figure 25. Cow milking in a large scale modern dairy farm
[Source: Les filières lait et viande de ruminants au Liban – Conte-rendu d’études – Institut de l’Elevage – Confédération nationale de l’Elevage]
Figure 26. Hand milking in a poor small scale holding
[Source: Dr. Chedly Kayouli]

Artificial insemination services

Fertility efficiency is a major hurdle to all farmers and might be considered as the main cause of low profit in dairying along with the high cow culling rate. Generally speaking, the artificial insemination service is very poor, as only 12% of the farmers are using AI on a regular basis, while 28% use both artificial and natural inseminations, and 60% depend only on the utilization of bulls for the reproduction of their cows (Figure 27). Modern dairy farms depend mainly on AI and have access to good reproductive material and bulls. Artificial insemination is not undertaken for sheep and goats, with the exception of experimental trials in research institutes.

Figure 27. Use of Artificial Insemination and Natural Mating for Cows
Source: Kayouli (2010)

Veterinary Services
Most small dairy farmers (60%) do not follow any regular vaccination program. They usually provide reactive treatments or vaccines depending on outbreak of diseases and depend on the very sporadic vaccination programs undertaken by the MOA. Poverty and ignorance, high costs of veterinarians and vaccines, distrust of available veterinary drugs and absence or limited availability of veterinary services are the main cause of the poor coverage of the animal health status. As a consequence the most recurrent diseases recorded (% of total declared diseases) with almost all dairy farms are as follows: 1) Mastitis (52%); 2) Metritis (24%); 3) Laminitis and foot rot (10%), FMD (5%) and others (gastric, respiratory diseases, vitamins & mineral deficiencies, milk fever).The high frequency of mastitis is mainly caused by the poor hygiene, while metritis and laminitis are the result of poor feeding management, especially with known mineral and vitamins deficiencies. Rumen acidosis is caused by the high use of concentrate feeds and lack of forage. The sheep and goat health situation is very poor, with almost no access to veterinary services and vaccination. The most widespread goat and/or sheep diseases reported by the shepherds are (% of total declared diseases): Gastric Parasites (34%), Enterotoxaemia (33%), and Pasteurellosis (33%).

Feeds and feeding systems
The main feature of the dairy feeding system in all the surveyed areas is the excessive use of concentrate feeds (7-18 kg) and the absence or low use of fodder crops. Concentrate feeds are often inefficiently used at farms within unbalanced rations. This concentrate feed based feeding system, has often a negative impact on the dairy cattle performance. Providing feed with high cereal content and a restricted amount of forage and fibres is also the main cause behind metabolic diseases, rumen chronic acidosis, laminitis, low milk fat content and low fertility. Almost all dairy farmers complain about the increasing prices of concentrate feeds which leads to a high cost of milk production. Calculation of milk production cost in project sites indicates that total milk cost varies from 558 to 750 LL (and sold at 600-800 LL/Kg) according to investment level and labour cost. The main cause behind this disequilibrium in the feeding is the limited amount of forage crops planted in the country, the limited availability of crop residues, and the limited quantity and quality of pastures for dairy cattle.

The feeding of goats and sheep is mainly based on grazing in natural woodlands, pastures and rangelands (in the mountains) and to a lesser extent on grazing crop residues and purchased barley and other forage crops (see Figures 28, 29 & 30).

Figure 28. Awassi sheep feeding on pasture Figure 29. Awassi sheep herd Figure 30. Goats feeding and drinking in the high mountains

Most of the nomadic shepherds do not own the lands. They pay a rent for their grazing rights which are usually calculated on the basis of head per season ranging between 5 000–10 000 LL per head/season. Several communities rent their “Macha’a” lands to shepherds at an average rate of 1 300 USD/Km2.

A summary of the major constraints, their causes and the proposed solutions (from the survey carried out by the project) are listed below; these include the promotion of fodder crops, improved farm management and better feeding systems. Some of these are being directly addressed by the project, in the regions where it is being implemented:

Constraints, Causes and Solutions of the Dairy Production System (Source: Kayouli, 2010)
Constraint
Main Causes
Proposed Solution
Non-profitable small scale dairy production

• Low and versatile prices of milk

• High and increasing prices of concentrate feeds

• Very poor milk collection system and difficulty accessing appropriate markets

• Creation of Village Dairy Producers’ Associations (VDPAs) grouping neighbouring villages, for better marketing and bargaining.
• Improvement of the milk collection system
• Provision of training to improve farm management skills, hygiene, feeding system
• Promotion of fodder crops
• Supply of VDPAs with milk cooling tanks equipped with all the necessary tools and utensils for testing, receiving, filtration and refrigeration.
• Priority is given to villages with high concentration of smallholders and those distant and not easily reached from existing milk collection centres and to women farmers
• Involvement of the traditional milk middlemen “Hallab” from the village communities in the different processes and operations
Poor knowledge and technical skills of smallholder dairy farmers

• Most of the livestock farmers are smallholders with limited skills and awareness of the basic practices for improved farm management and milk hygiene

• Absence or very weak linkage between the small producers and the extension services of MOA

• Introduction of a comprehensive program of training, extension and demonstration on different issues such as: farm management; feeding and forage crops; milk handling, hygiene and basic milk processing at farm level; animal reproduction and health.
• Strengthening the capacities of the extension service of the MOA to provide the necessary training programs and to create the links with the marginalized groups
Very poor reproduction efficiency hindering cow replacement and herd expansion

• Absence or very limited coverage of artificial insemination services

• Lack of availability of skilled inseminators and good semen quality

• Distrust of smallholders because of the high cost and poor efficiency of AI services

• Strengthening artificial insemination services within MOA as well as within private sector through training skilled inseminators and provision of good quality semen
Frequent occurrence of diseases

• Limited / absence coverage of veterinary services including poor diagnostic facilities

• Poverty and ignorance, high costs of veterinary services and vaccines, distrust of available vet. drugs

• Support to the dairy farmers with veterinary services including campaign of vaccination and supply of appropriate veterinary drugs and material to control the major diseases and milk hygiene
• Stronger involvement of the MOA in the provision of veterinary services and drugs
Very poor raw milk quality standards, poor milk storage & transport

• Absence of cooling facilities at farm and village levels

• Poor milk collection system

• Absence of cooling for milk transport

• Poor milk handling and storage (old aluminium and plastic cans)

• Poor milking practices (absence of teat dipping and
• disinfectant usage, hand milking)

• Lack of training (poor management practices, barn hygiene)

• Setting up primary milk collection network at village levels with establishment of milk cooling tanks, equipped with all the necessary tools and utensils for testing, receiving, filtration and refrigeration.
• Development of the necessary legalization for milk transport and for the control of milk hygiene and sanitary
• Substitution of plastic by aluminium and stainless steel
•Provision of extensive training sessions for dairy farmers on farm management and milk handling with emphasis on hygiene and sanitary conditions.

Health risk with home- processed dairy products

• Use of rudimentary milk utensils and primitive methods and appliances to process milk in remote areas with very poor quality standards

• Poor farmers lack assets

• Poor knowledge and technical skills in hygienic dairy processing

• Supporting small dairy holders, especially women-headed households and those isolated from milk collection facilities, with small equipment for milk handling & processing at farm level
•Training people on improving milk quality standards and on adopting proper techniques of cheese and labneh manufacturing, to get healthier and safer dairy products
Absence of milk aggregation and conflict with dairy plants on milk quality and price

• Six MOA milk collection centres fully equipped and ready for use are closed

• Milk price decided by large dairy plants

• Delay of payment

•Lack of knowledge of small farmers about milk quality testing procedures

• Rehabilitation of the milk collecting centres under new management and strategy and provision of appropriate services to the farmers
• Providing farmers with services and contributing to upgrading of the dairy sub-sector (farm inputs extension, artificial insemination and animal health services)
• Hire on full time basis at least one veterinarian and one AI technician in the collection centres
• Preparation of necessary legalization of the collection centres with the emphasis on safeguarding the interests of very small dairy holders, mainly through: assured and timely payment, regular purchase of milk, by the fact that any quantity of milk however small, is accepted by the centre.
• Using the facilities of LARI to set up an Official Laboratory for milk testing and analysis

5. THE PASTURE RESOURCE
In addition to the trees, bushes and forbs, several wild legumes, grasses and other herbs are found in the different ecosystems. Highly appreciated by grazing animals, these species have been neglected by farmers because of their low productivity. At the farm level, they are replaced by improved varieties with a higher commercial value. Local species, varieties or strains are better adapted to the local climatic and edaphic conditions, are more resistant to pathogens and insects, and are more resilient to drought, than many of the improved and introduced varieties (Figure 31).

