Environmental Threats Alarming, Warns Expert

April 5, 2003 - 0:0
TEHRAN -- Head of Forest and Rangeland Organization Mohammad Samadi said that Iran possesses a rich environment, which is unfortunately under constant threats of serious damage due to carelessness.

He added that 87 percent of the ecologically destructive factors are human instigated and that the culture of optimal use of forests and rangelands has not yet been promoted among Iranians.

"Growing world population on one hand and overuse of forest and rangeland resources along with the increasing deforestation are cause for great concern over the future of the environment," he noted.

The official pointed out that governments and nations can slow down the draining of natural resources through proper planning. He also proposed to expand the acreage of forests and rangelands.

Some 90 million hectares of rangelands, 12.4 million hectares of forest and 43 million hectares of desert area, which make up over 80 percent of the nation's total area, is the best evidence for the extensive natural resources across the country, which need special care.

"Rangelands constitute about 90 million hectares of natural resources, which are classified into three categories in quality," he noted.

He said that in the pastures sector, the annual production of 10.5 million tons of fodder, comprising only one-fifth of the value of the pastures, is the only noteworthy product.

The official referred to the excess cattle, compared to the existing pastures, as the main reason for the destruction of the natural resources.

Samadi put the area of Iran's desert areas at 43 million hectares and said that Iran is located in the arid zone, stretching from Africa to Mongolia. Referring to the decisive role of desert areas in man's economic life, he said, "once they are subject to extreme aridity, masses of moving sands will threaten both the human and economic lives. Thus, deserts deserve special attention."

He pointed out that the per capita forest area in Iran stands at 0.2 hectare, while the world figure is 0.6 hectare. He attributed the low forest per capita in Iran to the climatic conditions. "Given that Iran is located in a dry zone, its rainfall is one third that of the world." Putting the total forest area at 12.4 million hectares, he said that 1.9 million hectares of the national forests known as Hirkani forests are located in northern Iran and five million hectares lie in Zagros area. These two constitute the main national forest zones. (IRNA)