People, Environment

Logging in Caspian Hyrcanian Forests Declines by 8%

Logging in Caspian Hyrcanian Forests Declines by 8%Logging in Caspian Hyrcanian Forests Declines by 8%

The logging of trees in the Caspian Hyrcanian forests has dropped by 8% during the current Iranian year—which ends on March 20—compared to the previous year.

“Since the beginning of this year, nearly 550,000 cubic meters of timber have been extracted from the forests,” Mohammad Ali Ma’soumi, director of the forestry office at Iran’s Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization, was quoted as saying by IRNA on Tuesday.

Spanning the three provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Golestan along the southern coasts of the Caspian Sea, the forests are of immense ecological value.

After peaking at over 1.5 million meters in 1996, logging in the forests has declined steadily.

In January, lawmakers approved the long-awaited Forest Protection Bill, which places a 10-year ban on exploiting the rapidly diminishing northern forests. The ban will go into effect in 2020.

Annual demand for timber in Iran is 7-10 million cubic meters and is expected to reach 13 million cubic meters in five years.

Iran has lined up several measures to alleviate the mounting pressure on forests, such as increasing timber imports from Russia and Ukraine to reduce logging and protect the Caspian Hyrcanian forests.

Tehran currently imports a million cubic meters of timber from Russia and Ukraine annually, but wants to increase the volume four times. The goal is to import 10 million cubic meters of wood every year by 2021.

In 1941, Iran’s northern forests covered an area of 3.4 million hectares that shrank to 1.8 million hectares in 2000s. In 2002, the Department of Environment described one-third of this area as damaged woodland and left 1.2 million hectares as pristine forest.

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