Tehran, 4 January 2006 (CHN) -- The usage of more than six hectares of Neca national-historical forests with 200-year-old trees has been changed by planting saplings of fruit trees by the order of a member of Iran's parliament.
Although the director general of natural resources of Mazandaran province has announced that the case will be followed and the offenders will be punished, this is only one of the cases about occupation of the forests, especially the Hirkani forest at the coast of the Caspian Sea, which have been ignored due to the lack of financial support.
Hirkani forest is considered one of the unique forests in the world which has covered the northern mountain-skirts of Alborz and the southern shore of the Caspian Sea. This green belt continues from Astara in the northwest to Gorgan province in the east.
These forests, remained from Jurassic Epoch, once accounted for some 3.7 million hectares of Iran's natural forests, while they have now been reduced to 1.8 million hectares.
According to the available statistics, in 1961 Iran had some 18 million hectares of forests, whereas today that number has been reduced to 12.7 million hectares. What has happened over the course of 45 years?
Experts believes that excessive exploitations of forests by logging companies, smuggling of woods, the large numbers of cattle which are brought to the forests to pasture, and the changes in the usage of forests as agricultural lands and fruit gardens are the main reasons for the massive destruction of Iranian forests.
According to the Department of Natural Resources of Sary city, between 1977 and 1979 wood smugglers caused a great harm to the rainforests of northern Iran. More than 500,000 hectares of forests have been exploited within these two years, especially in rural areas. The forests in the north of Iran had an area of about 3,200,000 hectare in 1978 which has been reduced to 2,700,000 hectare by now.
The old ages of the trees in these forests on the one hand, and the existence of some 80 rare kinds of plants and wood such as oak, beech, alder, elm-tree, wild cherry, etc. on the other, have made them live and natural museums which attract thousands of domestic and foreign tourists each year.
... Payvand News - 1/6/06 ... --