Plant Sociology 54 (1) S1 2017

pag. 3-3: Letter of the Guest Editor


Department of Life and Earth Science, Saint Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon

pag. 5-10: The relevance of genetic considerations to ensure effective forest restoration

M. Bozzano

EUFORGEN Coordinator, Bioversity International, via dei Tre Denari 472a, 00057 Maccarese, Fiumicino (RM), Italy

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541S1/01

Forest restoration could play a crucial role in ensuring the ecological stability of very fragile ecosystems in the Mediterranean, where rural populations still depend on the environment. Many past restoration efforts did not achieve their expected impacts for a variety of reasons, this paper focuses on one of these: the lack of attention to the genetic diversity of forest reproductive material (FRM) initially used. This paper presents the main factors to be considered, namely (i) the genetic suitability of FRM to the site, (ii) the nature and size of the genetic pool used to supply FRM and (iii) the regeneration potential of the restored forest. In addition, it presents the rationale for a longer timeframe during which key decisions and practical activities in the restoration process take place as crucial for successful ecosystem restoration. The scale of restoration envisaged by many recent international targets would vastly increase the ecological and economic value of currently degraded lands. However, in order to be successful in creating adaptable, self-sustaining ecosystems, it is essential that forest restoration pays more attention to the genetic composition and provenance of the forest reproductive material used. In order to improve the likelihood of success, the paper concludes by presenting some key policy recommendations for the use of forest genetic resources in forest ecosystem restoration.

pag. 11-18: Beech-wood restoration in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park (central Apennines, Italy)

A.R. Frattaroli1, G. Pirone1, V. Di Cecco1, C. Console2, F. Contu3 & R. Mercurio3

1Department of Life Health and Environmental Sciences, University of L’Aquila, Via Vetoio Loc. Coppito, 67100 L’Aquila, Italy.

2Italian Carabinieri-Forest Corps, Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park, Loc. Fonte Cerreto, 67100 L’Aquila, Italy.

3Italian Society of Forest Restoration (SIRF), c/o Department of Agriculture, Forests, Nature and Energy (D.A.F.N.E.), Via S. Camillo de Lellis, 01100 Viterbo, Italy. doi: 10.7338/pls2017541S1/02

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541S1/02

Beech-wood (Fagus sylvatica L.) restoration in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park (central Italy) started in 2001, in areas that were degraded by overgrazing and overexploitation, which had led to the fragmentation and degradation of the beech woods. The objectives of the ecological restoration were to reverse the fragmentation through the re-activation of the ecological functionality of the forest system. Some innovative criteria were introduced concerning the modification of the Miyawaki method, using a few tree species and involving a low mechanisation of all the planting and tending operations. In the experimental area, the vegetation restoration started with successional tree species that belonged to the same vegetation series, of the association Actaeo spicatae-Fagetum sylvaticae. The cultural tecnique followed the criteria of sustainability from the ecological, social and economic points of view. The results 14 years after the planting show: (i) Prunus aviumBetula albaSalix caprea and Populus tremula as the tree species with greatest growth; (ii) High survival rates and good vitality status for all of the planted trees, except for some damage caused by wild herbivores (eating and stripping of the bark), and by recent snowfalls; and (iii) Some species fruiting (Prunus aviumAcer pseudoplatanusSorbus aucuparia and Sorbus aria), and evidence of relatively frequent natural regeneration. Analysis of the flora shows that the situation is still very similar to the initial conditions, with prevalence of species of secondary pastures dominated by Brachypodium rupestre (Brometalia erectii), and with the stand crown cover at 80%. On the contrary, where the stand crown cover had reached 100%, there were some nemoral species in the herbaceous layer, of Fagetalia sylvaticae. With these generally good results, this experience reveals some open aspects relating to enhancing forest restoration in protected areas, as the need for: (1) Control of the game population; (2) Identification of the local provenances of all of the species that are used in future forest restoration activities; (3) Production of nursery material of high quality; and (4) Initial stocking density >1100 ha–1.

pag. 19-27: Root adaptive management for improving plant quality and field performance under drought: experiences with native tree species from a South American Mediterranean-type ecosystem

J.F. Ovalle1, R. Ginocchio1,2, E.C. Arellano1,2 & P. Valenzuela2

1Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Center of Applied Ecology & Sustainability (CAPES-UC), Avenida Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins 340, Santiago, Chile.

2Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Facultad de Agronomía e Ingeniería Forestal, Departamento de Ecosistemas y Medio Ambiente, Avenida Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Santiago, Chile.

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541S1/03

Plant quality attributes have been widely studied for numerous tree species inhabiting the Mediterranean Basin, resulting in a positive impact on restoration success in degraded forest ecosystems. However, there has been less research on root morphological attributes, especially of native tree species in South American Mediterranean-type ecosystems, which are currently subject to unprecedented drought events and degradation. We summarize experiments examining the use of root adaptive management during the nursery and field stages for improving plant quality and seedling performance under water-limited conditions in central Chile. The first experiment (E-1) evaluated the effect of controlled-drought regimens on root development and seedling performance of two tree species (Quillaja saponaria and Cryptocarya alba) with contrasting root growth strategies. The E-1 results confirmed the importance of considering the root growth strategy as a criterion in the selection of species and watering decisions. The second experiment (E-2) assessed the effect of increasing fertilization doses in the nursery on Q. saponaria root morphology 1 year after planting seedlings in the field. The results showed that, as a result of nutrient deprivation, small plants with a greater stem diameter and lower shoot:root ratio contributed to improving water-stress resistance early during a drought period. The third experiment (E-3) determined the effect of different locations of fertilizer placement into the soil profile on rhizosphere salinity and root development of Q. saponaria seedlings. The E-3 results showed that fertilization practices in dryland areas require watering because this acts to control the increase in salinity in the rhizosphere and, consequently, avoids negatively impacting the root volume growth. Our findings could be useful for identifying the major gaps present in the production and establishment stages of native tress in Chile, and could address the latter through root adaptive management.

pag. 29-32: Assessing the quality of seedlings in small-scale nurseries using morphological parameters and quality indicators to improve outplanting success

I. Touhami1, A. Khorchani1, M. Bougarradh2, M.T. Elaieb1 & A. Khaldi1

1Laboratory of Management and Valorization of Forest Resources, National Research Institute for Rural Engineering, Water and Forestry, INRGREF. BP 10, 2080, Ariana. University of Carthage, Tunisia.

2Faculté des Sciences de Tunis, Campus Universitaire 2092 – El Manar, Tunis.

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541S1/04

In Mediterranean region and especially in North Africa, forest seedlings for reforestation objectives are often produced in small-scale nurseries. The quality of the seedlings influences the success of forest plantation initiatives. This study uses morphological parameters to assess the quality of seedlings of five Tunisian native species (Lavandula dentataRuta chalepensisLaurus nobilisCapparis spinosa, and Myrtus communis). Some growth parameters like (seedling height, root collar diameter, shoot dry weight and root dry weight) and quality indicators (Root-to-shoot ratio, Sturdiness quotient Root and Dickson quality index) of seedlings produced were compared between some forest Tunisian nursery. The comparison of morphological parameters show significant differences between nurseries (at p=0.05). Seedlings produced in Fernana nursery were uniform in terms of growth characteristics and quality indicators. These differences could be attributed to better environmental conditions and to the quality of substrate used.

pag. 33-38: The impact rehabilitation of coastal ecosystems on floristic diversity: the case of the dunes of Korba (Tunisia)

W. Jaouadi1,2,3, K. Mechergui1 & S. Wellani4

1National Research Institute of Rural Engineering, Water and Forestry (INRGREF) Laboratory of Forest Ecology. BP. 10, Ariana, 2080, Tunisia.