Figure 31. Wild legumes and woody species

Among the herbaceous wild plants found in the different ecosystems are the following (Table 7):

Table 7. Wild Relatives of Important Fodder Crops Found in Lebanon (FAO-UNDP-MOA 1996)
Alfalfa
Clover
Vetch
Medicago granatensis
M. itertexta
M. murex
M. turbinate
M. aculeate
M. constricta
M. rigidula
M. truncatula
M. litoralis
M. polymorpha
M. minima
M. lacnriata
M. praecox
M. rotata
M. blancheana
M. rugosa
M. scutellata
Trifolium subterraneum
T. cherlei
T. fragiferum
T. hirtum
T. pilulare
T. resupinatum
T. tomentosum
T. alexandrinum
T. campestre
T. scabrum
T. purpereum
Vicia ervilia
V. monantha
V. narbonensis
V. pannonica
V. peregrina
V. sativa amphicarpa
V. sativa angustifolia
V. sativa cordata
V. villosa
Wild wheat Wild oats Wild chick peas Wild lentils
Triticum thaoudar
T. dicoccoides
T. urartu
T. boeoticum
Hordeum spontaneum
H. hystrix
H. leporinum
H. bulbosum
Cicer arietinum
C. inicisum
C. pinnatifidum
C. judaicum
Lens culinaris
L. ervoides
L. orientalis
Aegilops sp. (related to wheat)
Aegilops ovate
A. triaristata
A. columnaris
A. biuncialis
A. triuncialis
A. kotschyi
A. multiaristata
A. intermedia
A. peregrina
A. brachyatera
A. cylindrica
A. caudata
A. comosa
A. squarrosa
A. crassa
A. ligustica
A. speltoides
A. longissima
A. searsii
A. vavilovii

While small ruminants are usually raised and fed in the wild (woodlands, rangelands and on agricultural residues) with a minimal supplement of feed, cattle are usually raised in farms and are fed with different feed, most of which is imported as the local production does not meet the demand yet. Some fodder crops are planted (Figure 32) mainly in the Bekaa Valley and the Akkar Plains, as per the table below:

Table 8. Area (hectares) of Forage Crops in Lebanon (Source FAOSTAT)
Crops
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
Barley
8 700
7 000
11 500
13 911
12 590
14 500
15 900
15 750
14 500
16 000
Maize
900
879
846
930
550
900
1 050
900
900
1 000
Sorghum
900
750
700
600
591
642
691
687
646
645
Alfalfa
750
760
750
750
750
730
750
750
750
750
Oats
400
350
300
312
354
380
406
329
380
509
Vetch
5 250
5 350
5 250
5 000
4 682
5 200
4 894
5 100
4 736
5 272
Total
16 900
15 089
19 346
21 503
19 517
22 352
23 691
23 516
21 912
24 176

There has been a steady increase in the total area planted from 2000 to 2009, although this is mostly explained by the rise in the area of barley planted.

Figure 32. Forage crops and poppies

Small ruminants graze in the different ecosystems of the country (Figures 33 and 34), depending on season, availability of plant material and the availability of land. Several studies have shown the importance of the woody species for the diet of small ruminants, mainly goats (Hajj et al., 2007; Kharrat et al., 2008 and Kharrat, 2004).

Figure 33. High mountain pastures grazed by goats Figure 34. Nomad children with their goat herd

Table 9 describes the different ecosystems where small ruminants are raised and allowed to graze:

Table 9. Description of the ecosystems under which the small ruminant breeds are raised in Lebanon (Source: Khazaal, 2005).
Breed
Brief description of the ecosystem

Sheep

Awassi
Found in a range of ecosystems varying from coastal plains and foothill steppes with ≥500 mm rain and on the western slopes of the Mount Lebanon. However the major concentration is in the Bekaa Valley (800-1 000 m) or the mountain and foothill steppes that surround it. These are rainfed areas (with rainfall between 300 and 700 mm). Rangelands contribute to most of the animal diet (70%) and agricultural by-products complement the remaining 30%, consisting of concentrate supplements of forage produced on the farms for winter feeding. Summer is dry and hot (up to 45 °C) and winter is cold (down to -15 °C) with abundant snow covering the soil. Water points are available. The critical period is winter.

Goats

Jabali
Found in mountains (800-1 600  m) with rainfed forests and shrub lands having ≥300 mm rainfall. Rangelands contribute to most (80%) of the feed with the remaining 20% supplemented with straw and concentrates during cold weather. Summer is moderate (up to 35 °C) and dry. During the winter (down to -10 °C with snow covering the soil) animals are moved to lower altitudes. Water points are available. The critical period is winter for animals kept in mountains at elevations higher than 900 m.

Goats

Sharmi
Distributed from the coastal regions to mountain areas up to 700 m elevation. Most are kept in mixed farming systems in rainfed or irrigated foothills and foothill steppes with ≥600 mm rainfall. Feeding systems include 50% limited grazing and hand-feeding using forages from range or irrigated maize/alfalfa, and 50% concentrates, mostly barley and wheat millings. Little forage is produced or stored for winter-feeding. Summer is moderately hot (up to 35 °C), humid in the coastal regions (70%) and drier in the mountains. Coastal winters are moderate-to-cold (up to 0 °C), with no snow. Water is available on the farms. The critical period is winter, if animals are kept at elevations higher than 700 m.

Goats

Crosses
Found in the dry steppes with ≤300 mm rain. Rangelands contribute 90% of the feed. Winter is cold (down -10 °C) with snow, and summer is hot (more than 35 °C). Grazing is limited by the reduced availability of water points. The critical periods are winter and autumn.

 

Table 10. Bio-climatic Zones, Forest Types and Main Species in Lebanon. [Source: Abi-Saleh & Safi, 1988 ; Tohmé & Tohmé, 2007]
Bio-climate Substrate Forest Habitat Type Dominant species Companion tree/shrub Herbal species
Thermo-Med. (<500 m) Limestone Carb-Lentisk Scrub Ceratonia siliqua; Pistacia lentiscus;
Myrtus communis; Olea europaea

