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Balqa afforestation project reaches 50 per cent progress — Agriculture Ministry

By Hana Namrouqa - Jun 22,2017 - Last updated at Jun 22,2017

The Humret Al Salt afforestation project is being implemented in Salt city, according to the Agriculture Ministry (Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Agriculture)

AMMAN — Progress on a project to plant 1,000 dunums in Balqa Governorate with trees to expand the green cover has reached 50 per cent, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

The Humret Al Salt afforestation project is being implemented in Salt city, Agriculture Ministry’s spokesperson Nimer Haddadin said, indicating that trees that withstand heat and drought are being planted.

“A total of 500 dunums have been planted so far with acacia, eucalyptus and pine trees. The project is part of the ministry’s efforts to increase the green cover in the country. It also seeks to support livestock breeders,” Haddadin told The Jordan Times.

The project entails the establishment of several sand ponds for the collection of rain water and water from springs in the area, Haddadin said, noting that the ponds aim at providing cattle breeders with water for their animals during summer.

In addition, water tankers with a capacity of 30 cubic metres are also being installed in the high-altitude parts of the project’s terrain for the irrigation of the trees, Haddadin said, noting that the trees will be irrigated via a watering system that relies on difference between elevations.

“Work is now under way to instal the irrigation system and open forest fire routes to give fire engines access to all parts of the forest in the future,” he noted.

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.

 

Plans are under way to use drones, towers and cameras to protect the country’s forests and record violations of laws regarding trees.

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