Green List

Al Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve
محمية أرز الشوف


First Listed



Why is it Green Listed?

The Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve is the largest of Lebanon nature reserves, Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve stretches from Dahr Al-Baidar in the north to Niha Mountain in the south. The reserve hosts 32 species of wild mammals of which 9 are considered to be rare at the international levels.

Blanketed with oak forests on its northeastern slopes and juniper and oak forests on its southeastern slopes the reserves most famous attractions are its three magnificent cedar forests of Maasser Al-Shouf , Barouk and Ain Zhalta – Bmohary . These Cedar forests account for a quarter of the remaining cedar forest in Lebanon , and some tress are estimated to be 2,000 years old. The size of the reserve makes it a good location for the conservation of medium size mammals such as the wolf and the Lebanese jungle cat, as well as various species of mountain and plants.

“Despite the similarities between the reserves in the Arab countries, and their contribution in preserving nature and conserving biodiversity, the Shouf Biosphere Reserve (SBR) remains unique in terms of facing challenges, managing ecosystems and inspiring the local community. The SBR encourages all other reserves to learn from its experience, exchange expertise and empower people to preserve nature.”

James Hardcastle , Green List Programme Coordinator at IUCN

Major Site Values

The list of Shouf Biosphere Reserve species includes 436 identified plant species distributed over 61 families. The reserve provides habitat to 25 internationally and nationally threatened species, 48 endemic to Lebanon (Lebanon/Syria/Turkey), 14 rare species, whilst 214 species are restricted to the Eastern Mediterranean/Middle East area. 

The Shouf Biosphere Reserve is most famous for hosting one of the largest stands of Lebanese cedar (Cedrus libani) in the country. The reserve hosts about 620 hectares of cedar forest, which are largely confined to the steeper and less accessible areas, and represents the natural southern limit of this tree. The Shouf is a nexus of many cultures, religions, and historical events all of which have left an imprint that makes the area’s cultural heritage as rich as its ecosystems.

“It was an important milestone for the Shouf Biosphere Reserve to be certified for effective management and fair governance, culminating long years of hard work that started with the creation of the Reserve in 1996.It was chosen after making sure that it is achieving what it was set up to do, which is maintaining the biodiversity in partnership with local community. The SBR proved that international guidelines and principles on ecosystem management and sustainable development goals can be implemented at the local level. It will inspire local communities, investors and decision makers to protect nature and its resources”

Nizar Hani, General Director of the Shouf Biosphere Reserve

Site Attributes



UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve

IUCN Category

Year Established

Marine Protected Area

Governance Type
Non-profit organisations

Site Manager
Lina Sarkis


EAGL Evaluation

GL Committee Submission

EAGL Chair
Mohammed Zaarour

ASI Reviewer
Mounia Essefiani

Site Summary

The Shouf Biosphere Reserve (SBR) lies at an altitude ranging from 1200 to 1980 meters. It is located along a mountain range known as the Barouk Mountain, a southern extension of the Mount Lebanon Range, which runs parallel to the Mediterranean coast. The Beirut-Damascus highway and the town of Jezzine define the northern and southern borders of the reserve. The overall SBR biosphere covers an area of about 500 square km. that is equivalent to about 5% of Lebanon.  

Conservation Summary

EAGL statement:

  • The EAGL unanimously agreed that Al Shouf Cedar Reserve meets all the criteria for the IUCN Green List, and recommend the site to the Green List Committee for consideration. The EAGL recommends that the following condition are put in place for the Green List phase: 
    – Demonstrate that a gender policy has been put in place, based on the current gender assessment study that is ongoing. 
    – Improve the monitoring system for major site values, to include a combined monitoring plan with better defined performance measures for each major natural value (Indicator 3.7.1 and 3.7.2) 
    For both conditions, an action plan for developing an improved monitoring system and a gender policy should be presented to the EAGL within 3 months, for a completion date for both conditions before 1st January 2020. Finally, the WDPA identification needs to be resolved by the Ministry of Environment by the time of the next review.

Reviewer statement:

  • The Reviewer validates the site Green Listing process as being in overall conformity with the User Manual’s rules and procedures, with a few observations: 
    – There were a few procedural deviations by the EAGL members evaluating the site performance during the Application Phase assessment process (see Reviewer feedback on Site Visit schedule and Application Phase Reviewer Verification) 
    – After the site visit, the EAGL visiting members assessed following indicators either as “mostly” or “marginally” met : 1.3.1; 1.3.4; 2.3.1 ; 3.7.1 ; 3.7.2 ; 4.1.1; 4.2.1, as confirmed in the site visit report submitted on the 9th of October . Although the candidate site is not fully meeting all GL Indicators, the EAGL discussion on the site performance (October 11) concluded with the EAGL reaching consensus that the site meets all GL Criteria. This is a deviation from the User Manual that outlines that “The PA shall be recommended for Green Listing if the EAGL reaches consensus that it meets all approved Adapted Indicators” . The site visit report was reviewed by the EAGL to reflect the outcomes of their discussion and their recommendations and/or conditions for the above-mentioned Indicators. As the EAGL’s criteria approach (vs Indicators) is transparently reflected in the EAGL statement as the basis for the site recommendation for the Green List, the Reviewer respects the EAGL’s recommendation for Green Listing and submits the site to the Green List Committee for their final decision.
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