2Coastal Protection and Planning Agency of Tunisia (APAL), Tunisia.

3The Sylvo-Pastoral Institute of Tabarka, 8110, Tabarka, Tunisia.

4General Directorate of Forest of Tunisia, Forest Service of Nabeul, Tunisia.

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541S1/05

The coastal ecosystems in the Nabeul area (Cap Bon), eastern part of Tunisia, are subject for several decades to a permanent and anarchic operation that generated a sharp deterioration resulting in the reduction of the biological potential and failure of ecological and socio-economic balances. Faced with this critical situation, the services of “APAL” in Tunisia (Coastal Protection and Planning Agency of Tunisia) opted for the rehabilitation of hundreds of hectares of sand dunes to reduce the magnitude of this scourge. The rehabilitation of the dunes cords was made by utilizing the multiple technique of protection (Implanting a wooden fence to protect the dune ecosystem, using ganivelles techniques for mechanical dune stabilization, installing of pipelines flows (roads) for the passage of summer visitors and the creation of ecological tours). The aim of the present work was to evaluate the impact of using these rehabilitation techniques on floristic diversity in the dunes of Korba (Cap Bon, Tunisia). The methodological approach adopted is that of evaluating floristic biodiversity on protected dunes and other neighboring areas located outside the protected area. The phytosociological plots were sampled basing on the methods of Braun-Blanquet, including the original cover-abundance scale. Data analysis shows the beneficial effect of rehabilitation on the structure, the composition and functioning of these coastal dunes and psammophile vegetation. Indeed, the protection increased floristic richness, species diversity (as indicated by Shannon-Weaver index) and the floristic composition, particularly palatable species: Ammophila arenariaCynodon dactylonRetama raetamThymelaea hirsuta and Euphorbia paralias. This rehabilitation technique allowed the maintenance of several species reflecting the value of these coastal dunes in terms of biodiversity

pag. 39-45: Juniperus drupacea Labill. stands in Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve, a pilot study for management guidelines

B. Douaihy1, P. Tarraf2 & J. Stephan2

1Faculty of Science III – Department of Earth and Life Science, Lebanese University, Tripoli, Lebanon.

2Faculty of Science II – Department of Earth and Life Science, Lebanese University, Fanar, Lebanon.

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541S1/06

The Syrian juniper, Juniperus drupacea Labill has a very limited distribution and is facing severe fragmentation and dieback in Lebanon. The present investigation is a pilot study conducted in Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve in order to develop a plan for conservation and sustainable management of this species. A total of 106 individuals were studied from five areas. The correlations between environmental factors (altitude, exposition, and slope) as well as canopy density with the trees distribution, size and vitality were investigated. The most remarkable individuals were mainly found in Aarbi, the central karstic area in association with Quercus calliprinos Webb., Q. infectoria Oliv. and Pistacia palaestina Boiss. The statistical analysis showed that the optimum conditions for Juniperus drupacea growth is at middle altitudes, at western expositions with low slope and in relatively open forest. In short term, to manage and conserve this unique species, we can perform a selective cutting to i) eliminate infested trees and branches, ii) reduce the number of trees per unit area – reducing therefore the density of the canopy and distance between trees – in order to preserve the remarkable vitality of trees.

pag. 47-52: Riparian woody vegetation distribution along ecological gradients in an East Mediterranean stream

J. Stephan & D. Issa

Faculty of Science II- Department of Earth and Life Science, Lebanese University, Fanar, Lebanon

