Agriculture ministry bans exploitation of endangered northern forests

November 6, 2016

TEHRAN — Iranian Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati has issued an order, urging the Forests, Range, and Watershed Management Organization to stop the exploitation of endangered northern forests.

In a letter to Khodakaram Jalali, the director of the Forests, Range, and Watershed Management Organization, Hojjati called for a halt to the exploitation of northern forests for commercial and industrial purposes at the earliest opportunity, ILNA reported on Friday.

Industrial and commercial exploitations of northern forests either permitted or not would be halted within the framework of a short-term program, Hojjati noted in his letter, adding, the cabinet banned all industrial exploitations from northern forests with the exception of broken branches, fallen or damaged trees in January 2014.

Building any new roads in the northern forests is prohibited by the law and the budget allotted to the roads maintenance must be spent on the forests preservation plans, he added.

This can be considered as one of the best decisions made by the current administration to protect the invaluable northern forests.

It is worth mentioning that in June 2015 the government also brought a bill before Majlis (Iranian parliament) asking for a 10-year interval for any forests exploitations.

Chief of Iran’s Department of Environment (DOE) Masoumeh Ebtekar has earlier urged all those active in the wood industry to shift from logging to wood import in order to move toward sustainable development.

The CEO of Iran’s forestry society Hadi Kiadaliri has also said that it is important to take measures to help this program carry on and succeed such as allocating budget and easing importing regulations.

Kiadaliri believes that logging is only part of the problem and over grazing also plays a significant role in ruining the jungles.

“What we should do is to change the attitudes towards forests as so far they were treated like economic resources while they are great treasures which are shrinking gradually,” he suggested.

Based on the figures revealed by the Forests, Range, and Watershed Management Organization some one million hectares of forests have been cut down and destroyed over past 30 to 40 years.

MQ/MG

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