Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL)
Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL) is the BirdLife PartnerFounded in: 1984
Address: Awad Bldg, 6th Floor, Abdel Aziz Street, P.O.Box: 11-5665, Beirut, Lebanon
Mission of the organisation
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL) was initiated in 1983 and was officially recognized by the Ministry of Interior in 1986. SPNL, the BirdLife national partner in Lebanon, aims at protecting nature, birds and biodiversity in Lebanon and to ensure sustainable use of natural resources through reviving the concept of Al Hima. As a national environmental NGO in Lebanon, SPNL contributes to both raising awareness on environmental issues and concretely protecting natural areas in Lebanon.
SPNL bases its work on sound science and passionate commitment, which through transparent and democratic processes, leads to a well-informed public. SPNL strives to advocate a better quality of life for people and nature, through conserving sites, protecting species, and assuring sustainability.
- Produced three new video films (10 minutes each) and created six TV spots to promote the conservation of four protected IBAs (Arz Al Chouf, Horj Ehden, Aammiq swamps and Palm Islands Reserve) and one protected area (Tyre Reserve)
- Assists the Ministry of Environment in the preparation of the Ramsar Information sheets (RIS) for three Wetland Sites: Palm Islands, Tyre beach and Aammiq wetlands
- Assists the Ministry of Environment in the preparation of the list of Lebanon’s Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI)
- On the occasion of the Earth Day SPNL organised a field trip to Qammouha (forests of fir, Juniperus and oak trees) in north Lebanon at an altitude of 1850 m. 43 participated in of experts and university students in sensitising the local community through bird-watching and cleaning the area
- The BirdLife coordinator of SPNL met with the Head of the Lebanese Army to thank him for all he has done to enforce the law on hunting in Lebanon
- Organized several environmental awareness campaigns and conducted training courses on environmental education through the SPNL’s Environment Information Center (EIC)
- Produced over 50 press releases promoting the conservation of birds and giving news on BirdLife activities and meetings
- Participated in two television debates on hunting at Télé Lumière (July) and Télé Liban (September)
- Contributed technically and scientifically to the production of a poster for three IBAs in Lebanon (one poster for each)
- Contributed with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Environment drafting a new national law for hunting
- In cooperation with Green Line NGO, the SPNL prepared a manual for monitoring biodiversity (including birds) in the Protected Areas of Lebanon
- In cooperation with Green Line NGO, the SPNL conducted 3 workshops on monitoring birds in 3 IBAs
- The SPNL conducted field bird studies in 3 new Protected Areas (Tannourine, Yammouneh and Bentael)
- SPNL, in cooperation with NCSR (National Council for Scientific Research), developed lists of priority key bird species in 5 Protected Areas (Palm Islands, Horj Ehden, Arz Shouf, Aammiq Swamps and Tyre Beach Reserves)
- SPNL organized a bird watching campaign for migratory raptors and soaringbirds on the east-west transect in Northern Lebanon
- SPNL coordinated its efforts with the LEF( Lebanese Environmental Forum) in order to update and enforce the law on hunting
- SPNL participated in the first Arabian Ornithological Conservation Conference held in Bharain following an invitation from H.H. Prince of Bahrain. It also included a visit to the Hawar Islands where breeding Socotra Cormorant and Sooty Falcon were recorded with sightings of other birds
- SPNL met with the Head of the Lebanese Army, General Michel Sleiman, to thank him once again for his support in enforcing the law on hunting, and for stopping the poaching on the bird population in Lebanon. The General showed his support nature and birds for a better future
- The EIC of SPNL launched a project called "Awareness Campaign for Four Protected Areas"
Recent Achievements1. Sustainable Use and Management of Natural Resources:
- Hima Revival:
Adoption of Motion 122, for promoting and supporting community based resource management and conservation (including Al Hima), by the IUCN during its 5th World Conservation Congress in Jeju- South Korea during September 2012, which was co-presented by SPNL and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water in Austria.
Initiated 6 Himas in Lebanon up to this date in collaboration with municipalities, which are included in the 15 globally approved IBAs in Lebanon by BirdLife International. These Himas are Ebel es-Saqi, Kfar Zabad & Anjar, Qoleileh & Mansouri, and Upper Akkar.