Rhus tripartita; Calycotome villosa; Poterium spinosum; Viburnum tinus; Rhamnus alaternus; Retama raetam; Rhus tripartita Hyparrhenia hirta
Aristida coerulescens
Stipa capensis
Pine woodlands Pinus brutia
Pinus halepensis
Evergreen oak woodlands Quercus calliprinos; Ceratonia siliqua; Myrtus communis; Pistacia lentiscus Calycotome villosa; Poterium spinosum; Hypericum thymifolium; Cistus creticus; Viburnum tinus; Rhamnus alaternus; Retama raetam; Rhus tripartita Hyparrhenia hirta; Andropogon distachyus
Mixed oak-pine woodlands Pinus brutia; Q. calliprinos; Myrtus communis; Pistacia lentiscus
Marl and marly-limestone Pine forest Pinus brutia Gonocytisus pterocladus; Cytisopsis dorycniifolia; Satureja thymbra; Coridothymus capitatus; Myrtus communis; Pistacia lentiscus; Ceratonia siliqua; Hyparrhenia hirta; Trachynia distachya; Stipa bromoides
Pinus halepensis
Mixed conifer forest Pinus brutia; Cupressus sempervirens
Cypress forest Cupressus sempervirens
Sandstone Pine forests Pinus pinea; (P. brutia) Erica manipuliflora; Cistus creticus; Cistus salvifolius Hyparrhenia hirta; Stipa bromoides
Eu-MEd. (500-1000 m) Limestone Evergreen oak forests Quercus calliprinos Pistacia palestina; Arbutus andrachne; Phillyrea media; Crataegus azarolus; Acer syriacum; Laurus nobilis; Viburnum tinus
Degradation: Calycotome villosa; Rhamnus punctata; Hypericum thymifolium; Cistus creticus; Salvia fruticosa; Poterium spinosum
Lotus judaicus; Cyclamen persicum; Rubia tenuifolia; Grasslands: Hyparrhenia hirta; Andropogon distachyum
Mixed oak-pine forests Quercus calliprinos; Pinus brutia; (P. pinea)
Deciduous oak forests Quercus infectoria; Q. calliprinos Styrax officinalis; Cercis siliquastrum.
Degradation: Spartium junceum; Origanum syriacum

Brachypodium pinnatum
Marl & marly-limeston Mixed conifer forests Pinus brutia; Cupressus sempervirens Genista acanthoclada
Degradation: Calycotome villosa; Poterium spinosum; Satureja thymbra; Thymbra spicata
Hyparrhenia hirta
Pine forests Pinus brutia
Cypress forests Cupressus sempervirens
Sandstone Pine forests Pinus pinea; (Quercus infectoria; P. brutia) Juniperus oxycedrus; Lavandual stoechas.
Degraded: Cistus salvifolius

Briza maxima; Phleum montanum; Anthoxantum odoratum
Grassland: Tuberaria guttata; Aira elegans; Trifolium medusaeum
Supra-Med. (1 000-1 500 m) Limestone Evergreen oak forests Quercus calliprinos

Degraded: Calycotome villosa; Origanum syriacum; Teucrium divaricatum

Brachypodium pinnatum; Melica angustifolia

Mixed oak and juniper forests Q. calliprinos; Arceuthos drupacea
Deciduous oak forests Q. infectoria; Q. calliprinos
Lonicera nummulariifolia
Degraded: Spartium junceum; Origanum syriacum; Calycotome villosa; Poterium spinosum
Brachypodium pinnatum; Melica angustifolia; Poa bulbosa
Q. cerris
  Lathyrus niger; L. digitatus
Hop-hornbeam mixed forests Ostrya carpinifolia; Fraxinus ornus; Q. infectoria; Q. pinnatifida
Sambucus ebulus; Spartium junceum; Acer tauricolum; Coronilla emeroides; Genista libanotica Melica uniflora; Brachypodium pinnatum; B. sylvaticum; Paeonia kesrouanensis
Sandstone Stone pine forests Pinus pinea; Q. infectoria Cytisus syriacus; Adenocarpus complicatus; Halimium umbellatum; Cytisus drepanolobus; Genista lydia Tuberaria guttata; Aira elegans; Briza maxima
Deciduous oak forests Q. infectoria Juniperus oxycedrus; Cytisus syriacus; Adenocarpus complicatus; Cytisus drepanolobus; Genista lydia
Origanum ehrenbergii
Q. cerris Cytisus syriacus; Adenocarpus complicatus Origanum ehrenbergii; Luzula forsteri
Mountain-Med (1 600-1 900 m)   Mixed conifer Abies cilicica; Cedrus libani Sorbus flabellifolia; Berberis libanotica; Cotoneaster nummularia; Acer tauricolum; Malus triloba; Sambucus ebulus; Coronilla emeroides; Colutea cilicica; Sorbus torminalis, Genista libanotica; Rosa dumetorum; Rosa glutinosa Dactylis glomerata; Agropyrum panormitanum; Poa diversifolia; Sesleria anatolica; Lathyrus libani; Doronicum caucasicum; Trifolium physodes; Trifolium stellatum; Lathyrus digitatus; Vicia tenuifolia; Medicago lupulina; Medicago minima; Medicago radiata
Abies cilicica
Cedrus libani
Mixed conifer/oak forests Cedrus libani; Q. cedrorum; Q. pinnatifida
Cedrus libani; Q. brantii
Oak forests Q. brantii
Q. cedrorum
Juniper woodlands Juniperus excelsa; J. foetidissima
Oro-Med (>1 900 m)   Juniper woodlands Juniperus excelsa Rhamnus libanotica; Berberis libanotica; Prunus prostrata; Pyrus syriaca; Cotoneaster nummularia
Degradation: Astragalus
spp; Acantholimon
libanoticum

Onobrychis cornuta; Agropyron libanoticum
Steppe non-forest   Hammada scrub   Hammada eigii; Artemisia herba-alba; Salsola villosa; Atriplex leucoclada; Atriplex lasiantha; Salvia palestina Carex stenophylla; Vicia plaestina; Vicia cinerea; Medicago blanchea; Trifolium tomentosum; Lathyrus pseudocicera; Onobrychis hemicycla
Steppe-Med. (900-1 500 m)   Evergreen oak forests

Q. calliprinos

Pyracantha coccinea; Acer hermoneum; Amygdalus korschinskii; Jasminum fruticans
Degradation: Poterium spinosum; Calycotome villosa

Stachys nivea; S. cretica

Steppe-Supra-Med. (1 500-1 800 m)   Mixed oak forests

Q. calliprinos; Q. infectoria; Juniperus excelsa

Pyracantha coccinea; Acer hermoneum; Amygdalus korschinskii; A. orientalis; Jasminum fruticans; Pyrus syriaca; Berberis libanotica

Ziziphora capitata; Thelegonum cynocrambe; Ononis pusilla; Trigonella monantha

Steppe. Mountain-Med. (1 800-2 400 m)   Juniper forests

Juniperus excelsa

Berberis libanotica; Astralagus spp

Onobrychis cornuta; Agropyron libanoticum

Steppe-Oro- Med (> 2 400 m)   Juniper woodlands   Rhamnus libanotica; Berberis libanotica; Prunus prostrata; Pyrus syriaca; Cotoneaster nummularia
Degradation: Astragalus
spp; Acantholimon libanoticum

Onobrychis cornuta; Agropyron libanoticum

Riparian forests   Lowland Plane tree forests Platanus orientalis; Salix alba; Laurus nobilis; Tamarix spp

Vitex agnus-castus; Nerium oleander

Hypericum hircinum; Pteris vitata

  Plane tree and alder forests Platanus orientalis; Alnus orientalis; Salix libani
   
Sandstone Alder forests Alnus orientalis; Salix libani Rhododendron ponticum Osmunda regalis; Equisetum telmateia; Blechnum spicant

The different vegetation zones provide different kinds of feed, from trees to bushes to grasses and legumes. Local breeds of small ruminants are well adapted to this kind of feed, even if some concentrates may be provided in winter or when feed is scarce. Table 10 shows the different vegetation levels with the main species that should be found. Unfortunately, degradation, land fragmentation, successive forest fires, unsustainable land-management practices have resulted in the loss or the reduction in the number of some of these species (Figure 35).

Figure 35. Degraded high mountain pasture

6. OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT OF PASTURE RESOURCES
The improvement of livestock production in Lebanon and the empowerment of this vital sector will be through improvement of the pasture resources, sustainable management of the grazing ecosystems (woodlands, rangelands, pastures…), their improvement whenever possible, and the increase of the share of fodder crops in agricultural production. Improving the livelihood systems of farmers, providing them with the necessary veterinary, hygiene, handling and transformation equipment and services, will also improve the quality of the milk and milk-products and increase the income generated from the livestock production, mainly at the scale of the small herders.

