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Suspects arrested for uprooting centennial olive trees in Jerash

By Hana Namrouqa - Dec 05,2017 - Last updated at Dec 05,2017

AMMAN — Authorities have apprehended a group of people in Jerash Governorate, some 48km northwest of the capital, for uprooting a dozen of centennial olive trees for trade purposes, an official at the Ministry of Agriculture said on Tuesday.

Officials from the Jerash Agriculture Directorate stopped the vehicle that was transporting the Roman olive trees, according to ministry’s Spokesperson Nimer Haddadin.

“Some 12 uprooted Roman olive trees, which are over 100 years old, were found in the back of the vehicle, which was seized and confiscated while the violators were referred for legal action,” Haddadin told The Jordan Times.

The Forestry Department will replant the trees, which, if planted properly have a 100 per cent chance of living, according to the ministry.

Roman olive trees are usually sold for hefty amounts of money to hotels, resorts or companies for landscaping purposes.

The centennial olive trees are locally referred to as Roman olive trees, because some of them are over 1,500 years old, according to the ministry, which said that they are a cultural legacy and people must protect them.

Minister of Agriculture Khaled Hneifat on Tuesday honoured the officials at the Jerash Agriculture Directorate who stopped the vehicle and prevented the loss of the trees. 

Ministry’s laws and regulations prohibit the uprooting of centennial fruit trees, which can only be allowed by obtaining official approval from the ministry.

Forestry lands amount 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 are nature reserves, according to the ministry’s figures.

 

Under environmental regulations, those who cut down forest trees without a licence face a three-month prison term, a JD100 fine for each tree chopped down from state-owned land and a JD50 fine for each one from private land. In addition, their equipment is confiscated

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