Saint Joseph University (USJ), ECOPLANTMED project partner in Lebanon, held a dissemination event about “Planting native species: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES” at the Faculty of Science, on Wednesday December 3rd, 2014.
The event was opened by the Vice Dean, Prof. Richard Maroun on behalf of Prof. Rizk, the Dean of the Faculty of Science, Saint Joseph University. He welcomed all participants and emphasised the importance of increasing students’ attention on the environment and the biodiversity of Lebanon. Participants of this event were representatives of municipalities, plant nursery owners and landscapers. USJ tried to create a network between them in order to valorize plant native species of Lebanon.
The first presentation, “Lebanon Biodiversity and its Native plants” by Dr. Magda BOU DAGHER KHARRAT, Head of the Biology Department at Saint Joseph University and ECOPLANTMED project coordinator in Lebanon, gave an overview on the history of native plant species of Lebanon and all the environmental and geological aspects that affected them throughout time in order to achieve the actual combination of native species and high diversity. Also, Dr. Bou Dagher, highlighted the difference between native, exotic, invasive, endemic and patrimonial species. Finally, Dr. Bou Dagher placed emphasis on the importance of the sustainable use and the valorisation of plant native species.
The second presentation, “Cooperative of Native Tree Producers of Lebanon” by its President Mr. Maroun AZIZ, provided a brief outline about the cooperative of Native Tree Producers of Lebanon and their objective. Then, he highlighted the cultivation methods in greenhouses and all aspects that affect plant survival. This was followed by information on irrigation systems, fertilization and container size optimal for each species. In addition, Mr. Aziz made a comparison between the old and the new cultivation techniques in the greenhouse and he emphasised the advantages of the new technique regarding the plant survival rate and its economic advantages. Finally, Mr. Aziz presented practical achievements of using the new cultivation technique which results in an increase in the cultivation number and plant survival rate.
The third presentation,“EcoplantMed: ECOlogical use of native PLANTs for environmental restoration and sustainable development in the MEDiterranean region” was given by Ms. Perla FARHAT, Research Assistant of the ECOPLANTMED project. Ms. Farhat presented an overview of the ECOPLANTMED project regarding the project beneficiary and partners, the main objective and a brief description of each work package, emphasising the role of the Lebanese team where Ms. Farhat discussed the ecological restoration application in Lebanon regarding the pilot site, the species utilized, the plantation design and the implementation in the site.
The 4th presentation,“Native Plants in landscaping’’, was given by Mr. Fady ASMAR. Mr. Asmar presented the actual situation of Lebanese landscapes; their challenges and problems. Also, he suggested the idea of ‘’the Mediterranean garden’’ where an equilibrium between forests, agriculture, rangelands and other activities can be achieved in order to allow the conservation and preservation of the natural landscape and the cultural heritage. Also, Mr. Asmar placed emphasis on the sustainable usage of native species in landscaping in order to create an identity for the Lebanese parks, gardens and lands. Mr. Asmar explained the role of each stakeholder involved (laboratory, nursery, landscaper, municipality) and he mentioned the challenges and risks of this usage. Finally, Mr. Asmar presented pictures of some native species of Lebanon highlighting their endless beauty.
Presentations were followed by an open discussion with the attending audience to ensure a proper hearing of demands, and the involvement of the different target groups.