Dairy production: problems and proposed solutions
The “FAO/UNDP Recovery and Rehabilitation of Dairy Sector in Bekaa Valley and Hermel-Akkar Uplands (LRF-OSRO/LEB/901/UNJ)” project has identified the intervention needs at the level of the project and the necessary interventions. Kayouli (2010) has detailed major constraints, their main causes and proposed solutions (see section 4, above). These mainly relate to the production systems, farm management skills, health of the herds, milk and dairy product quality and their marketing. The production of fodder crops and the improvement of the pastures were not directly addressed through this project, although farmers were encouraged to start planting fodder crops for more efficient production systems. Undoubtedly, the planting of fodder crops and better feeding practices will contribute considerably to improving the profitability of small-scale dairy production. Data on fodder crops is unfortunately somewhat lacking; because of their limited quantity and the limited area devoted to their cultivation, fodder crops were not captured as a separate entity in the agricultural censuses that were undertaken in 1999 and in 2010.

Pasture and Fodder Crop Research
However, some research has been undertaken on the feed quality of the natural ecosystems and on the feeding systems of small ruminants, mainly goats. These studies have shown the nutritional value of some species and the behaviour of the animals in terms of feeding habits, along with the effect of the different feed on milk and meat production. The feeding behaviour of the goats (mainly “Baladi” goats) is related to the diversity of species. The forests and woodlands where the goats graze are usually rich in terms of diversity of species, and thus are able to provide a rich and varied diet throughout the feeding seasons. In regions where goats and sheep graze in mixed rangelands, moving from woodlands to open pastures and crop residues (mainly in the Bekaa), the diet is rich thanks to diversity of the species and quality of nutrients available. However, the provision of feed additives has shown an improvement in the milk quality (Hajj et al., 2007; Kharrat et al., 2008; Kharrat, 2004).

Trials to improve open pastures, rangelands and degraded lands through seeding of high quality legumes and cereals and the addition of fertilizers were also undertaken in different stations and research institutes (see Table 11). Such marginal lands are used for grazing but provide a minor quality of feed, because of the presence of unpalatable species, forbs and xerophytes. The seeding of legumes (Medicago and Trifolium sp.) as well as selected grasses from wild origins and the addition of phosphates has led to pasture improvement and the provision of a better feed quality in the experimental plots. Such experiments could be replicated in the degraded and desertified lands in some parts of the country, where goats and sheep herds spend part of the year (Haddad, G., Nassar, A. and Kahwaji, J. 2010).

Such studies were undertaken at the School of Agriculture of the Saint-Joseph University (Ecole Supérieure des Ingénieurs Agronomes de la Méditerranée – ESIAM), at the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI) and at the American University of Beirut (AUB).

The experiments undertaken by LARI (the Department of Rangelands and Development of Forage Crops) between 1998 and 2001 on the improvement of the rangelands through seeding and fertilizing were interrupted in 2001 and unfortunately never continued. The experiments were supported by several partners who provided different kinds of inputs, such as:

  • Water Harvesting: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)/ Smallholder Livestock Rehabilitation Project/ Lebanon (SLRP)
  • Experimental design and management: Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI)/ Forage & Pasture Department (FPD)
  • Seeds: International Centre for Agricultural Research in the dry Areas (ICARDA)
  • Financial support: Machreq-Maghreb Project (M&M)
  • Seeds: Conservation and Sustainable Use of Dryland Agro-biodiversity in the Near East (CSUDANE).

The Ministry of Agriculture has recently established a “Seed Committee” which aims to increase the area of irrigated and rainfed fodder crops such as alfalfa, corn, vetch and barley mixtures. The Ministry is planning to provide seeds and different kinds of inputs to farmers in order to encourage the planting of such crops and to improve the efficiency of livestock production in Lebanon. Some researchers in LARI are currently trying to develop a research line on the improvement of the pastures and on fodder crops.

In addition to the experiments described above, some initiatives were implemented in different parts of the country on the sustainable grazing management of woodlands and rangelands.

Table 11. Summary of activities undertaken between 1998 and 2001 by the Department of Rangelands and Forage Development in the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI) in the framework of the project “Smallholder Livestock Rehabilitation Project, Lebanon” (Dr. Georges HADDAD, Ing. Joseph KAHWAJI, Adnan EL-RAMI, Hassan MOUNZER and Houssein EL-BOURJI)


PASTURE and MARGINAL LAND

REGION

1998

1999

WEST BEKAA (AMMIQ)

DEMONSTRATION:
2 ha (each plot 0.5 ha)
Reseeding 12 kg/ha (16 varieties of legumes Trifolium spp., Medicago spp., …) and fertilizing with 13 kg P2O5 (25 kg/ha) with Control; September 1997

EXPERIMENT:
2 ha (each plot 0.5 ha)
Reseeding 12 kg/ha (16 varieties of legumes Trifolium spp., Medicago spp, …) and fertilizing with 20 kg P2O5 (40 kg/ha) with Control; September 1998

20-35 %  Legume
65-75%   Grass
LEG: No./m2:  250-700
          g DM/m2: 15-62 to 22-87
          Seed No./m2: 2700-6000
          Seed g/m2: 7-10 to 14-20

15-20% Legume
60-80% Grass
LEG: No./m2 : 140-175 to 150-400
          g DM/m2 :  4-6 to 10-50 
          Seed No./m2  :  270-400
          Seed g/m2 :   0.6-0.8

  North BeKaa (Arsal COOPERATIVE: 48 MEMBERS)

1998

1999

2000

DEMONSTRATION:
MRAH CHEIK & KHERBET DAOUD SITES S: 0.8 & 1.1ha
7.5 kg Salsola (25 kg/ha)
32 kg Barley & Triticale- 18 kg Vetch & Lathyrus- Shrubs (220 Atriplex sp. & 250 Salsola sp.); Planted December 1997 after application of water harvesting techniques

DEMONSTRATION:
TALEET ISMAEL SITE: 3 ha 
Fertilized with 300 kg P2O5 (100 kg/ha) & 300 kg N (100 kg/ha) with Control
Shrubs (650 Atriplex): 2ha Planted January 1999 after application of water harvesting techniques

Multiplication field (Atriplex, Salsola, Sanguisorba & Onobrychis) Planted 790 Seedlings March 2000
400 Atriplex sp. distributed and planted with Cooperative (3-4 Farmers)

Survival Rate: 56% Atriplex
                    70% Salsola
Triticale (200 kg distributed) well adapted & adopted by Cooperative

 

Survival rate of  Atriplex: 50%

REGION

1998

1999

2000

DEIR AHMAR (COOPERATIVE)

 

DEMONSTRATION:
1ha- 100 kg P2O5 (100 kg/ha) & 100 kg N (100 kg/ha)-
 Shrubs (500 Atriplex & Salsola) Planted January & February 1999 after application of water harvesting techniques

DEMONSTRATION:
3ha- Reseeding & fertilizing- 16 varieties of Legumes- P2O5 (20 kg/ha)  January 2000

   

Legume: (2 species)
No./m2   : 30-68
          g DM/m2 : 6-20 
          Seed No./m2: 121/ 269-369
          Seed g/m2  : 0.28/ 0.75-0.94   

CHLIFA (COOPERATIVE)

   

3ha- Reseeding & fertilizing- 16 varieties of Legume- P2O5 (20 kg/ha)
Shrubs (1068  Atriplex, Sanguisorba, Salsola & Onobrychis).  Planted January 2000 after application of water harvesting techniques

   

Legume: 26% (3 species)
          No./m2  :  107-15230-68 (seed No.per species)
          g DM/m2: 7-106-20 
          Seed No./m2: 826-838-1348
          Seed g/m2 :  2.09-1.53-2.72
Shrub Survival rate: 70-80%   

ACTIVITIES

1998

1999

2000

2001

NURSERY SHRUBS (TEL AMARA)

50 kg Seeds of
Legumes (Onobrychis, Alfalfa,..), Rosacea (Sanguisorba,..), Graminaea (Lolium, Fescue, Hordeum,..) & Chenopodiaceae (Atriplex,..), Salsola