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541S1/07

Few studies addressed the distribution of riparian trees and shrubs, and the factors affecting their distribution and structure in Lebanon. The objective of this investigation is to identify the riparian tree and shrub species around Nahr Ibrahim River. We selected 21 sites covering all altitudinal range from sea level up to 1766 m as well as a cross section gradient from river bed. Results showed that biodiversity indices are affected by bioclimatic conditions (vegetation stages) and river flow regime. A moderate dry period of less than 3 months seems to have a positive effect on species richness and composition (trees vs shrubs). A regulated flow would increase the number of tree individuals and reduce biodiversity. Salix acmophylla Boiss., Salix alba L. and Platanus orientalis L. are obligate riparian (phreatophytes) and Salix libani Bornm., Ostrya carpinifolia Scop., Juglans regia L., Crataegus monogyna Jacq. are classified as facultative riparian (facultative phreatophytes). Further we were able to classify riparian species according to gradients related to altitude, slope, distance from river bed and number of dry months.

pag. 53-59: Seed germination and conservation of two endemic species from Central Apennines (Italy)

V. Di Cecco1, M. Di Musciano1, L. Gratani2, R. Catoni2, L. Di Martino3 & A.R. Frattaroli3

1Department of Life Health and Environmental Sciences – University of L’Aquila, Via Vetoio Loc. Coppito – 67100 L’Aquila, Italy.

2Department of Environmental Biology. Sapienza University of Rome. P.le A. Moro, 5 – 00185 Rome, Italy.

3Majella Seed Bank, Majella National Park, loc. Colle Madonna – 66010 Lama dei Peligni (CH), Italy.

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541S1/08

The Mediterranean mountains are one of the most threatened ecosystems in Europe, and endemic species are a significant feature of this environment. The definition of germination protocols for endemic, rare or threatened species is an important step for their conservation. The aim of this work was to analyze seed germination of Phyllolepidum rupestre Ten. Trinajstić and Crepis magellensis F. Conti & Uzunov, two endemic species growing in small populations in the Majella Nation Park (Central Apennines, Italy). The effects of temperature (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 25/10 and 20/10°C), irradiance and gibberellic acid (250 and 500 ppm) on seeds germination were considered. A protocol for the in situ reintroduction was also developed. The results highlight a significant effect of temperature on seed germination. In particular, seed germination for P. rupestre and C. magellensis was 70.58 ± 3.75 % and 97.30 ± 3.13% at 20°C, respectively. These protocols can be used in reinforcement projects for wild populations.

pag. 61-71: Restoration against all odds: the case of coastal sand dunes in Ouzai

J. Sabra1, R. Imad1, H. Miri1, Y. Yehia1 & M.S. Al-Zein1,2

1Department of Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, American University of Beirut, P.O. Box 11-0236, Riad El Solh 1107 2020, Beirut, Lebanon.

2Biology Department, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, American University of Beirut, P.O. Box 11-0236, Riad El Solh 1107 2020, Beirut, Lebanon.

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541S1/09

Substantial urban development (which has accelerated the effects of climate change), water and air pollution, as well as erosive forces have reduced natural habitats along the coast of Lebanon to less than 20%. One unique coastal ecosystem is the sand dunes, which once harboured rare and regional endemic plant species. Although sandy beaches currently occupy around 20% of the Lebanese shoreline, resorts, industries, commercial development and informal settlements have replaced the pre-existing, fragile dune ecosystems. The area under study stretches from the shores of Khalde in the south and the northern limits of Ouzai, the latter being an area dominated by informal settlements that have eroded and polluted the beach sand due to inadequate infrastructure. This has compromised and destroyed the highly specialised ecosystem and deteriorated its functions. Taking into consideration the beneficial functions and unique character of coastal sand dunes, this study presents a putative dune restoration plan that will essentially incorporate the nearby community in a self-sufficient, resilient landscape. A necessary change in the site’s zoning plan, particularly in reference to land ownership and use, is needed prior to the implementation of the proposed restoration and integration program. Extensive environmental, spatial and social analyses allow the employment of several site-specific dune stabilisation techniques. The dune reinstatement methods will complement the establishment of a well-designed community in which human and environmental elements are integrated within designated spaces. These allocated interaction zones will act as a buffer between inaccessible dunes near the shore and the densely inhabited neighbourhood further inland. While the study focuses on the restitution of the coastal sand dune ecosystem, detailed design methodologies create a strategy for improving the living conditions within Ouzai. In light of the proposed design, the currently depreciated neighbourhood will experience more open space, enhanced infrastructure, cleaner air and a healthier environment.

