The Man Who Saved the Cedars of Lebanon
The Legend of Sayed Cedar Seed
we've heard so much about the loss of Lebanon's cedars
to over-timbering, poaching, war, climate change, insect infestations
Many thousands of square kilometers of forest once spread across most of Lebanon’s highlands. Only 17 square kilometers of cedars remain. -Anne Barnard, NYTimes
rumor says somewhere there is a man who dedicates his life to planting cedars. we want to find him and help.
we begin our quest in Tripoli, in the far north of Lebanon,18 miles from the Syrian border
we seek knowledge in the mosque
to nearby Mount Lebanon we must go
to the Qadisha, one of the deepest and most beautiful valleys in Lebanon
we make our way to Der Mar Antonios Ishaya, a monastery filled with chains and wisdom
it houses the first printing press in the Middle East (1584)
and ancient texts. The Roman Emperor Hadrian declared the cedar forests as royal domains, and commanded replanting
but time and demand for the exceptional wood took toll. the few remaiming cedars wheep.
with monastic blessings, we begin our hike to the Horsh Ehden Nature Reserve
some claim this is the original garden of eden
we pass apple trees, but don't dare pluck
pampered by mist and relatively high precipitation, a multitude of rare and endemic plants flourish here
including a beautiful remnant forest of cedars
the blue stripe means the spring water is potable
we hike and hike but dont find the mystery man
but then, when we leave the reserve and head to a promontory overlooking Ehden...
we at last meet the man, Sayed Marcos, the Johnny Appleseed of cedars
Sayed has planted 100,000 cedars
in 25 years
and he puts us to work, planting young cedar trees
now we have roots in Lebanon
To sit in solitude, to think in solitude with only the music of the stream and the cedar to break the flow of silence, there lies the value of wilderness.
an unsung hero, Sayed Marcos
to help Sayed and the cedars of Lebanon, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact www.mtsobek.com #mtsobek #stellerstories