Reports December 13, 2012
Analysis of the Current Land Use and Socio-Economic Activities in the Coastal Zone

A situational analysis of the current Land Cover/Land Use (LCLU) of the coastal zone, particularly in terms of socio-economic activities was conducted.  The study area comprised of municipalities along the Lebanese coastline.  The status of LCLU was evaluated and main economic activities of the target area were identified, as well as the socio-economic status of residents and their perceptions and the policies implemented for environmental mitigation.  The integration of both LCLU and economic components yielded a multi-dimensional framework for the assessment of the status of the target area.

The first part of the work focused on the LCLU situational analysis.  This helped in investigating changes on the Lebanese coast from the year 1998 to the year 2010.  The study involved monitoring LCLU changes using multi-temporal satellite images and assessing the causes and drivers of LCLU changes involving a field survey.  Main results showed that the largest area of artificialization on the coastal zone of Lebanon affected grasslands followed by forests and agricultural lands, consecutively.  It was also found that 62% of municipalities attributed the decrease in grasslands to urbanization while 38% attributed changes to fires.  In addition, 63% of municipalities attributed the decrease in forested lands to urbanization while 27% attributed changes either to quarries or to fires.  Furthermore, 86% of municipalities attributed changes in agricultural lands to urbanization.  Other causes for the LCLU changes included a lack of interest of owners in keeping agricultural lands due to the increase in land prices.

The second part of the report was devoted to a socio-economic study of the coastal zone of Lebanon covering the following activities: tourism, agriculture, fisheries, industry, transportation, water treatment and energy production, quarries, landfills and dumpsites, banks and hospitals.  These activities have important impacts on the environment in terms of air pollution, water pollution, solid waste generation, noise pollution, pressure on natural resources and land degradation.  Second, a socio-economic assessment evaluated the status of residents as well as their perception of the coastal zone.  The population was found to be socio-economically vulnerable with a staggering 49% without any social security or insurance coverage of any type and an average monthly income of around 660 USD per respondent.  As for the environmental perception of the surveyed population, only 14% of all respondents were aware of the existence of municipal environmental policies, and 94% of all respondents said they were not satisfied with the environmental status in general.  Third, a socio-economic assessment was conducted using interviews.  In total, 5 ministries, the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) and 11 municipalities were interviewed.  Overall, the main highlights of the ministries and CDR interviews were as follows: lack of manpower and manpower training, insufficient cooperation between institutions, overlapping prerogatives, lack of financial resources, lack of law enforcement and the absence of a national integrated vision for the coastal zone.  As for the municipalities, the following results were observed: isolated initiatives, absence of integrated approaches to environmental problems, lack of financial resources for environmental projects and a “passive” attitude with responsibilities being “thrown” on higher public institutions.

Finally, the results of both the LCLU study and the socio-economic assessment were synthesized in order to produce a classification allowing the identification of hot-spot municipalities by integrating levels of LCLU changes and socio-economic pressures.  The taxonomy is presented as follows:

  1. High risk municipalities: significant LCLU changes AND significant economic pressure for a total of seven municipalities.
  2. Moderate risk municipalities: significant LCLU changes OR significant economic pressure for a total of 40 municipalities.
  3. Low risk municipalities: NEITHER significant LCLU changes NOR significant economic pressure for a total of 26 municipalities.



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