pag. 73-84: Results of the Providune project: restoration of the “Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp.” priority habitat in Sardinia

M.S. Pinna1, G. Bacchetta1,2, M. Orrù1, D. Cogoni1, A. Sanna3, G. Fenu1,4

1Centre for the Conservation of Biodiversity (CCB), Department of Environment and Life Science (DISVA), University of Cagliari, v.le Sant’Ignazio da Laconi, 11-13, I-09123, Cagliari, Italy.

2Hortus Botanicus Karalitanus (HBK), University of Cagliari, v.le Sant’Ignazio da Laconi, 9-11, I-09123, Cagliari, Italy.

3Coastal protection office, Environment Sector, Province of Cagliari, via Cadello 9/b I-09121, Cagliari, Italy. 4Department of Environmental Biology, “Sapienza” University of Rome, Piazzale A. Moro 5, I-00185 Rome, Italy.

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541S1/10

The Providune project “Conservation and restoration of habitats dune in the sites of the Provinces of Cagliari, Matera and Caserta” (LIFE07NAT/IT/000519), financed by the European Union for the years 2009-2014, was aimed to protect and restore the “coastal dunes with Juniperus spp.” habitat (code 2250*) and other related habitats of community interest characterizing the Mediterranean sandy coasts. In this paper will be shown the main results of the project focusing on the geobotanical studies, ex situ conservation and restoration activities carried out in three Site of Community Importance (SCI) areas selected in the South Sardinia. The geobotanical analyses were carried out in order to characterize the flora and vegetation of the Juniperus habitat and the particular ecological traits of Juniperus macrocarpa respectively. In addition, three detailed maps related to the habitat and vegetation for each coastal dune systems were drawn. To carry out the ex situ conservation of coastal dune plants, germplasm (seeds and fruits) was collected and stored in the Sardinian Germplasm Bank (BG-SAR); moreover effective protocols for the germination of 12 key species of the Juniperus habitat were identified, for the purpose of obtain their propagation and reinforcement. An experimental project to reinforce the native germplasm of structural species of coastal habitats such as Pancratium maritimumPistacia lentiscus and J. macrocarpa was realized, using the grafting groups that is sand trap systems that encouraged the embryonic dunes formation and dune consolidation, and permanent plots (bio-mats coconut fiber installed to reduce wind erosion and protect the plant roots) previously installed, with the aim to reinforce species populations and contain habitat fragmentation. Restoration actions were performed ensuring the manual removal of invasive alien plant species and the subsequent planting of native ones. Other measures to reduce the human impacts, mainly due to trampling, such as wooden walkways and light fences were realized. Finally, once completed all conservation actions and interventions, the monitoring protocol to verify their effectiveness has been activated; this action will be implemented in the next five years, based on the post-Life monitoring plan.

pag. 85-95: The LIFE+ project “RES MARIS – Recovering Endangered habitatS in the Capo Carbonara MARIne area, Sardinia”: first results

S. Acunto1, G. Bacchetta2,3, A. Bordigoni4, N. Cadoni5, M.F. Cinti5, M. Duràn Navarro2, F. Frau5, L. Lentini6, M.G. Liggi4, V. Masala5, F. Meloni2, R. Pinna4, L. Podda2 & A. Sanna4

1OIKOS – Environmental Investigations in Aquatic Ecosystems “, Via di Tiglio 811, 55012 Capannori (LU), Italy.

2Centre for the Conservation of Biodiversity (CCB), Life and Environmental Sciences Department, University of Cagliari, Viale S. Ignazio da Laconi 11-13, 09123 Cagliari, Italy.