60-80 kg Seeds
 Legumes (Onobrychis, Alfalfa,..), Rosacea (Sanguisorba,..), Graminaea (Lolium, Fescue, Hordeum,..) & Chenopodiaceae (Atriplex,..), Salsola

125-150 kg Seeds
Legumes (Onobrychis, Alfalfa,..), Rosacea (Sanguisorba,..), Graminaea (Lolium, Fescue, Hordeum,..) & Chenopodiaceae (Atriplex,..), Salsola

3250 Seedlings of Shrubs (Atriplex, Salsola, Onobrychis,…)

SEED INCREASE (TEL AMARA) PRODUCED FOR DISTRIBUTION TO FARMERS

8357kg (Barley & Triticale)
675 kg Vicia

1500 kg (Barley & Triticale)
800 kg Vicia

5150 kg (Barley)
2298 kg (Vetch)
(2 ha Barley, 2 ha Vicia, Tel Amara) & (2.3 ha Vicia, Kferdan)

6480 kg (Barley & Triticale)
(2.7 ha Graminaea)

ACTIVITIES

1998

1999

2000

2001

Forage Mixture  (Vicia & Barley)

 NUMBER OF AGRICULTURIST & COOPERATIVE (QUANTITIES OF SEEDS DISTRIBUTED)

No.: 30
3900 kg Seed
 Prod. kg DM/ha: 1600-2200

No.: 15
825 kg Seed
Prod. kg DM/ha: 2500-8000

No.: 50
1500 kg Seed

No.: 30
900 kg Seed
Prod. Bales ( No.:134-388): 2680-7760 kg

   

Faour Site for Mixture : 3 ha (To Turbul Station)
Turbul Site for Pasture: 2.5 ha (Trifolium,Lolium,Medic)
Qaa Site (One Farmer): 0.7ha ( Barley & Triticale)

 
   

 Arsal- Shrubs: 500 Atriplex sp. distributed and planted after application of water harvesting techniques

 

TEL AMARA (EXPERIMENTATION)

1998

1999

2000

2001

FORAGE MIXTURE VARIETIES & PROPORTION (VICIA & BARLEY)

1.3 kg/ha
60% Legume/ 40% Grass &
 75% Legume/ 25% Grass
Prod. kg DM/ha: 4500-5500

1.5 kg/ha
60% Legume/ 40% Grass &
 75% Legume/ 25% Grass &
 50% Legume/ 50% Grass
152 days
Prod. kg DM/ha:
Barley 310-400
Vicia 250-300
Mixture 300-370
Protein kg/ha:
Barley 880-1230
Vicia 1700-1950
Mixture 1030-1740

1.5 kg/ha
60% Legume/ 40% Grass &
 75% Legume/ 25% Grass &
 50% Legume/50% Grass
140 days
Prod. kg DM/ha:
Barley 7000-8000
Vicia 6000-7000
Mixture 6000-7200
Protein kg/ha:
Barley 550-700
Vicia 1450
Mixture 800-950

1.5 kg/ha
60% Legume/ 40% Grass &
 75% Legume/ 25% Grass &
50% Legume/50% Grass
130 days
Prod. kg DM/ha:
Barley 7000-9000
Vicia 5000
Mixture 5000-7000
Protein kg/ha:
Barley 1100-1260
Vicia 1700
Mixture 1400-1560

FORAGE MAIZE (CORN SILAGE) (VARIETIES & DENSITIES )

8-9 plants/m2
120 days
30-35%DM plant
75 kg P2O5, 150 kg K2O, 175 kg N
Prod. Total Fresh Matter/ha: 80-110 tonnes

11-14 plants/m2
120 days
30-35%DM plant
75 kg P2O5, 150 kg K2O, 175 kg N
Prod. Total Fresh Matter/ha: 40-70 tonnes
Prod. Total Dry Matter/ha: 15-22 tonnes
Silage (Bag-Silo)
Manufacturing (ONE FARMER)

7-10-14 plants/m2
110 days
20-25%DM plant
75 kg P2O5, 150 kg K2O, 175 kg N
Prod. Total Fresh Matter/ha: 80-120 tonnes
Prod. Total Dry Matter/ha: 20-25 tonnes

Extension bulletin

LUCERNE (VARIETIES)

   

25 kg/ha
50 kg P2O5, 100 kg K2O, 29 kg N
Prod kg DM/ha (4 cuts):8000-15000

 

RYEGRASS ENGLISH & ITALIAN (VARIETIES)

   

25 kg/ha
50 kg P2O5, 100 kg K2O, 29 kg N
English Ryegrass:
Prod. kg DM/ha (4 cuts): 5000-6000
Italian Ryegrass:
Prod. kg DM/ha (4 cuts): 8300-8800

 

[Source: Joseph Kahwaji (LARI) – Personal Communication].

Rangelands, Woodlands and Pastures
Although society is nowadays mainly sedentary, several communities still follow a nomadic way of living, building their camps (Figure 36) wherever they find the best and most appropriate pasture for their herd. Some of those nomads are Lebanese, whereas some others come from other countries of the Region. This nomadic way of living is in conflict with other land-uses, with the increase in fragmentation and the decrease in the lands available for grazing.

Figure 36. A nomad tent

Agriculture was born in the Oriental part of the Mediterranean and since man became a grower and a shepherd, his life has been a continuous struggle against wild fauna and flora, favouring domestic plants and animals. He was later able to master the art of irrigation and settled next to major rivers. However, in less favoured areas, he had to deal with a tough landscape. He started modelling the plains, hills, mountains and plateaus, thus creating the specific Mediterranean rural landscape that still survives (Figures 37 and 38).

Figure 37. Mediterranean landscape: pastures and forest Figure 38. Mediterranean landscape: forage crops, woodlands and pastures

Witnesses of the human impact, these terraces are now an integrated part of the landscape. The preservation of the ecosystems are only possible through the preservation of the different elements that compose the landscape. The lack of interest in agriculture and pastoralism, and the abandonment of the terraces have not only affected the organization of the landscape but have also modified the biological dynamics by provoking the reappearance of the forest and later by the enrichment of the area with native animal and plant species. With the passage of time, continued abandonment of agro-sylvo-pastoral activities would lead to a progressive closing of the milieu (environment), causing considerable modification of the landscape, an alteration of the biological equilibrium and a loss in biodiversity. This situation usually leads also to an increase in the risk of occurrence of forest fires because of the thick pack of litter and dead biomass accumulating in the woodland. The low income generated by the traditional forest and range related activities is one of the main causes behind the abandonment of agro-sylvo-pastoral practices (Montgolfier, 2002).

Rangelands have a direct use function as grazing lands for herds. In addition, they play an important role in soil conservation and groundwater recharge. In semi-arid areas, such as the Northern Bekaa, intensive rainfall events on degraded rangelands result in flash floods with dramatic on and off-side effects. Range rehabilitation in these areas would greatly improve water infiltration and groundwater recharge while alleviating flood events.

The Hima, a Traditional Management and Conservation System
In this part of the world, nature conservation does not always take the same form that it does in the West. Some areas are protected by custom or unwritten convention. While the status of these areas is fully binding in the countries where they exist, it is not always recognized by international conservation authorities. The Hima is one of the traditional conservation and management tools very particular to the region. Since Antiquity, the Middle East has known some form of nature conservation and management. It appears that the ancient Egyptians had a grasp of their environment and its needs some 5 000 years ago. The Roman Emperor Hadrian issued a decree protecting parts of the Cedar and other coniferous forests of Lebanon as early as the 1st Century AD.

