Showcasing The Historic Trees of Lebanon


August 10, 2004

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A colorful new book is highlighting the beauty and historical significance of Lebanon’s most picturesque trees and, at the same time, encouraging conservation efforts.

Historic Trees of Lebanon is a 108-page book funded by the United States Agency for International Development and produced by Mercy Corps. The book is a deft mingling of artwork and scientific research, giving readers a unique opportunity to learn about Lebanon’s indigenous flora while engaging their visual senses.

In addition to giving readers a stunning glimpse at some of the world’s most beautiful trees, the book also aims to increase public support and understanding of biological diversity in forests around the world. Historic Trees of Lebanon is part of a larger program that is expanding economic opportunities by promoting rural tourism in the southern regions of Lebanon.

Mercy Corps launched this project to support the conservation of environmental resources while capitalizing on Lebanon’s rich cultural and natural history.

Historic Trees of Lebanon focuses on several of Lebanon’s oldest and most scenic trees, with an age range of 190 to 750 years. Christian Catafago, an accomplished Lebanese photographer, captures and portrays the haunting beauty and strength of these centuries-old trees. Catafago underscores the trees’ splendor in intriguing shades, colors and contexts.

A team of researchers complemented the work by adding knowledge to beauty and linking the selected trees to Lebanon’s natural and cultural history. This team traveled around the country and identified samples of 15 native species, determining the age of the trees using scientific methods. Lead researcher Michel Khouzami pointed out that, in addition to raising awareness about Lebanon’s rich botanical diversity, the book aspires to gather public support around conservation of natural heritage.

The research conducted also dwells on some of the traditions, spiritual currents and folk stories associated with the trees. The book emphasizes the fact that each tree has its own identity and mythology. Historic Trees of Lebanon also provides a look at the different uses of a particular tree, giving insights into Lebanon’s social, cultural and economic values throughout different eras.

Mercy Corps hopes to make the trees featured in the book, along with nearby villages, into tourist destinations. Sales of the book will drive the implementation of development projects in remote Lebanese villages, transforming the lives of rural communities.

Historic Trees of Lebanon offers a mesmerizing look at some of the world’s grandest trees while promoting important conservation efforts in Lebanon and around the world.