3Hortus Botanicus Karalitanus (HBK), University of Cagliari, Viale S. Ignazio da Laconi 9-11, 09123 Cagliari – Italy

4Metropolitan City of Cagliari, Via Diego Cadello 9b, 09121 Cagliari, Italy.

5Municipality of Villasimius – Marine Protected Area Capo Carbonara, Villasimius (CA) Piazza Gramsci 1, 09049 Villasimius (Cagliari), Italy.

6TECLA, Association for the local and European transregional cooperation, Via Palestro, 30, 00185 Rome, Italy.

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541S1/11

RES MARIS is an environmental protection project cofinanced by the European Union through the LIFE + Nature and Biodiversity Programme. The project aims at the conservation and recovery of marine and terrestrial ecosystems, included in the marine SCI (Site of Community Interest) “Isola dei Cavoli, Serpentara, Punta Molentis e Campulongu”. The habitats selected for the implementation of the project are “Posidonia beds (Posidonion oceanicae)”, “Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp.” and “Wooded dunes with Pinus pinea and/or Pinus pinaster“. They are characterized by a high biodiversity and exclusive vegetal and animal communities and can easily undergo both floristic and faunal changes. Some of the main threats to the site are landscape alteration, the introduction of invasive alien plants, and boat anchoring, which are mainly the result of human activities such as tourism and recreational activities, enhanced by a strong attendance (mostly in summer months). Sea-land integrated actions are therefore needed to achieve the following objectives: (1) to reduce/eliminate the invasive plants; (2) to reduce or to eliminate the mechanical damage from boat anchoring on Posidonia beds; (3) to favour the recovery of the spontaneous autochthonous vegetation; (4) to raise the awareness of the local population and stakeholders; and (5) to share conservation skills among the key decision-making bodies of the territory for the long-term protection of these habitats. Marine concrete actions consist of the positioning of mooring buoys in selected areas to ensure the conservation of Posidonia beds and the restoration of this habitat through naturalistic engineering techniques. Terrestrial concrete actions consist of the eradication of invasive species (Carpobrotus spp., Agave spp., and Acacia spp.) in the priority habitats and restoration through naturalistic engineering techniques. Communication actions use various conventional and multimedia tools including brochures, panels, a role-playing game, and an application/game for mobile phones. Environmental education and awareness-raising activities are addressed to schools and local stakeholders; a good practices manual on the integrated management of the coastal zone is devoted to key territorial players. Bathymetric and biocenotic maps were produced for 700 hectares of seabed; also, the main anthropogenic traces of disturbances were detected. The presence of the invasive alien macro algae C. cylindracea was also registered. The floristic analysis in the coastal dune systems led to the creation of a list with 127 native and 91 alien taxa. Among these, the most invasive species are those belonging to the genera CarpobrotusAgave, and Acacia; distribution maps of these species in the SCI were created. Germplasm collections led to the acquisition of 40 seed accessions belonging to 14 structural plant species of dune habitats. It was possible to define optimal germination protocols for the selected species, and this was used to produce 30,000 plants for the restoration action.

pag. 97-102: Mimicking natural processes on urban dunes

J. Lascurain

Consultora SGM sl, Roger de Llúria, 118-6é -08037 Barcelona, Spain.

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541S1/12

Dunes are not only shelters for threatened biodiversity and beautiful landscapes, but an important part of the global sand budget of beaches. Coastal dunes thus constitute a nature-based solution to sea level risk. This is even more important in an urban context where coastal regression leads to coastal squeeze (Pontee, 2013). There is also a need to preserve the dynamic component of dune ecosystems in order to avoid biodiversity loss (Heslenfeld et al., 2004) and maintain sustained dune volume growth. In urban landscapes the natural processes of dune creation are impaired, and ruderal and invasive plants exercise higher pressure on the system. This paper discusses different experiences of dune construction and management on the metropolitan beaches of Barcelona, and proposes new strategies to transform the management of urban dunes into a core component of a global beach management strategy to create resilient beaches.

pag. 103-110: Bridging nature and human priorities in ecological rehabilitation projects – a show case from Mediterranean environment – Qattine, Lebanon

J. Fenianos1,4, C. Khater2, J. Viglione3, D. Brouillet4

1ASE – SARL – Jdeideh – Lebanon.