More recently, but as far back as 1 500 years ago, the Hima came to existence in the States of the Arabian Peninsula and certain other Arab and Islamic countries. The Hima is an ancient system of community-based protected areas and possibly the oldest known organized form of conservation and management in the world. The Hima is a type of common property in which local stakeholders control the use of the common property of a community in order to conserve water and vegetation in times of environmental hardship. Hima is a collective term that encompasses a broad spectrum of areas where living and non-living natural resources are protected and managed by local people for the benefit of the community. In Arabic, the term Hima is a “protected area”, “reserve” or “multi-purpose area” where local people and wildlife are the primary beneficiaries. By preserving such essential resources as forests and grazing lands, the Hima has played a vital role in the struggle to conserve the region’s limited resources. The concept of the Hima system and the pragmatic flexibility inherent in the management of Himas provide an important cultural precedent for the protection and sustainable use of natural and cultural resources.

In Lebanon, until the beginning of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975, municipalities were still managing their municipal lands as Himas, hiring rangers from the local communities to protect their resources, the local farmland and the yields. A large number of areas that were designated as Himas, are not functioning as such anymore. This is due to the migration from rural areas and the abandonment of agriculture. However, thanks to the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL), and in collaboration with the concerned municipalities, Lebanon is witnessing a revival of this ancient institution, with the creation of Himas in several parts of the country (Figure 39).

Figure 39. Sheep grazing in a Hima [Source: Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon]

The objectives of the management plans developed in the current Hima with the local stakeholders are:

  • Improvement of the pasture resources;
  • Protection of birds in general and migrating birds in particular;
  • Protection of the ecosystem biodiversity;
  • Long term autonomous management of the project by the community;
  • The use of the site by local and regional communities for: conservation, education, scientific research, recreation, grazing and expanding economic opportunities.

As the initiative is recent (2003) the results cannot be measured yet. The war in the summer of 2006 and the current political crisis the country is going through are slowing down the process and are inhibiting the economic development of the sites. However, the communities are still managing the resources and protecting them, while allowing for a sustainable use of the lands for grazing purposes (SPNL, 2007).

Rapid Grazing Assessment around the Al-Shouf Cedar Biosphere Reserve: an example to be followed
This case studywas undertaken by Dr. Mounir Abi-Said and provided by the Al-Shouf Cedar Biosphere Reserve (Abi-Said, 2004).

Background. The territory of the Al-Shouf Cedar Reserve runs along the length of the mountain range known as the Barouk Mountain, a southern extension of the Mount Lebanon range. The western slopes of the range face the Shouf region and the eastern slopes face Mount Hermon, forming the western escarpment of the Bekaa valley. The area of the Reserve stretches over 50 000 hectares. It is surrounded by a buffer zone of 500 metres along its borders. It borders on nine villages with a total population of 50 000 whose municipal lands lie within jurisdiction of the reserve. The reserve is exceptionally rich in its biological diversity and is known to be the last remaining sanctuary to shelter an extensive range of wildlife species in the country. Historically, the rangelands and woodlands of the reserve used to provide grazing for a large number of small ruminant flocks from the surrounding, as well as from far away regions, of Lebanon. Transhumant herds used to converge to the Reserve and its foothills during spring and summer. A survey undertaken by Al-Shouf Cedar Society in 1997 identified 37 herds of sheep and goats for a total of 42 000 heads grazing in the Barouk forest, the Maaser Al Shouf forest and the Bmohray-Ain Zhalta forest and its surrounding areas. Since that time and thanks to the strict control by reserve rangers, the number of flocks has declined drastically and is now limited to herders from the adjacent villages. However, the Niha forest and its surrounding used to be grazed by 30 000 head owned by more than 30 shepherds and now it is used by seven herders of goats with a total of 3 200 head. It was therefore crucial to establish a sustainable strategy aiming at integrating the grazing activities of these herders into the overall management plan of the Reserve. Moreover, grazing if properly managed could contribute to the mitigation of forest fires that occur sporadically at the outskirts of the Reserve, and to maintain the landscape mosaic and the traditional land-use practices.

A rapid grazing assessment was conducted in summer and autumn of 2006 to assess grazing activities and to outline an integrated plan aiming at improving sustainable options for the management of the Niha forest, its surrounding and the buffer zones while providing herders with income generating incentives. The assessment revealed an abundance of forage species including grasses, forbs and shrubs with a rich occurrence of forage legumes. Some of the fodder plants identified were:

Stipa bromides, Stipa barbata, Phleum montanum, Gastridium ventricosum, Poa diversifolia, Melica ciliata, Cynosurus coloratus, Agropyron libanoticum, Alyssum munale, Trifolium physodes, Lotus gebelia, Astralagus achimus, Lathyrus digitatus.

Water is available in small water catchments scattered in the area in addition to several natural springs that the herders use.

Management Options. An integrated management plan is proposed to include the following:

  • A grazing management plan to be implemented by the herders with the cooperation of the Niha and other concerned municipalities. The plan should be designed to support forest fire prevention measures around the reserve.
  • An incentive package for the herders providing them with training on flock management and improving their income through better marketing of their products and integrating them into ecotourism activities undertaken by the Reserve management.

The grazing management plan has four components:

  • Proper stocking rate
  • Proper timing of use
  • Proper distribution
  • Proper grazing system

With the proper stocking rate being the most important part of successful range management.

The actual stocking rate (3 200 head) is adequate and does not compromise the carrying capacity of the areas under study. The overall carrying capacity of the site (the protected area and its surroundings) is of 30 000 head (as in Table 12). However, for management purposes, it is possible to reach the 10 000 head without compromising the objectives of the protected area. As to the timing of use, it is recommended to restrict grazing to late spring, summer and early autumn for a total of 6  months in order to ensure adequate regeneration of the vegetation. The proper distribution of the grazing activities is associated with the selection of the grazing system and the availability of water sources. In the context of the study areas, distribution problems could be avoided by the distribution of the grazing area to be controlled by the municipality to solve the conflict among producers and the risk of chaotic grazing. The grazing system to be implemented is the short duration grazing or rapid rotation grazing. This system has been advocated for all rangeland types throughout the world. Under good management, this system permits stocking rates to be increased substantially. The system involves the movement of animals rapidly from one pasture to another. Ideally the grazing period of each pasture should be 5 days or less followed by one month of non-use. It is recommended that livestock be moved more quickly during periods of active forage growth. The high stock density (number of animals per unit area) is thought to:

  • Improve water infiltration into the soil as a result of hoof action
  • Reduce selectivity so that more plants are grazed
  • Give more even use of range
  • Increase the period when green forage is available to livestock
  • Improve animal performance and range condition

The grazing areas under study will be divided each into at least 8 pastures of equal grazing capacity that radiates from a central area (base camp) as described in the figure below:

Base camp

 

Each pasture will be grazed 5 days before moving to adjacent pasture. The grazing system will be implemented in coordination with the Shouf Cedar Society and the municipality of Niha.

The short duration grazing system is commonly used to prevent forest fires in Australia and South Africa and is being adopted in Europe and USA. In the context of the Shouf reserve, the grazing could be initiated in the pasture adjacent to the Reserve boundaries and move away gradually to improve on fire risk prevention depending on the season and the climate. Or, if grazing is initiated in spring, it can be started in pastures distant from the Reserve to move gradually closer to the Reserve, as the vegetation dries out and becomes more prone to fire hazards.

