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70,000 saplings to be planted across Kingdom to mark Arbour Day

By Hana Namrouqa - Jan 14,2015 - Last updated at Jan 14,2015

AMMAN — Over 70,000 saplings will be planted across the Kingdom starting Thursday, which marks Arbour Day, to expand Jordan’s forests, a government official said on Wednesday.

The saplings will be planted in 50 different locations to increase the country’s green cover, Agriculture Ministry Spokesperson Nimer Haddadin told The Jordan Times.

In celebration of Arbour Day, the ministry will plant 20,000 saplings of various forest trees on a 118-dunum plot of land in Mudawarrah in Mafraq Governorate, 80km northeast of the capital, on Thursday, Haddadin noted.

“The saplings which will be planted during Thursday’s ceremony were selected so that they adapt well to the country’s climate, such as pines, among other forest trees,” he said.

During this time every year, the ministry’s forestry department plants saplings on hundreds of dunums to expand the Kingdom’s green cover.

“The department has prepared 1,000 dunums to be planted with 50,000 saplings this year to increase the country’s forests,” Haddadin added.

The forestry department’s 14 nurseries across the country will provide the saplings, according to the spokesperson, who said the nurseries produce 3 million saplings of more than 80 different kinds every year.

The department annually distributes over 1.5 million saplings to the public free of charge, in addition to some 500,000 saplings to public and private institutions. Another one million saplings are left at the nurseries to produce more, according to the ministry.

Haddadin called on individuals, and the private and public sectors to contact the ministry’s forestry department to secure their needs of different types of trees with the aim of increasing green spaces in Jordan.

The tradition of Arbour Day in the Kingdom began in 1939 with a ceremony held in the Jabal Al Qalaa neighbourhood.

Since then, it has been an annual celebration, with the Agriculture Ministry choosing a different location each year to plant various saplings.

Illegal logging during winter, wildfires in summer and insufficient rain due to climate change are the main threats to Jordan’s shrinking green cover, which stands at less than 1 per cent of the country’s total landscape, according to experts.

Several projects were launched over the past years to increase the Kingdom’s forest land and create more green spaces, including the national forestry project, the forests protection project and the Green Belt project, under which trees are planted along the desert highway, which links the central and southern regions.

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