Law Protecting Zagros Forests Awaiting Approval

Law Protecting Zagros Forests Awaiting ApprovalLaw Protecting Zagros Forests Awaiting Approval

A comprehensive bill to preserve and develop Zagros forests has been drawn up and will be approved by the government within the next three months, announced Shirin Abolghasemi, head of the Zagros Protection Project.

The bill was prepared as a result of collaboration between several ministries and organizations; Department of Environment (DoE), ministries of interior, power, agriculture jihad in collaboration with Forests, Range, and Watershed Management Organization (FRWO), and Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO), Mehr News Agency reported.

The plan is part of the country’s Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan which will be sent to Majlis for final approval.

Abolghasemi hoped the approval process would not take the parliament more than six months, as the implementation of the plan requires strong legal support to prevent further damage to the forest.

She stressed that the plan is part of a bigger program to reach sustainable development along with aquaculture, foresting, and agriculture, noting that while the bill targets 3,600,000 hectares of central Zagros forests, it can extend to the entire Zagros region if approved.

She took stock of the status of oak trees in the forest, explaining that contrary to the previous assumption that woodboring beetles were the main culprits behind the demise of the trees, new evidence suggests that overgrazing and long droughts have had greater impact on the death of the oaks.

“The number of domestic animals is three times greater than the capacity of the forest,” she noted.

She also urged the implementation of proper watershed management, denouncing the existing gabion walls as ineffective and dangerous to the health of the forest.

“Measures have been taken to plant and breed more drought- and pest-resistant oaks to grow species more compatible with the new environmental condition,” she concluded.