Incentive Package. The incentive package for the herders included:

  • A training module designed to improve flock productivity on health selection and nutrition options. This was administered to the herders through two workshops, one on nutrition and the other on health and flock management. It is hoped that with improved flock productivity the number of animals will be stable over time. Training material was disseminated to herders along with in-kind incentives (medication for ecto- and endo-parasites…)
  • The Shouf Cedar Society will assist the herders in upgrading and marketing their traditional high valued dairy products (Labni, Sardilli a trade mark of the Barouk region). To that effect the society will acquire refrigerators to be located at different outlets in the reserve to sell the dairy products after proper packaging.
  • The society will also make efforts to integrate the herders in their ecotouristic activities. A base camp of one herder will be transformed into a traditional hospitality rest tent to welcome Reserve visitors.
Table 12. Estimated forage production and carrying capacity for the grazing areas in Niha
Item
Quantity
Estimated forage production 800 kg dry matter/year
Area 38 000 ha
Total usage forage 15 000 tonnes/year given 50% residues
Forage demand

500 kg/head/year

250 kg/head/6 month

Carrying capacity 30 000 head
Actual stocking rate 3 200 head

Recommendations. Based on the several participatory workshops involving all the stakeholders (herders, local rangers, municipality and Al-Shouf Cedar NR) and in the presence of technical consultants, the following were recommended:

-To divide the Niha grazing lands according to proximity from the village considered as a central zone, and including :

  • A nearby zone which is the range lands from Niha village to AlQrah. This land comprises the range land near by the village, beneath and above Al-Qala'a till the end of Wadi AlBatoun, passing through Ain AlHajal till the end of Qabo Aazeebi.
  • An outer zone which is the range lands of Tomat Niha and Al-Aazeebih area. This land comprises the range lands of Al-Toumat, and behind Al-Toumat south in the direction of Deir Al-Mzaeira'a.
  • Area limit of the village extends from the end of Al-Tomat – Jabal AlDalleel to Wadi AlSindian in Ain AlTeeni. This land comprises the limit of Jabal AlDalleel, till Qabo Azeebi to the east and Wadi AlSindiani till Ain Alteeni to the south.

- It was agreed that the zone of the Metkhalileh lands dispersed within the other grazing area should be kept out of the leasing scheme of the municipality and restrict its access.

- The protected areas of the reserve should be completely restricted to grazing.

- The Dallil Mountain should be restricted as well from grazing activities since it contains the buffer zone for the reserve.
- The ranger or the Al Natour should be responsible for monitoring the activities of the shepherds in the area. Increasing the incentives to the rangers will help in enforcing the law and better monitoring of the grazing areas.


The Mediterranean Garden
For hundreds and maybe thousands of years, the Mediterranean rural areas were organized into four major complementary components: the hortus (home gardens planted with fruits, vegetables and different plants), the ager (cereal fields), the silva (the forest where fuel-wood is harvested and where animals often graze) and the saltus (an intermediary space where woodlots, rangelands and temporary crops are often mixed). Cities were then built around major agricultural plains, and intensive agriculture was developed in terraces on the slopes, and irrigation and arboriculture were spread in the region. Some nomads settled down to live a more stable sedentary life (Montgolfier, 2002). The successive historical conflicts and the different periods of foreign occupations that have marked the region had severe consequences on the management and utilization of the land and on the movement of the population. A major evolution was confirmed in the early 1960s with the development of both irrigated agriculture and some specific crops (olives, vines, citrus, fruits, vegetables and flowers). This development has led to a severe pressure on marginal lands which, despite their low yield, were overexploited and later degraded and desertified (Figure 40).

Figure 40. The Agro-sylvo-pastoral system

Since the dawning of humanity, Lebanon has been highly anthropized, so much so that there is probably not a single forest or other wooded land, where there are no clearly visible indications of human activities. The Lebanese landscape is a remarkable example of co-evolution between man and nature. For an optimal conservation, the Lebanese landscapes and the rich biodiversity of their semi-natural milieu require a specific management combining forestry, agriculture and pastoralism (the agro-sylvo-pastoral system of antiquity).

The different ecosystems in Lebanon are subject to several constraints, linked to climate and its irregularities, lands and their narrowness and are strongly affected by the socio-economic conditions. Erosion, drought, inundations, salinization and forest fires add to these constraints. Different solutions were brought to overcome these constraints and difficulties (terraces, collective management of the resources, irrigation schemes…). However, these solutions were very demanding in terms of labour with a relatively low yield. They were therefore not able to survive the 20th century with its demographic, political, technological and socio-economic evolutions.

The abandonment of these good cultural and land management practices, caused by a higher demand under strong economical constraints has led to overexploitation in some parts of the country and to a decrease in agricultural production in some other parts. This had a strong negative impact on the landscape and on the lands: erosion on abandoned terraces, salinization, degradation of the vegetation cover, overgrazing, loss of biodiversity and of landscape diversity, increase in forest fires…however, the abandonment of the cultural practices and the migration from rural areas has also allowed for a “biological recovery” with forests and other wooded lands reinvesting marginal lands and agricultural fields.

Nowadays, the different forms of exploitation have lost their importance in most of the villages. The forest exploitation is no longer viable; agriculture and pastoralism do not constitute a major source of income any more. Pastoralism is no longer perceived as an activity integrated in the rural space, but rather as harm and aggression on the forest and on the natural vegetation. Local inhabitants do not seem to understand yet the importance of ecotourism in the socio-economic development.

The lack of interest in agriculture, forestry and range, and the abandonment of the traditional systems have affected the organization of the landscape and modified the biological dynamics by provoking the reappearance of the forest and later by the enrichment of the area with native animal and plant species. The continued abandonment of agro-sylvo-pastoral activities in the mountains would lead to a progressive closing of the milieu (environment), causing a deep modification of the landscape, an alteration of the biological equilibrium and a loss in biodiversity. The dramatic fires that occur every year and the damages they cause are one of the results of the thick pack of litter and dead biomass accumulating in the woodland.

This situation is only true in part of the Mount-Lebanon Chain. It is the exact opposite in the Bekaa region, in the Anti-Lebanon Chain and in some other parts of the Mount-Lebanon, where overgrazing is the problem, and where this practice has destroyed the landscape by degrading the vegetation cover. In these areas, converting marginal lands into crop production, combined breakdown of traditional grazing rights and the low productivity of the animals have all contributed to overgrazing due to the overstocking of the shrinking rangelands and accelerated the process of land degradation.

In both cases, the mismanagement of grazing and the unsound utilization of the resources are strongly contributing to the destruction and deterioration of this landscape.

Although frequently accused of strongly contributing to the degradation of the natural vegetation in Lebanon, goats have always played an important role in the life and in the survival of the local inhabitants. Unlike sheep and cattle, the local goat is very dynamic and adapted to the landscape. Meat, milk and milk by-products have always provided a good source of proteins to the rural societies all over Lebanon. The fermented goat cheese is one of the countryside products that risks disappearing. Goat meat was the only red meat that was consumed, raw or cooked, until the very recent past.

Both under-grazing and over-grazing are problems of mismanagement, and should be addressed through a participative approach involving the local community groups and all concerned stakeholders, leading to sustainable grazing, utilization and management of the resources. Equilibrium between forests, agriculture, rangelands and other uses should be found in the rural areas, with the integration of some modern dimensions like ecotourism and local industries, and the implementation of social and environmental services. The sound and progressive reintroduction of human activities into the landscape will allow for the re-activation of the local economy while respecting the landscape values and favouring the proper extension of the different components of the landscape.

Recommendations. The progressive disappearance of open spaces and of the traditional agricultural and pastoral practices could cause great losses in biodiversity and agro-biodiversity. The progressive suffocation and the invasion of bushes in the agricultural fields, fruit orchards and open spaces are one of the major causes of the degradation of the landscape. When it is abandoned, the man-built system deteriorates and is no longer able to produce all of its amenities. Man having left and the space being abandoned, a whole page of history disappears, the charm and the mystery of the site deteriorate. The space becomes wild and less welcoming; no one is left to maintain the landscape, cultivate the land and host visitors and tourists.

Managed in a sustainable way, with the participation of the shepherds in the decision-making process, grazing contributes to the conservation of the ecosystems and the promotion of the traditional management. In addition to the income generated by livestock production, the rental of the lands for grazing constitutes a good source of income for the municipalities. Used as a tool for the maintenance of the forest and open spaces, traditional agriculture will allow for the opening of the space, favour the enrichment of the biodiversity and be economically beneficial for a sustainable development policy.

