$120m earmarked to implement Zagros forest protection plan

January 17, 2020 - 18:41

TEHRAN – A total budget of 5 trillion rials (nearly $120 million at the official rate of 42,000 rials) has been allocated to implement Zagros forest protection plan, IRNA news agency reported on Wednesday.

Vast areas of forest are covered with the Brant's oak, and several programs have been prepared to protect the forest plant species in 11 provinces.

Implementation of watershed management plans, identification of smuggling routes, and prohibition of agriculture in forests are among the programs.

Fariborz Gheibi, deputy head of the Forests, Range, and Watershed Management Organization, stated that this year, €150 million has been allocated to implement sustainable management of natural resources in over 33,000 watersheds.

The Zagros forest is the most important vegetation area in the country, which is spread over 6 million hectares of the whole 30-million-hectare area of the region, he noted.

Climate change, deforestation, over-grazing, land use changes, drought, pests and diseases were among the causes of depletion in the forests which have been analyzed, he highlighted.

Since the Iranian calendar year 1387 (March 2008-March 2009), about 1.45 million hectares of forests have died of pests and diseases.

Zagros forest steppe ecoregion with an area of about 6 million hectares (3.5 percent of Iran) is located primarily in Iran, ranging northwest to southeast and roughly paralleling the country's western border. The forest constitutes 40 percent of the country’s forested area. The forest has also been called western oak forest due to the dominance of oak species. 

According to the Science Direct Western, oak forests are home to many species including, the Persian squirrel which is the indicator species of this region. Persian squirrels and oak trees have symbiotic relationships, in which forests provide ecological requirements of Persian squirrels such as food and shelter and, in return, the Persian squirrel contributes in seed germination and forests’ regeneration. 

A wide variety of wildlife, including wolves, leopards, and even the Persian fallow deer which was once thought extinct have made their homes in the mountains.

FB/MG

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