Vol. 116 No. 1 (2022)
Research Papers

Stone-walled terraces restoration: conserving biodiversity and promoting economic functions of farmlands in Lebanon

Alessio Martinoli
University of Insubria, Department of Theoretical and Applied Sciences, via Dunant 3, 21100 Varese, Italy
Pedro Regato
Indipendent consultant, Madrid, Spain
Farah Abdel Samad
Laboratoire Biodiversité et Génomique Fonctionnelle, Faculté des Sciences, Campus Sciences et Technologies, Université Saint-Joseph, Beirut, Lebanon
Lara Kanso
Al-Shouf Cedar Society, Lebanon
Nijad Saed Eddine
Al-Shouf Cedar Society, Park House, Maasser el Shouf, Lebanon
Mirko Panichi
Istituto Oikos, via Crescenzago 1, 20134 Milan, Italy
Alessandra Gagliardi
University of Insubria, Department of Theoretical and Applied Sciences, via Dunant 3, 21100 Varese, Italy
Lina Sarkis
Al-Shouf Cedar Society, Park House, Maasser el Shouf, Lebanon
Nizar Hani
Al-Shouf Cedar Society, Park House, Maasser el Shouf, Lebanon

Published 2022-06-30


  • agricultural terraces,
  • land abandonment,
  • restoration,
  • FLR,
  • biodiversity,
  • ecosystems services
  • ...More

How to Cite

Martinoli, A., Regato, P., Abdel Samad, F., Kanso, L., Saed Eddine, N., Panichi, M., Gagliardi, A., Sarkis, L., & Hani, N. (2022). Stone-walled terraces restoration: conserving biodiversity and promoting economic functions of farmlands in Lebanon. Journal of Agriculture and Environment for International Development (JAEID), 116(1), 77–114. https://doi.org/10.36253/jaeid-13012

Funding data


Dry stone-walled terraces are peculiar features of Mediterranean farmland, representing typical examples of social-ecological systems combining ecological functionality and ecosystem services provision. In the Shouf Biosphere Reserve (Lebanon) a program of restoration of abandoned terraces applying Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) principles is ongoing from 2016, combined with biodiversity monitoring activities. This study illustrates preliminary results of the plant monitoring, with the aim to (1) draft a checklist of the plants found in the terraces, (2) compare plant diversity and evaluate consistency of species assemblages observed among 3 different terrace managements (abandoned, restored and intensively-cultivated) and (3) compare ecological and ecosystem service value of the plant communities in the 3 types of terraces. Overall, 332 species were observed, with significantly higher diversity found in abandoned and restored terraces compared to intensively farmed terraces. Similarly, species assemblages of restored terraces were closely related to abandoned and distantly related to intensively-managed terraces. According to the study, restored terraces provide the same ecological value and ecosystem services functions as abandoned terraces, significantly higher than intensively-managed terraces. This study showcases the effectiveness of FLR programmes in restoring economic and social functions of terraced Mediterranean farmland while maintaining ecological functionality.


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