Hima approach is adopted by the Ministry of Environment in Lebanon within its new draft decree for protected area management.
Successfully lobbied in partnership with the Friends of Environment Center for the initiation of the Hima Fund, approved by Qatar. Five countries already received grants for the Hima revival and conservation of endangered species.
Adoption of the Hima Revival concept by WANA in 2009, as presented by SPNL. It later evolved into Global Hima with linkage to peace and social cohesion.
Published “Hima: A Way of Life” that links the Hima to poverty alleviation and equity in partnership with IUCN in 2007. Also published with BirdLife a booklet linking Al Hima to IBA conservation.
- Sustainable Hunting:
Participated in several regional workshops USFS, UNDP, and BirdLife, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, which produced the new hunting law in Lebanon.
Published “The Hunter Guide” in October 2012, to prepare hunters for the hunting exam in order to acquire a hunting license.
Prepared GIS maps for hunting hot spots, migratory soaring birds flyway, location of bottlenecks, IBAs, Nature Reserves, and game breeding farms.
Organized bird identification workshops for the law enforcement officers, so that they get acquainted with the new Lebanese hunting law.
Organized training workshop to educators from Educational Center for Research and Development on the use of the “Sustainable Hunting Educational CD” addressed to students age group 8 – 12 years of old.
Prepared a national plan on existing shooting clubs, private hunting reserves, game bird breeding farms, protected sites, and potential private and public hunting areas
Prepared a pre and post survey on the relation of hunting to the livelihood of people, assessing the impact of awareness activities.
Landscape design for the Anjar–Kfar Zabad Hima to become an eco-touristic site. The aim of the design is to provide an easy access and exit to the Hima, and divide the site into different activity areas, allowing sustainable use of the Hima within carrying capacity.
Published a map for ecotourism activities in Anjar.
Launched a workshop with the Ministry of Tourism, Eco-Tour Operators, UNDP, and Birdlife to develop an ecotourism strategy and plan for Lebanon.
2. IBA/KBA Conservation:
Conservation and Monitoring of IBAs:
Initiated Lebanon’s IBA program and activities in partnership with BirdLife International in 2002 under the patronage of the First Lady, in the following areas: Al Shouf Cedars, Ehden Forest, Palm Islands, and Ammiq Wetlands.
Resumed Lebanon’s IBA full inventory in partnership with AROCHA and funded by MAVA from 2005 to 2008. 43 sites were potential IBAs for study, out of which only 15 were officially identified for Lebanon by SPNL and approved by BirdLife International.
As some IBAs are on municipal lands, hence SPNL advocated and practiced the Hima approach in these areas. The 1st was at Ebel es-Saqi (2004), followed by Hima Kfarzabad Wetlands (2004), and Anjar Wetlands (2008), Qoleileh marine Hima (2007), and Mansouri marine Hima (2008), and lastly Upper Akkar (December 2009) and Andaket (July 2012).
Published the Hima/IBA strategy booklet in partnership with BirdLife International in 2008.
- Capacity Building:
Organized workshops on different community levels to promote sustainability and conservation in the IBAs/KBAs.
- Awareness and Outreach Campaigns:
Such as “The Secret of Migration and Forests of Hope” Festival in Anjar in October 2012, which targeted children via educational and outdoor activities in an attempt to expose them to the nature of the Anjar Hima and to understand the importance of the location for the conservation of globally endangered species such as the Syrian Serin.
I. Future Projects:
- Landscape design for the Qoleileh Hima in South Lebanon, and gradually proceeding to all the other Himas in Lebanon.
- Propose public hunting areas (PHAs) for sustainable hunting, with a monitoring plan in 2013.
- Working closely with MedWet and MAVA Foundation, to emphasize linkage for cultural and natural heritage using the Hima approach.
- Gender Equality and women empowerment in three Himas (Anjar, Kfarzabad, and Upper Akkar) in order to enhance the livelihood of rural women via the Hima approach.
- Develop & publish the “State of Birds & IBAs in Lebanon”.