People, Environment

15-Fold Increase in Iran's Anti-Desertification Funding

15-Fold Increase in Anti-Desertification Funding
15-Fold Increase in Anti-Desertification Funding

The government has earmarked 9 trillion rials ($237 million) for anti-desertification schemes for the current fiscal year (started March 21), which is 15 times more than last year’s budget of 600 billion rials ($15.7 million).

If the funds are allocated, “the projects will not face financial challenges this year”, said Abbas Kargar, director of Desert Affairs Office at the Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization, IRNA reported.

Monitoring the progress of anti-desertification measures in Aran-va-Bidgol, Isfahan Province, the official said the significant increase in budget is for implementing schemes that will help reduce dust storm hotspots.

The provinces of Isfahan, Yazd, South Khorasan, and Sistan-Baluchestan are given top priority in terms of budget allocation due to the presence of numerous sources of dust and sand storms.

“Home to multiple dust sources, Isfahan has received 330 billion rials ($8.6 million) for [anti-desertification and reforestation] programs,” Kargar said, adding that 300,000 hectares of forest have so far been planted in the province.  

Iran has 32 million hectares of desert and 2.5 million hectares of manmade forests have been created to curb desertification and mitigate its impacts.

Iran has been struggling with perpetual drought for some 15 years, which has led to the desiccation of rivers and wetlands, and the emergence of dust sources.

The phenomenon is a multi-factorial problem exacerbated by other reasons, namely climate change, gross mismanagement of water resources and inefficient farming practices. Desertification threatens over 100,000 hectares of forests in the country.

A group of anti-desertification experts from Italy, Germany, Turkey, Iraq and Ghana paid a visit to Aran-va-Bidgol on Tuesday.


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