People, Environment

Timber Farms to the Rescue

Timber Farms to the RescueTimber Farms to the Rescue

Barely 10% of Iran’s timber demand is supplied from internal forests, which is the lowest level it has ever been, according to a senior official.

About 76% of wood needs are met by tree farms that have helped take off the pressure piling on forests, IRIB News Agency quoted Khodakaram Jalali, head of the Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization, as saying.

“We need to incentivize tree farms to encourage more people in set up these plantations.”

A tree farm is a privately owned tract of land where trees are grown for commercial use. There about 220,000 hectares of tree farms in Iran. The country uses 6.5 million cubic meters of wood every year, which is expected to double over the next decade.

Last week, the organization announced plans to increase the volume of timber imports from Russia and Ukraine from one million cubic meters to 10 million cubic meters a year by 2021.

Iran’s environmental officials have long called for a national effort to take on the timber mafia, curb illegal logging and reduce reliance on domestic forests to meet the growing demand for timber.

Forests cover 14 million hectares of Iran — less than 10% of the land area — which is relatively small compared to the global average, but nothing short of a blessing given the country’s geography.

The Department of Environment has drafted a Forest Protection Bill, which contains measures to gradually reduce logging. Parliament has yet to vote on the bill.

By some estimates, nearly 142,000 hectares of forestlands are destroyed for various reasons in Iran every year, prompting experts to warn that unless action is taken, future generations will be bereft of this natural resource.