Cedars of the Lord

Image by Melissa Chimera.

The following information is from the website for the Shouf Cedar Reserve.

The largest of Lebanon nature reserves, Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve stretches from Dahr Al-Baidar in the north to Niha Mountain in the south. blanketed with oak forests on its northeastern slopes and juniper and oak forests on its southeastern slopes the reserve’s most famous attractions are its three magnificent cedar forests of Maasser Al-Shouf , Barouk and Ain Zhalta – Bmohary . These Cedar forests account for a quarter of the remaining cedar forest in Lebanon , and some tress are estimated to be 2,000 years old. The size of the reserve makes it a good location for the conservation of medium size mammals such as the wolf and the Lebanese jungle cat, as well as various species of mountain and plants.

The Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve is a popular destination for hiking and trekking, with trails matching all levels of fitness. Bird watching, mountain biking and snow shoeing are also popular. From the summit of the rugged mountains, visitors will have a panoramic view of the countryside, eastward to the Beqa’a Valley and Qaraoun Lake, and westward toward the Mediterranean.

Shouf Biosphere Reserve overview
The Shouf Biosphere Reserve (SBR) was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2005. Within the Biosphere Reserve is the Al-Shouf Cedar Reserve (the largest in Lebanon) which was declared a protected area by law in 1996 by the Government of Lebanon. Tourism is a major activity in the Shouf Biosphere Reserve. Visitors arrive at one of four entrances namely: Barouk Cedar Forest, Maaser Cedar Forest, Ain-Zahalta/Bmohrai Cedar Forest and Niha Fort.

The Shouf Biosphere Reserve covers about 5% of the overall area of Lebanon and extends along the ridge of the western chain of Mount Lebanon from Dahr-el Baidar in the north to Jezzine in the south and overlooks both the Bekaa valley to the east and Shouf region to the west.

The Shouf Biosphere Reserve includes twenty four (24) villages and two
protected areas, Al-Shouf Cedar Reserve and Ammiq Wetland, both of which are fast becoming major natural attractions for Lebanon and the region. The altitude of the Reserve varies from about 1000 meters to about 2000 meters above sea level and encompasses a number of important vegetative zones.

The Shouf Biosphere Reserve represents one of the few remaining natural landscapes of Mount Lebanon that were described in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Old Testament as well as in countless documents throughout history.

SBR is managed by Al- Shouf Cedar Society (ACS), which was established in 1994. ACS founds and manages the Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve (ACR) since 1996 in cooperation with Governmental Appointed Committee and under the umbrella of Ministry of Environment.

This image and the one below are from Adele Ne Jame.


One thought on “Cedars of the Lord

  1. These photos were taken in March 2009 by Melissa during our first trip to Lebanon and my father’s village in Maasser just below the Chouf reserve. It was closed as the trails were still covered with snow, but our host, who had grown up in the village took us in anyway. That hike among these ancient trees was the most amazing and memorable of my life. I went back again last summer, but winter remains my favorite season there. It is heartening to know that people of like mind are working in places all over the world to save trees and our delicate biosphere.

    Thanks, Pat for including these and for this beautiful site!

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