Der Wald brennt

An official at Kurdistan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources said forestry destroyed by fires and Iranian shelling is three times the amount of greenery that the ministry planted last year. Forestry Director Tofiq Darwesh said the fires have been so severe in some areas that it will take 20 years for forests to recover. The ministry reports that last year over 184,000 donums of trees, orchards and pastures were burned, mostly due to Iranian shelling of border areas and arson. That amounts to just over 3 percent of Iraq’s forested land. Forests in Sulaimani province sustained the most damage. The province lost 126,200 donums, while Erbil lost 27,039 donums. “The ongoing bombing and shelling of the border areas of Sidakan, Qandil Mountain and areas near the frontier with Turkey have greatly damaged the forests because with every artillery shell a large area of forest catches fire,” said Darwesh. “Eighty percent of the trees are oak trees, and some are 50 years old.”

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