People, Environment

Deforestation Not Given Enough Attention

Deforestation Not Given Enough AttentionDeforestation Not Given Enough Attention

An official at the Department of Environment has urged the public and authorities to stop viewing forests as “wood factories” and step up efforts to protect the precious resource.

Speaking to ILNA, Daryoush Golalizadeh, head of the DOE’s working group on forest protection, said it is imperative to “stop viewing the Caspian Hyrcanian forests (in northern Iran) as a business opportunity and start paying attention to the their ecological worth.”

To that end, the DOE prepared a bill that called for banning all logging in Iran for five years, “but the Majlis Agriculture Commission rejected it.”

However, the Rouhani administration is preparing a bill that aims to promote the ecological value of forests and outlines measures to crackdown on illegal logging and smuggling of timber.

The official was of the opinion that “raising awareness gradually” is more likely to produce results.

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There are more ecofriendly ways to make a living from forests than cutting down trees, Golalizadeh said.

“Any plan that aims to protect forests must take into account the livelihood of the locals who resort to harming forests to make ends meet,” he said.

“Therefore, we need to find (sustainable) ways to meet the country’s demand for wood without harming our forests.”

Golalizadeh pointed to ecotourism as “a green way to exploit forests” and make a living.

Experts believe it is possible to instill a sense of responsibility toward forests in locals if they are made aware of the economic values of forest conservation.

DOE chief and vice president, Masoumeh Ebtekar, has often appealed to authorities to help curb illegal logging and think of importing timber to give Iran’s forests some respite.

According to Hamid Gashtasb, director of Biomes and Regional Affairs Office at the DOE, “350 square meters of forests and grasslands are destroyed every second in Iran.”

By some estimates, nearly 142,000 hectares of forestlands are destroyed for various reasons in Iran every year prompting experts to warn that unless swift action is taken, the country will not have any forests left in 60 years.