The concept of the Mediterranean garden combining the hortus, ager, silva and saltus allows for the conservation of the landscape and the preservation of the natural, landscape and cultural heritage. Organized tourism, respecting the assets and the richness of the landscape, would valorise the space by adding an element to the functional mosaic. The reintroduction of the traditional management and protection systems like the Hima, would strongly contribute to the sustainability of the ecosystems, combining the forests, agriculture, rangelands and other sustainable activities. This allows for the conservation of the landscape and the preservation of the natural, landscape and cultural heritage (Asmar, 2009).


7. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS AND PERSONNEL
Several projects and initiatives have taken the lead in research related to livestock production, management and conservation (in situ and ex situ) of species, varieties and strains. Seed banks are already available at the national level. The following institutions and organizations are involved (the list may not be comprehensive) in research on, and management of pastures and livestock, and the related legislation.

The Ministry of Agriculture (MOA)
Table 13 summarizes the activities undertaken by the MOA and the departments in charge.

Table 13. Involvement of the MOA in the Livestock and Pastures Sectors
Unit Tasks Control Site
Animal Resources Directorate


 
Department of control of import/export and veterinary quarantine

Control of application of sanitary and technical norms on the import/export of frozen, transformed or fresh meat and animal products and their derivatives

Customs (frontier centres)
Department of economy, industries and marketing

Control of institutions in charge of animal products, industry and transformation

Control of marketing of food products of animal origin (local and imported)

Industries; local market
Department of animal production and husbandry

Definition of technical specifications and norms of milk and milk products

Definition of technical and sanitary norms of dairy products factories; regular control of these factories

Industries and transformation sites
Department of animal health (slaughter houses control section; animal products control section)
Control of all the centres of animal products; control of slaughter houses and conduction of tests on meat; control of dairy production centres Animal products industries
Directorate of Rural Development and Natural Resources
   
Department of food industries
Technical control of food industries of plant or animal origin; control of production and packaging
Food industries
Department of rangelands, protected forests and public gardens

Designation of protected forests against grazing

Regulation and supervision of grazing permits and agreements on municipal lands

Woodlands, rangelands and pastures
Directorate of Studies and Coordination
   
The Lebanese Observatory for Agricultural Development Project Agricultural Census 2010  

The National Centre for Scientific Research (NCSR) and the Remote Sensing Centre

  • Detailed mapping of different data layers of vegetation, land uses, land use change….
  • Establishment of a research station to monitor key issues, such as soil moisture, soil drought tolerance, vegetation index, etc. These data can provide a very good background for the development of grazing management plans.

Saint Joseph University

  • Laboratory on plant genetics, supporting studies on the genetic identification of the reproduction material and plant provenance for native tree species (informal collaboration with MOA).
  • Laboratory for the germination and conservation of seeds aimed at developing protocols for native plant species produced in nurseries.
  • Research on animal production and health, mainly on goats, at the School of Agriculture (Ecole Supérieure des Ingénieurs Agricoles de la Méditerranée – ESIAM)

American University of Beirut

  • Seed bank for ex situ conservation of endemic and endangered wild plants, where reproduction material of native forest species can be stored.
  • Applied research on native species production and plantation techniques.
  • Research on animal production and health.
  • Veterinary School.

Holy Spirit University

  • Research on animal production and health
  • Research on different aspects of vegetation conservation and management

Lebanese University

  • Research on animal production and health
  • Research on different aspects of vegetation conservation and management

Lebanese Agriculture and Research Institute

  • Seed bank for ex situ conservation of endemic and endangered wild plants, where reproduction material of native forest species can be stored.
  • Applied research on animal production and health.

8. REFERENCES

Abi-Said, M. 2004. Rapid grazing assessment (Niha, Jeba'a Mrousti, Khreibeh) – Unpublished.

Abi-Saleh, B. & S. Safi. 1988. Carte de la Végétation du Liban. Ecologia Mediterranean XIV (1/2); Carte de la Végétation du Liban. Ecologia Mediterranean XIV (1/2).

Asmar, F. 2009. The Mediterranean Garden – Unpublished.

CDR (Counsel for Development and Reconstruction). 2004. Schéma Directeur d’Aménagement du Territoir Libanais (SDATL).

Darwish, T. 1999. Mapping of natural resources using remote sensing for soil studies. National Forum on support of remote sensing techniques to planning and decision-making processes for sustainable development. CTM, ERS/RAC, UNEP and CNRS/NCRS. Beirut. 14/10/99: 36-41.

Darwish, T. & Zurayk, R. 1997. Distribution and nature of Red Mediterranean Soils in Lebanon along an altitudinal sequence. CATENA 28 (1997) 191- 202.

FAO. 1999 & 2010. “Lebanese Observatory for Agricultural Development Project”, Agricultural Census 1999 and 2010.

FAO-MOA. 2005 & 2010. FAO – MOA Forest Resources Assessment, 2005 and 2010.

FAO-MOA. 2005b. Forestry Outlook Study for Lebanon.

FAO-MOA. 2005c. Projet d’Assistance au Recensement Agricole – Analyse de Filières.

FAO-UNDP-MOA. 1996. Biological Diversity of Lebanon, Volume 7 (Agricultural and Livestock Habitats and Nature Reserves).

Haddad, G., Nassar, A. & Kahwaji, J. 2010. Effets de la fertilisation phosphatée et du sur-ensemencement des légumineuses sur la production de parcours naturels de la plaine de la Bekaa-Ouest. Lebanese Science Journal, Vol.11, No 2, 63-73.

Hajj, E., Hilan, C., Hanna, S., & Abi Saab, S.. 2007. Vegetation consumed by young goats on rangelands in the Mount Lebanon region; Renc. Rech. Ruminants, 14.

Kayouli, C. 2010. Progress Report of “FAO/UNDP Recovery and Rehabilitation of Dairy Sector in Bekaa Valley and Hermel-Akkar Uplands (LRF-OSRO / LEB / 901 / UNJ)”.

Kharrat, M. 2004. Effet de différentes ressources alimentaires sur les performances laitières des chèvres (Capra hircus) de race baladi en élevage extensif à Ammik – Mémoire de fin d’études ; Taanayel.

Kharrat, M., Hassoun, P. & Bocquier, F. 2008. Comportement et adaptations alimentaires des chèvres Baladi sur différents parcours de la Békaa (3) Renc. Rech. Ruminants, 15.

Khazaal, K. 2005. Small ruminant breeds of Lebanon. (L. IŇIGUEZ editor). Characterization of small ruminant breeds in West Asia and North Africa, Volume 1: West Asia. ICARDA (The International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas), Aleppo, Syria, pp.155-181.

Montgolfier , de, J. 2002. Les Espaces Boisés Méditerranéens, Situation et Perspectives – Les Fascicules du Plan Bleu (12) – Economica – Plan Bleu, 2002.
SPNL. 2007. Results of the regional workshop: A Road Map Towards More Equitable Conservation and Poverty Reduction in West Central Asia and North Africa (WESCANA) Region Using Traditional Approaches. Lebanon.

Tohmé, G. & Tohmé, H. 2007. Illustrated Flora of Lebanon. CNRS.

Verdeil, E. , Faour, Gh. & Velut, S. 2007. Atlas du Liban, Collections Electroniques de l’IFPO ; www.ifpo.revues.org .

Walley, C. D. 1998. The Geology of Lebanon. Some outstanding issues in the geology of Lebanon and their importance in the tectonic evolution of the Levantine region. Tectonophysics, 298, 1-3, 37-62. Also available at: http://ddc.aub.edu.lb/projects/geology/geology-of-lebanon

[Photos are by the author unless indicated otherwise]


9. CONTACTS

Fady R. Asmar
Agriculture Engineer; Management of Mediterranean Ecosystems (MSc)
Beirut, Lebanon.
E-mail: < fady.asmar@hotmail.com >
Phone No. +961 3 259818

[The profile was completed in July/August 2011 and edited by S.G. Reynolds, J.M. Suttie, and Dost Muhammad in August 2011].