Lebanon lies within an important centre of flowering plant biodiversity, with approximately 2,600 species and an endemism rate of 12%. Around 365 medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) are found and utilised in Lebanon. The MAP and herb domestic markets are worth approximately US$35 millions per year and wild stocks supply
approximately 98% of the MAP markets. The collection of wild stocks now threatens the conservation of globally significant MAP biodiversity. The project idea is that non-destructive harvests, together with income generated by MAP business opportunities for local people, will maintain the wild stocks of at least 6 globally significant MAP species that are commercially traded and threatened by current harvesting practices.
The project will create incentives for local communities to sustainably manage the wild stocks by ensuring the increased financial returns flow to the guardians of wild MAP stocks and are directly linked to sustainable harvest and management practices. The project will introduce a sustainable management regime for 800 tons annually of the target species. For this purpose, the project will support both the establishment of 7-10 community-based MAP-MSEs, and value-added production systems. At the end of the project, over 8 value-added products made from sustainably harvested MAPs will be available, using at least 300 tons of raw materials.
- Appropriate collection methods ensure a viable long-term
supply of raw materials of globally significant MAP species.
- Value-added processing and product improvement result in increased value of globally significant MAPs harvested in biodiversity-friendly manner.
- Supply chain framework strengthened for sustainable harvest of globally significant MAP species and awareness promoted for conservation-friendly MAP products.
- Establishment of community-based pre-processing Small Enterprises (SE) for MAPs.
- Development and implementation of a certification system for sustainable wild harvesting.
- Development and implementation of sustainable wild harvesting standards that incorporate ecological, social and economic aspects.
- Training for local collectors on sustainable harvesting techniques of MAPs.
- Regulative framework put in place for MAP collection, processing and trade.
- Consumer awareness enhanced on the importance of certified MAP products.
- Increased awareness at the national level on the importance of MAP conservation and sustainable use.
- Technical assistance provided to market-based trading companies and to the community-based SEs.
- Locally processed MAP products branded.
- Establishment of a MAP association as a national regulatory body for MAPs.
- Verified and updated national data related to the MAP sector.
- Conducted field investigations in over 100 villages/sites and met with local community members and local authorities.
- Conducted meetings with relevant stakeholders (Ministries, private sector, NGO, religious orders, mills, herbal shops, middle men, collectors, etc.).
- Identified potential project sites with suitable harvesting areas, collectors as well as small enterprises.
- Finalized the recruitment of the international MAP expert and national conservation experts.