Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve (JMBR) is located in Mount Lebanon. It covers an area of 6500 hectares and protects animals, trees, and plants. The reserve is also home to religious and historic sites such as an abandoned Ottoman settlement, and a Byzantine Church.
Jabal Moussa and its surrounding villages became part of the UNESCO Network of Biosphere Reserves in 2009. These villages are Yahchouch, Qehmez, Jouret el Thermos, Nahr ed Dahab, Ghbale, Aabri, and Chouwen.
The reserve perfectly combines nature, adventure, and history. Visitors can hike ten different trails, observe animals, discover plants, and visite historic sites.
It is home to at least 727 flora species, out of which 26 are endemic to Lebanon, and six to Jabal Moussa.
Jabal Moussa is home to over 130 species of birds. In fact, the reserve is a Global Important Bird Area.
More than 20 wild mammal species inhabit the mountain. Some of them are well-known such as foxes, squirrels, hedgehogs, and wild boars. Others are limited to the region such as the striped hyena which is the national animal of Lebanon.
In fact, hyenas are at risk of extinction because of hunting.
The reserve also encloses historic sites such as a Byzantine Church, Roman stairs, ruins of old houses, a watermill, an olive press, and an abandoned Ottoman settlement.
Emperor Hadrian’s inscriptions are intended to protect certain species of trees such as cedar, cypress, juniper, and oak.
This is a 300-year-old Lebanese house!
The Lake of Chouwen attracts thousands of people every year. It is breathtaking!
The Association for the Protection of Jabal Moussa contributes to the financial growth of the surrounding villages. It launched a line of food and handicraft products which are manufactured by 50 motivated local women.
The products are currently being sold at various points of sales across Lebanon under the name of "Jabal Moussa."
If you're planning on visiting JMBR, make sure you're wearing comfortable clothes and shoes. Don't forget to pack with you a trash bag, a water bottle, and some snacks. Remember: you can't litter, hunt, or pick plants. Be as calm as possible.
Add this reserve to your bucket list!