Nature and Biosphere Reserves

Nature and biosphere reserves are protected areas that provide natural habitats for various wildlife, flora, and fauna, and might contain historically-significant geological or archeological remains. Lebanon’s Environment Ministry is proud to be safeguarding 14 nature reserves and three biosphere reserves. Besides working against industrial encroachment and environmental deterioration, these reserves memorialize what is left of Lebanon’s natural wealth and attract tourists from around the world.

 

Lebanon’s reserves boast a rich and diverse wealth of flora and fauna, with over 370 species of residing and migratory birds, over 2,000 types of endemic Lebanese plants – some of which serve medicinal and nutritious, others aesthetic and aromatic purposes – and around 57 species of mammals, including wolves, hyenas, wildcats, porcupines, and squirrels.

 

But perhaps the reserves’ most prized possessions are the ancient cedar forests, which are emblazoned on the national flag. Within and beyond Lebanon’s reserves, the cedars cover an area of 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres) and fall into 12 main forests: Al-Qammouah (protected site), Ehden (nature reserve), Bcharreh (nature reserve), Tannourine (nature reserve), Hadath al-Jebbeh, Jaj (nature reserve), Ain Zhalta, Bmuhray, Barouk, and Maaser al-Chouf. Plans are currently underway to include other reserves in the national network of nature reserves in Lebanon.



The nature and biospehre reserves from North to South Lebanon are:

  1. Ehden Forest Nature Reserve (Horsh Ehden)
  2. The Palm Islands Park and Nature Reserve (aka Rabbit's Island)
  3. Tannourine Cedars Forest Nature Reserve
  4. Mshaa Chnanir Nature Reserve
  5. Bentael Nature Reserve – Jbeil
  6. Yammouneh Nature Reserve
  7. The Chouf Biosphere Reserve (including the Chouf Cedars Nature Reserve and Aammiq Wetlands)
  8. Tyre Coast Nature Reserve
  9. Wadi Hujeir Reserve
  10. The nature reserves of Ramia, Kafra, Beit Leef, and Debel
  11. Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve
  12. Jabal el-Rihane Biosphere Reserve
  13. Karm Chbat Nature Reserve
     

In addition to nature and biosphere reserves, there are 28 protected forests and 17 natural sites in Lebanon.

 

Moreover, there are four Ramsar classified wetlands in Lebanon that are vital natural sanctuaries for aquatic birds: Ras Chekaa, Ammiq swamp, the two nature reserves of Palm Islands and Tyre, in addition to 15 important bird sites, and five others that fall under the World Heritage List, including Qadisha Valley, which is considered a world cultural landscape.

 
The protected areas - especially the nature reserves - are crucial for protecting natural resources and maintaining bio-diversity. They also nurture local development as they attract many visitors who carry out eco-tourist activities, which in turn raises the income of towns and villages in the reserves’ vicinities.


Local committees and teams manage ecotourism activities in coordination and cooperation with national partners, operators and firms. At the reserves, guest house owners offer accommodation and meals to tourists and local guides are available to accompany visitors and provide them with valuable information besides ensuring their safety.

 

Things to do

Niha Fortress

Part of the Chouf Reserve, Niha Fortress is an eclectic site, and while perfectly safe, not necessarily for the faint of heart. The ancient fortress...

Yammouneh Nature Reserve

The Yammouneh Nature Reserve lies on an eastern slope between mountains Makmel and Mnaytra. It abounds with water, feeding 84 natural springs, four...

Wadi al-Hujeir Nature Reserve

Located in the Marjeyoun District in Nabatieh, Wadi al-Hujeir National Reserve was approved and established in 2010. It stretches from the Litani...

Tyre Coast Nature Reserve

This nature reserve in South Lebanon covers the finest sandy beaches in the country. It was declared a wetland according to the Ramsar Agreement as...

The Chouf Biosphere Reserve

In July 2005, UNESCO declared the Chouf Cedar Nature Reserve a "Biosphere Reserve" with an area of approximately 50,000 hectares, or 5% of the total...

Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve

The Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve (JMBR) is a unique melting pot of biodiversity and history, located in Kesrouan District. Jabal Moussa and its...

Horsh Ehden Reserve

Ehden Forest (Horsh Ehden) is located along the northern slopes of Mount Lebanon’s western range. This nature reserve protects many rare plants like...

Chnanir Nature Reserve

This nature reserve covers the public domains around the village of Chnanir in the Kesrouan District. It was established in 2010 and is surrounded by...

Bekaa

Yammouneh Nature Reserve

The Yammouneh Nature Reserve lies on an eastern slope between mountains Makmel and Mnaytra. It abounds with water, feeding 84 natural springs, four...

Nabatieh

Wadi al-Hujeir Nature Reserve

Located in the Marjeyoun District in Nabatieh, Wadi al-Hujeir National Reserve was approved and established in 2010. It stretches from the Litani...

North Lebanon

Horsh Ehden Reserve

Ehden Forest (Horsh Ehden) is located along the northern slopes of Mount Lebanon’s western range. This nature reserve protects many rare plants like...

Tannourine Cedar Forest Reserve

The cedar forest in Tannourine is one of Lebanon’s largest nature reserves. It is so dense that the interlocking trees therein cover most of the...

Palm Islands Nature Reserve

The Palm Islands Nature Reserve is a cluster of three small limestone islands a few miles off the coast of Tripoli. They have some ancient remains,...

Mount Lebanon

Niha Fortress

Part of the Chouf Reserve, Niha Fortress is an eclectic site, and while perfectly safe, not necessarily for the faint of heart. The ancient fortress...

The Chouf Biosphere Reserve

In July 2005, UNESCO declared the Chouf Cedar Nature Reserve a "Biosphere Reserve" with an area of approximately 50,000 hectares, or 5% of the total...

Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve

The Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve (JMBR) is a unique melting pot of biodiversity and history, located in Kesrouan District. Jabal Moussa and its...

Chnanir Nature Reserve

This nature reserve covers the public domains around the village of Chnanir in the Kesrouan District. It was established in 2010 and is surrounded by...

Bentael Nature Reserve

Tucked away along the foothills northeast of Byblos lies Bentael, one of Lebanon’s first nature reserves. It may be one of the smaller protected...

South Lebanon

Tyre Coast Nature Reserve

This nature reserve in South Lebanon covers the finest sandy beaches in the country. It was declared a wetland according to the Ramsar Agreement as...