People, Environment

Activist Laments State of Caspian Hyrcanian Forests

Activist Laments State of Caspian Hyrcanian ForestsActivist Laments State of Caspian Hyrcanian Forests

The Caspian Hyrcanian forests, which form a crescent in southern regions of the Caspian Sea, will disappear due to both deforestation and human-driven climate change, said an environmentalist.

“There are not many forests in Iran and those in the north are not likely to survive long enough for the next generation to benefit from,” Masoud Shakiba added in a radio program on Friday about the conservation of forests in the northern province of Mazandaran, ISNA reported.

He blamed insufficient environmental budgets and inadequate laws for the protection of northern woodlands.

Shakiba said the budgets allocated to the Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization and the Department of Environment are too low to help the forests.

“The DOE’s budget of $46 million is barely enough to build a small dam,” he said.

“This amount does not enable the DOE to fulfill its duties and protect the environment comprehensively. The same is true about FRWO.”

Pointing to a legal vacuum concerning environmental protection, the expert said widespread violations and deforestation will continue as long as the status of park rangers is not clearly defined in the law, referring to the poor legal support for park rangers, which has virtually crippled them.

Hadi Kiadaliri, the head of Iranian Society of Forestry, also lamented the lack of funds for forest protection, which he said reflects the lack of attention given to forests.

“NGOs can play a key role both in raising public awareness and providing assistance in conservation projects,” he said.

He added that expert NGOs can help involve the public in protective plans and public NGOs can disseminate information about the states of forests among all populations across the country.

“If you see the northern forests today and return to see them again after 10 years, you will most likely see large patches of cleared land,” said Kiadaliri.

In January, the parliament adopted a law banning the exploitation of Caspian Hyrcanian forests for 10 years. The ban will be implemented in stages and go into full effect in 2020.

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