Beirut’s RiverLESS Forest

General view of regeneration site and channelized Beirut River
Beirut's RiverLESS Forest


Beirut has only 0.8 sqm of green space/capita, versus the WHO recommended 9 sqm/capita. The Beirut River is an Important Bird Area (IBA 4), it is undoubtedly one of the most important areas for bird migration in Lebanon, with important threatened species relying on the valley during spring migration. Due to the deteriorating condition of the Beirut River watershed especially in the city, we have seen a major loss of wildlife and insect habitat downstream the river. After 6 months of the first forest implementation, we already started to see native fauna coming back to live in the newly established ecosystem. 

For the Beirut RiverLESS Urban Forest, we visited a native established forest upstream within the Beirut River watershed to conduct a botanical survey of the native species living in the forest. We then planted 17 available species of the 25 surveyed species in our plot adjacent to the river to bring back the native forest ecosystem into the city.

Forests connect across boundaries, watersheds and ecosystems and are not defined by cultural and political boundaries. Within 3 months the forest transformed into a transition space between the city and the native ecosystem, connecting humans and other organisms.

Quick Facts

Geographic Region:
Middle East

Country or Territory:

Temperate Forest

Temperate Forest - Mixed

Area being restored:
0.2 hectares

Project Lead:

Organization Type:
Private Company

Project Partners:
Afforestt SUGi Project

Project Stage:
Post-Implementation Maintenance

Start Date:

End Date:

Primary Causes of Degradation

Fragmentation, Invasive Species (native or non-native pests, pathogens or plants), Urbanization, Transportation & Industry

Defining the Reference Ecosystem

The reference ecosystem is primarily based on contemporary reference sites or existing analogues of the pre-degradation ecosystem.

Project Goals

Reclaiming urban landfills through urban afforestation, hence regenerating biodiversity, restoring the water cycle, and providing shared space for humans and other organisms.


Monitoring Details:
Monthly pictures Monthly growth report on a selected sample of saplings planted Bi-monthly visits and maintenance sessions

Start date, including baseline data collection:

End Date:


Municipality of Sin El Fil

Local community and residents


How this project eliminated existing threats to the ecosystem:
Physical encroachment and vandalism through the installation of a temporary fence, to be removed after forest is successfully established Removal of aggressive invasive tree species [Eucalyptus tree]

How this project reinstated appropriate physical conditions (e.g. hydrology, substrate)",:
- restoring organic matter to the soil through compost and organic matter addition - inoculating soil with beneficial microorganisms and fungal ecosystem through preparation of locally-produced compost-tea with mature forest soil

How this project achieved a desirable species composition:
Potential Natural Vegetation study of the closest natural mature forest located upstream of our site Based on the Miyawaki afforestation method, we identified 25 species of native trees and shrubs, the density we observed, as well as noted the proportions in which they exist in relation to each other. This composition is then calculated depending on our area of regeneration.

How this project reinstated structural diversity (e.g. strata, faunal food webs, spatial habitat diversity):
We have included the four levels of the mature forest ecosystem; canopy layer, tree, sub-tree and shrub layer Spatial diversity in our randomized, non-linear planting pattern, as well as density observed in the mature forest. We have inoculated the soil with beneficial microorganisms and fungal ecosystem through preparation of locally-produced compost-tea with mature forest soil

Ecological Outcomes Achieved

Eliminate existing threats to the ecosystem:
The fence has been effective in keeping out unwanted visitors, and protecting the saplings from vandalism and encroachment Eliminated invasive species have not returned

Reinstate appropriate physical conditions",:
Previously dead soil is now full of life, insect, microbial and fungal networks reestablished Soil retaining moisture properly

Achieve a desirable species composition:
All different species planted have survived. Survival rate is 74%

Factors limiting recovery of the ecosystem:
fragmentation caused by roads and river concrete channel

Socio-Economic & Community Outcomes Achieved

Economic vitality and local livelihoods:

Provision of basic necessities such as food, water, timber, fiber, fuel, etc.:

Cultural dimensions such as recreational, aesthetic and/or spiritual:
Great, engaging and empowering local communities to join and demand reclamation of urban landfills, involving volunteers and residents through preparation, planting and maintenance activities

Regulation of climate, floods, disease, erosion, water quality, etc.:
Achieved a positive impact on reducing flooding and erosion

Has the project had any negative consequences for surrounding communities or given rise to new socio-economic or political challenges?:

Long-Term Management

As per the Miyawaki method, management [watering, de-weeding, rope-tying, mulching, compost-tea making] will be put in place for 2-3 years only, after which the forest is well established and self-sufficient, not requiring any type of management.

Primary Contact

Adib Dada

Project initiator - implementation


Organizational Contact