Ecosystems Online Database


According to Corine Classification (1999), the reserve belongs to three Mediterranean levels:
1) the "Supra-Mediterranean Level" of vegetation which extends over the lower parts of the eastern and western slopes up to 1500 meters of altitude, with oak trees as dominant species, buton the western slopes the cedar trees dominate between 1050 - 1925 meters
2) the "Montane Mediterranean Level" that covers both slopes between 1500 and 1900 meters with cedar dominant trees on the western slopes and absence of cedar trees on the eastern slopes where the oak and azarole trees take place; and
3) the "Oro-Mediterranean level" of vegetation which extends above 1900 meters.

The list of Al-Shouf Cedar 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, or Lebanon and Syria, or Lebanon and Turkey, whilst 214 species are restricted to the Eastern Mediterranean or Middle East area. The following 14 species deserve special mention:

1-Cedrus libani which is the symbol of Lebanon and main significant component of the reserve,
2-Quercus brantii look for its forest cover which characterizes the site,
3-Arrhenatherum elatius and Melica inaequiglumis because they are rare and localized in the reserve where they have suffered in the near past from grazing,
4-Helichrysum pallasii due to its status as threatened in the past and not very common at all heights of the reserve,
5-Tulipa montana and Phytolacca pruinosa for their ornamental and economic values and for the fact they are found in very limited numbers within the reserve.
6-Cephalaria cedrorum because of its endemism to Al-Shouf Cedar only,
7-Gundelia tournefortii as locally threatened because it is heavily collected and uprooted by people and for its consuming value, high demand and high price,
8-Origanum ehrenbergii and Origanum syriacum as well as Rhus coriara which are considered multipurpose species and consequently widely harvested by people, and
9-Geum urbanum and Micromeria myrtifolia for being highly recommended medicinal species.


Flora

The SBR harbors a rich flora, many of them medicinal, edible, and aromatic plants. The reserve is home to 25 internationally and nationally threatened species; 48 endemic to Lebanon or the Syria/Lebanon/Turkey area; 14 rare species; and 214 species that are restricted to the EasternMediterranean or Middle East area.
The SBR, however, is most famous for hosting the largest stands of Lebanese cedar (Cedruslibani) in the country. The Cedar of Lebanon is a highly symbolic, world-famous conifer tree, and one of the most cited plants in history, religion and mythology. The SBR hosts about 620 hectares of cedar forest, which are largely confined to the steeper and less accessible areas. The SBR represents the natural southern limit of this tree. Nowadays the cedar forest, protected from grazing and other human interference, is showing clear signs of natural regeneration.

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Mammals

The Al-Shouf Cedar Reserve is one of the last remaining areas in Lebanon where larger mammals that once roamed the region can still be found, such as the wolf, wild boar and wild cat- or can be reintroduced such as the ibex and mountain gazelle.
Wolves are few and their numbers are unlikely to hold a stable population, due to the absence of large herbivores on which the wolf feeds. Striped hyenas are found on the borders of the reserve, mainly feeding on the garbage dumps and agricultural crops of surrounding villages. Wild boar, wild cat and jungle cat have all increased in numbers since the reserve was established, as well as the jackal, red fox, porcupine, and squirrel. The gazelle is sporadic in the area.

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Birds

Over 250 bird species have been recorded in the SBR and the Ammiq Wetland (the wetland is a Ramsar site and Important Bird Area-IBA). The birdlife of the Shouf mountains includes rare or endemic birds such as the Syrian serin (Serinus syriacus), Eagle owl, Chukar partridge, Longlegged buzzard, etc. The whole area, placed strategically between Europe, Africa, and West Asia, is very important for bird migration. Every year countless storks, birds of prey and other migrants pass over the SBR and use it as a roosting site.

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Reptiles and amphibians


The region contains 31 species, including chameleon, tortoise, and several species of snakes, lizards, frogs, and toads.

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