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11 wildfires destroy 408 dunums of land in 2017

Number of wildfires expected to decline due to tougher monitoring of forests — Agriculture Ministry

By Hana Namrouqa - Jul 04,2017 - Last updated at Jul 04,2017

Fire rages through Kamaliyeh, west of Amman, June 17 (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — A total of 408 dunums of forest have been destroyed in 11 wildfires across the country since the start of the year, according to a government official, who added that the number of wildfires was expected to drop this year.

The number of wildfires is declining every year, Ministry of Agriculture Spokesperson Nimer Haddadin said on Tuesday, attributing the decline to “a stricter monitoring of forests and improved prevention and fire extinguishing methods”.

“In 2015, the ministry registered a total of 50 wildfires that destroyed 1,327 dunums, while the number dropped to 43 wildfires that engulfed 835 dunums of forest trees in 2016. Figures show a declining trend and we expect the number to drop this year,” Haddadin indicated.

The official noted that the opening of more routes through forests to give fire engines access to all the areas of the forests, increased patrols and tougher monitoring of forests during the hot season are among the reasons for the decline in forest fires.

Monitoring towers have also been established in the northern region’s forests and authorities have recently started using drones to detect violations in forests, Haddadin added.

Official figures also show that violations in forests are dropping, with 453 cases recorded in 2015 and 230 recorded in 2016, Haddadin said, noting that, so far, 50 cases of forest violations have been recorded since the start of this year.

Forests in Jordan constitute less than 1 per cent of the country’s total area of 97,000 square kilometres.

Jordan is among the poorest countries worldwide in terms of forest cover, with the internationally accepted average of land covered by forests standing at 15 per cent of the total area, according to official figures.

 

Forestry land amounts to 1.5 million dunums, of which 250,000 dunums are bare, 400,000 dunums are natural forests, 500,000 dunums are planted forests and 350,000 dunums are nature reserves, according to the ministry.

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