Al Shouf Cedars Nature Reserve
The Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve is the largest of Lebanon’s nature reserves and was created under Law No.532 on July 29, 1996. The reserve is managed by the Al-Shouf Cedar Reserve Committee in cooperation with the Al- Shouf Cedar Society and under the supervision of the Ministry of Environment.
Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve stretches from Dahr Al-Baidar in the north to Niha Mountain in the south. The resrve is covered with oak, juniper, and oak forests. The reserve’s most famous attractions are its three magnificent cedar forests of Maasser Ech-Chouf, Barouk and Aain Zhalta-Bmahray which host trees that are 2000 years old and account for a quarter of the remaining cedar forest in Lebanon. 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 birds and plants.
Shqif Tyron, also known as the Fortress of Niha, is located in the southwest part of the reserve and overlooks Jezzine. The Fortress of Niha was used by the Crusaders as an observation point on the road linking Sidon to the Beqa’a Valley and also the place of refuge for Emir Fakhreddine I who was trying to escape capture by the Ottomans in the 1633 A.C.
Visitors of the Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve mainly go for hiking and trekking, in addition to, bird watching, mountain biking and snow shoeing. Nevertheless, visitors will find a panoramic view of the countryside, eastward to the Beqa’a Valley and Qaraoun Lake and westward toward the Mediterranean.
The Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve is rich in biodiversity:
CEDAR OF LEBANON (Cedrus libani L.)
BRANT’S OAK (Quercus brantii ssp. Look (Ky Mouterde))
FAN-LEAVED SERVICE TREE (Sorbus flabellifolia (spach C.K. Schneider))
LEBANON GERANIUM (Geranium libani)
LEBANON PRICKLY THRIFT (Acantholimon libanoticum)
CHAMELEON (Chamaeleo chamaeleon)
MOUNT LEBANON ROCK LIZARD (Lacerta kulzeri)
LEVANT VIPER (Vipera lebetina)
LEBANESE “GOLDEN GREEK” TORTOISE (Testudo graeca terrestris)
WOLF (Canis lupus pallipes)
JUNGLE CAT (Felis chaus)
CHUKAR (Alectoris chukar)
JAY (Garrulus glandarius)
HOOPOE (Upupa epops)