Barouk reserve

By Dr. Sassine El Nabbout
The Cedrus libani forest community represents about 25% of the remaining cedar forests in Lebanon and is thus significant at the national level. Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve represents around 550 km² of Lebanese territory. It forms the southern limit of Cedrus libani.

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The reserve makes up 5 percent of the entire territory of the country and 70 percent of Lebanon’s green area, making it the largest nature reserve in the Middle East. The reserve, formed in 1994, is one of three protected areas in Lebanon to benefit from the United Nations’ Protected Areas Project.

Oak, pine and juniper are some of the 16 types of trees that also grow in the reserves. Squirrels, wild boars, porcupines, wolves and gazelles can be found in the reserve. The reserve is accessible from Barouk, Maaser al-Chouf and Ain Zhalta. Al-Shouf Cedars Nature Reserve is managed by the Al-Shouf Cedars Society, which is a non-governmental organization that conceived the idea of the reserve, created it, and currently manages it in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment.

Visitors to the forest cannot picnic inside the reserve.

A really amazing visit… where you can know really the meaning of the reserve that is lacking as practice in our country… well organized work, despite the low resources… a really protected area… while ascending you can see the variety in ages… in the lower parts of it, the cedars that are 30-40 years old covers the major parts of it, but still you can see some of the old trees that passes the human invasion and destruction in the past… getting the highest point that is reachable by car, near the “diwan el mir”, where the past princes passes the summer in camps, in a natural hall, between 5-7 old cedars, of minimum age of 1500 years… And a stay in this place for moments, to hear the silence, which is disrupted by some sounds, made by the contact of the wind with the powerful cedar branches…

We continued our walk, in specified roads… looking around, we saw the cedars of many ages, the smallest to the biggest… from the age of months to the age of years, to centuries… without forgetting the flowers variety, the grass, the other trees that were blooming with their extremely green leaves in the early spring…

I didn’t met in this visit the animals of it, except for 2 small insects…

When we reached the end of the thick forest, we saw the most beautiful view… the cedars above the clouds level… the cedars on the mountain top, above a deep valley where lays the village of Barouk and the other surrounding villages… as the highest point of Sannin Mountain, that is still covered with snow…

Whatever we want to describe, the words cannot replace the real picture of this beauty… you must go and see, and even believe, yes… this reserve is in Lebanon… these cedars are for us and for our sons… these cedars are the only witness of our history…

I really thank god for making all this beauty in my country… I thank for sure all the ones that worked & are working to keep it alive…



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