Lebanon’s favorable geographic location in the Mediterranean is considered to be a biodiversity ‘hotspot’. Lebanon hosts 0.8 percent of the world’s species and 12 percent of endemic terrestrial and marine plant species, on a land area of 0.007 percent of the world. To protect this richness, Lebanon has created 15 nature reserves, 3 biosphere reserves, 16 protected forests, 16 protected natural sites or landscapes, 4 Ramsar sites, 5 world heritage sites, and 15 important bird areas.
Forests cover about 13 percent of the country and other wooded lands cover 10 percent. Lebanon’s second National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (2016–2030) (endorsed by the Cabinet in April 2018) aims to increase nature reserves to five percent of its territory by 2030 and increase natural terrestrial and marine ecosystems within the protected areas network to 20 percent. The strategy addresses Lebanon’s obligations under international conventions, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, considers global and local needs and aspirations.
The Lebanese government has several programs to restore forests including the National Action Plan to Combat Desertification, the National Afforestation and Reforestation Programme and the 40 Million Trees Programme. Other projects that target biodiversity conservation have also been implemented.