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Forest Planting

Implementation of forestation/reforestation activities in Mounjiz comprised the following: 1) preparation of land for plantation, 2) procurement of seedlings, 3) plantation of seedlings, and 4) irrigation and maintenance for a period of at least 3 years following the date of plantation. These works are conducted in collaboration with the Agricultural Cooperation Association of Mounjiz (ACAM).

Some of the adopted technical specifications for plantation:

Preparation of land for plantation
Distribution of land areas for plantation

Preparation of land
  • A total area of 100,000 m 2 (10 hectares) is prepared for reforestation/afforestation works.
  • Selected land parcels are owned by the Municipality of Mounjiz.

  • Land preparation is conducted with the use of hand tools and light machinery to minimize impact on the land.
  • The dimensions of the planting holes are as follows: 50 x 50 x 50 cm.
  • Scalping (physical removal of grasses, forbs, and small shrubs around planting holes) is done deep enough to remove roots of surface vegetation for at least 1 m radius around the centre of the planting spot.
  • Top soil is used during the planting operation.
  • Existing vegetation (mainly trees and shrubs) and rocks are protected and preserved as much as possible to avoid landscape damage.
Planting density
  • Planting holes (pits) are done along the contour lines, at a minimum distance of 3 meters between each other.
  • A number of 90 pits are prepared in each 1000 m 2.
Procurement of seedlings
Provenance of seedlings and nursery sites  
  • Seedlings are produced in local nurseries.
  • A certificate of origin of all the seedlings is provided.
Characteristics of seedlings
  • Stem size is proportionate to size of roots, indicatively not exceeding 2/3 of the size of the roots.
  • Optimal seedling heights range between 10 and 30 cm.
  • Plants are grown in 350-400 ml containers which are open-bottoms to allow air circulation and root pruning, or closed at the bottom, with drainage holes, and corrugated in their inner part.
Growing Media  
  • Growing media (potting soil) is composed of sphagnum or coco peat (70%); organic matter (20%) and soil (10%).
  • Growing media is free from animal manure, fungus and insects.
  • A certificate of the composition of the growing media of the seedlings is provided.
  • 4,500 seedlings are acquired and planted during the first year (round 1).
  • 4,500 seedlings are acquired and planted during the second year (round 2).
  • The species and their corresponding number for each round are as follows:
Species Quantity/year
Ceratonia siliqua
(fruitful carob - grafted)
Pinus pinea 2500
Laurus nobilis 500
Transportation, delivery, and storage  
  • At the time of ordering, the nursery owner is informed of the planned planting window to ensure seedlings are hardened and dormant by the time they need to be transported to the site.
  • Seedlings are transported very carefully.
  • In the absence of refrigerated trucks, covered trucks are used to protect seedlings from direct sunlight during transportation.
  • Stacking seedling trays is not acceptable as it can cause serious breakage to seedling tops and branches, regardless of tray and seedling sizes. Seedlings are set upright, in their containers or in their storage plastic bags inside the cardboard boxes.
  • Truck loading and transportation is done in early morning, when the outside temperature is low enough to avoid overheating of seedlings.
  • Seedlings reach the site in a healthy and good shape without suffering from drought or mishandling.
  • Nursery stock is inspected upon arrival to the site storage. Inspection includes:
    • Checking the temperature of seedlings to ensure they are not overheated.
    • Making sure the seedlings do not smell sour or sweet. Such smells indicate that the seedlings are too warm or excessively wet.
    • Checking if root plugs are moist.
    • Checking if foliage is green and buds are firm.
    • Checking the firmness of the bark around the root collar. The bark should not be easily removed and tissues underneath should be creamy.
    • Checking inside random boxes for signs of molds, such as Botrytis cinerea. This common nursery pest can increase rapidly in storage.
  • Searching the base of crowns for growing mycelia is performed upon delivery and regularly during storage. Making sure that the seedlings are healthy with no visible signs of pests and diseases or deficiencies at the time of delivery to the sites.
  • Checking if seedlings are stored in safe and favourable conditions and planted only few days after transportation.
  • Making sure that the storage period is limited to a few days.
  • Checking if storage spaces are covered to avoid exposure of seedlings to sunlight and are close to the planting site.
  • Making sure that irrigation is conducted two nights prior to plantation for keeping the root plugs moist enough to avoid moisture stress and sturdy enough to avoid breakage when removed from the container before planting.
Plantation of seedlings
Planting period and outplanting window  
  • Planting the seedlings starts after 40 mm of rain have fallen.
  • The ideal soil temperature range for root growth is 5 to 20 °C.
  • Planting is best done during the early morning hours when air temperatures are cool and wind speeds are low.
  • When weather is sunny, windy, or dry it is necessary to take extra protective measures to minimize plant stresses.
  • In extreme cases, the planting operation is postponed until meeting favourable weather conditions for plantation.
Planting techniques  
  • Soil used to fill the planting holes (pits) is free from large stones.
  • Top soil is mixed with organic fertilizers applied at the rate of 100 gr/seedling.
  • Seedlings are handled with care on site to avoid unnecessary stress before planting.
  • Seedlings are removed carefully from the container; the root ball is preserved and kept in a good shape.
  • The seedling is placed and planted vertically upright in the center of the hole.
  • The planting holes are partially filled with soil mix; the seedling is placed in the planting holes; the crown is at the level of the soil surface; the holes are filled completely with the soil mix.
  • Soil does not bury the seedling’s lowest branches.
  • Rocks or debris are placed back in the hole or around the planted seedling, to reduce air pockets.
  • The soil is compacted and the seedling is watered immediately after planting, until saturation (indicatively 20 litres/seedling).
  • Larger stones are distributed in a circle around the seedling forming small banquettes in order to avoid soil erosion and to improve water retention
Community involvement
  • The local community of Mounjiz participated in the plantation of 5000 m 2 (450 seedlings).
Irrigation and maintenance
  • All seedlings are adequately irrigated.
  • Irrigation volume is around 20 litres per seedling.
  • Irrigation technique includes a hand watering irrigation system.
  • Irrigation system is composed of: 1) plastic water tanks (minimum capacity of 44,000 Litres for each site) set on the highest points of the site with mainlines distributed on the major axes, and 2) irrigation pipes that can reach all the seedlings onsite and connected to the mainlines by taps to irrigate by hand seedling by seedling.
  • Material is of excellent stress cracking resistance, impact resistance, abrasion resistance, and rigidity (for the water tanks).
  • Watering period is of a minimum of 3 times per year in the dry season.
  • Individual fencing for seedlings on reforestation sites is installed.
  • Fencing is fixed on 1 robust wooden stake.
  • The wooden stakes are inserted 50 cm in the ground and are 2 m high.
  • Each fence is 150 cm tall with an average diameter of 10 cm.
  • The mesh wire comes in square shape with maximum mesh size of 12 mm.
  • Protectors are set during planting right after seedlings are planted.
  • Planted seedlings are regularly inspected and damaged protectors or seedlings are to be replaced or fixed.
  • A surveillance service to the planted sites is ensured to protect these against potential threats (e.g. grazing, fires, and human activities)
  • Weeding at a distance of 1 meter of diameter (fifty centimetres radius) around the seedling is conducted.
Replacement of damaged and dead seedlings
Replacement requirements
  • Damaged or dead seedlings are replaced with new seedlings of the same species and specifications.
  • The aim is to ensure 100% success rate of seedlings after 42 months from the date of plantation.
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This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are
the sole responsibility of the University of Balamand and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

Last Update 5/25/2016 11:30 PM