Sustainable Land Management in the Qaraoun Catchment
The Qaraoun catchment is a critical source of water for urban use and food production, an important source of ecosystem services and a habitat for threatened biodiversity. But notwithstanding this significance, the catchment suffers from accelerating land degradation, which is undermining ecosystem functions and derivative services. Land degradation is attributable to historic deforestation, excessive firewood collection, overgrazing, expansion of urban settlements, and inappropriate infrastructure placement.
As noted by the National Action Programme to Combat Desertification , development and productivity are essential but should not be at the expense of the environment and the project is designed to engineer a paradigm shift from unsustainable to sustainable land management in the Qaraoun Catchment.
Achivements & Expected results
The project will promote an integrated approach towards fostering sustainable land management – seeking to balance environmental management with development needs. Amongst other things, it will set-up a multi-sector planning platform to balance competing environmental, social and economic objectives in district development plans and associated investments.
In doing so, it will reduce conflicting land-uses and improve the sustainability of land management so as to maintain the flow of vital ecosystem services and sustain the livelihoods of local and downstream communities.
Land use plans will be underpinned by a robust decision support system, including a Strategic Environmental Assessment, and a monitoring framework which will inform the planning process, development investments and enforcement.
This will help determine where development should be avoided (in the most ecologically sensitive areas), where and how impacts should be reduced, and where and how land should be rehabilitated. The project will also adapt land use practices in different economic sectors – testing new land management measures to reduce environmental stress.
The implementation will mainly focus on West Bekaa, Zahle and Rachaya Districts