Protected Areas

Defining protected areas (PA) is an important step towards the acknowledgement of the ecological, patrimonial and cultural national heritage. Lebanon has been designating PAs since the 1930's. Responsibility for such designation originally fell under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of National Economy. Since the establishment of the MoE in 1993, PAs establishment has been reattributed to MoE.

Before the issuance of the protected areas framework law number 130 dated 30/4/2019, the PAs in Lebanon were divided into three categories with a specific category that is under the mandate of MoA:

  1. Nature Reserves established by law since 1992
  2. Nature sites under the protection of MoE and established by MoE decisions or decrees based on MoE proposals on the basis of the law of protection of natural sites (08/07/1939)
  3. Protected forests established by MoA decision before 1996 based on the Law of Protection of Forests Wealth (Law 85 dated 1991) and after 1996, protected directly by the Law of Protection of Forests (Law 558, dated 24/07/1996) and through MoA ministerial decisions issued based on this Law.

Moreover, some sites are recognized by international entities and conventions; i.e. World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, Ramsar sites under the Ramsar Convention, Important Bird Areas (IBAs) by BirdLife International, and Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI) under the SPA and Biodiversity Protocol.

In addition, there are many candidate natural areas that are in need of national protection (MoE, 2015).

In order to better enhance the management of PAs, the MoE has prepared a new categorization system for PAs in the protected areas framework law number 130 dated 30/4/2019 which defines the  criteria for the establishment of each category in addition to their management objectives and modality.  This protected areas framework stated that the PAs in Lebanon are divided into the following four categories with unique management objectives:

  1. Nature Reserve, which is defined as a terrestrial or marine zone in which ecosystems, habitats and species of specific importance must be protected because they are either endemic, or rare or endangered. The conservation of those species and ecosystems may require maintenance or rehabilitation activities if needed, in a way that suits with the protection objectives, and that are described in a management plan in order to ensure the conservation of those habitats and the species that they harbour
  2. Natural Park, which is defined as a vast rural territory, partially inhabited, with exceptional natural and cultural heritage, recognized nationally and deserving protection on the long term. A Natural Park can include one or more PAs or areas that might eventually become protected
  3. Natural Site and Monument, which corresponds to an area containing one or more natural features of exceptional importance which deserve protection because of their rarity representativeness or beauty
  4. Hima, which is defined as a Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) system that promotes sustainable livelihood, resources conservation, and environmental protection for human wellbeing (Saleh, 2011).  A Hima is under the supervision of the municipality, the union of municipalities or the Qaimaqam in the case of villages where there are no municipalities.


Site of Natural and/or Ecological Importance in Need for Protection

Source: the 5th National Report (5NR) To the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)


  1. Ammiq wetland
  2. Cheikh Zennad wetland


  1. Al Rwaess grotto
  2. Afqa grotto
  3. Ain Labne grotto
  4. Salem grotto
  5. Al Tarash grotto
  6. Kfarhim grotto
  7. Dahr El Ain grotto
  8. Al Rahwa Spring grotto
  9. Zoud grotto
  10. Al Motran grotto
  11. Al Hawa grotto
  12. AlShatawi spring grotto
  13. Al Rihan grotto
  14. Deir Amess grotto
  15. Haris grotto
  16. Debl grotto
  17. Jeita grotto

Natural Bridges and Rocks:

  1. Al Laqlouq Natural Bridge
  2. Sites with Calcerous- Karstic rocks ex. Faytroun and Rayfoun in Kesrouan; Douma in Batroun

Rivers, coastal and marine areas:

  1. Sandy beach between Al Abassiyé and Al Mansouri (South of Litani)
  2. Litani Stream

Trees, Forests, and Valleys:

  1. Al Qellé Forest (Akkar)
  2. Al Azer Forest (Fneidek)
  3. Bshaalé Olives
  4. Sir Doniyeh Valley

Mountain Tops:

  1. Al Sheikh Mountain – Hermoun
  2. Al Rihan Mountain
  3. Al Kneisse Mountain (Sinkholes and dollines)
  4. Sanine Mountain
  5. Black Summit


  1. Kateen Azar Hole (Tarshish)
  2. Fawar Dara Hole (Tarshish)
  3. Meshemshiyit Hole (Tarshish)
  4. Al Badwiyi Hole
  5. Katmeen Sinkhole (Rmeich)
  6. Al Abed Hole (Tannourine)
  7. Al Kadaha Hole (Tannourine)
  8. Osman AlRamhi Hole
  9.  Smokhaya Sinkhole (Rmeich)