2Center for Remote Sensing – National Council for Scientific Research Lebanon. Bir Hassan – BP 11-8281 Riad El Solh, Beirut – Lebanon.

3EcoMed – Tour Méditerranée – 65, av. Jules Cantini – 13298 MARSEILLE cedex 20 – France.

4University Paul Valéry, Laboratoire Epsylon, Montpellier, 34199 – France.

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541S1/13

The rehabilitation of quarries is an environmental issue where different parameters should be taken into consideration. In reality, few approaches are put in practice and many are yet to be discovered. When proposing new approaches and techniques, we often face psychological resistance from stakeholders mainly due to their prejudgemental perceptions. This paper showcases the development of an ecological rehabilitation scheme on the basis of a baseline assessment and an ecological screening. This leads to the suggestion of a concept called “Across the Wild Rocks” while land owner’s perception was rather directed towards the classical scenario of terracing and orchards plantation. This paper presents the analytical methodology and describes the rehabilitation concept converging between a hierarchical organization of priorities. We conclude by saying that relying on social sciences to increase cognitive flexibility might lead to a better acceptance of new techniques while reducing psychological resistance.

pag. 111-118: Adaptive forest landscape restoration as a contribution to more resilient ecosystems in the Shouf Biosphere Reserve (Lebanon)

N. Hani1, P. Regato2, R. Colomer2, M. Pagliani2, M. Bouwadi1, Z. Zeineddine1

1Al-Shoulf Cedar Society, Park House – Maasser el Shouf – Shouf Region – Lebanon.

2Independent Consultants, Madrid, Spain.

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541S1/14

The Mediterranean Mosaics Project has the objective to increase the resilience of forest ecosystems in the Shouf Biosphere Reserve (SBR) to climate change. The Project has designed adaptive forest restoration and management plans that were applied in a number of pilot sites over the 3 years of Project implementation: (i) sustainable forest thinning and pruning operations were applied in 18.5 ha of Quercus calliprinos and Pinus brutia forestland; (ii) ecological restoration techniques were tested and demonstrated in 59.11 ha. Seeds and seedlings of about 38 plant species were used, with the objective to restore the forest habitats and ecological processes by which the species populations can self-organize into functional and resilient communities well-adapted to changing climate conditions, while at the same time delivering vital ecosystem services. Ad-hoc plant production protocols were developed to ensure the production of high-quality and well-hardened seedlings. The project has demonstrated the possibility to implement forest restoration without additional water supply to the planted seedlings. The survival rate in the majority of sites after 3 years was between 75% and 100%, with the exception of the direct seed sowing of oak acorns (up to 20%) that were very much affected by rodent predation. Only in instable soil debris direct seed sowing of Quercus acorns has achieved a very high survival rate up to 100%. The key factors of success in the Project forest restoration work were: (i) the availability of high quality plant material from the selected species; (ii) a good preparation of the soil and careful planting of seedlings to facilitate the growth of the root system, and increase soil water retention and storage; (iii) the selection of the right planting period, making sure that soil is sufficiently wet. The Project has also demonstrated the environmental and socio-economic benefits of the combined use of forest thinning and pruning products and agriculture waste (olive pomace and waste wood from fruit tree pruning). Lessons learned from the pilot demonstration actions have opened up new opportunities to influence forestation plans in the Country, and regulate the harvesting of forest biomass and its combined use with agricultural waste to control the risk of forest fires, generate economic benefit and contribute to local livelihoods.