By Rana Tayseer – Apr 26,2023

Ajloun Governorate, which has an area of 419,000 dunums, has a 34 per cent forest cover — the highest in the Kingdom, according to an official (Photo courtesy of Omar Shwitter)

AMMAN — Dozens of trees in the forests of Ajloun, most of which were hundreds of years old, were deliberately cut down by unknown persons, according to President of Jordan Environment Union Omar Shoshan.

Damaged areas are to be rehabilitated according to strict scientific standards as not to cause greater damage to the ecosystem, Shoshan told The Jordan Times.

A source at the Ajloun Directorate of Agriculture said that an individual was arrested for alleged involvement in the issue, and that investigations are ongoing.

It is not possible to stop the attacks in light of the weak enforcement mechanisms, Shoshan said.

Shoshan called for stiffer penalties to prevent the aggressors from repeating the offence of “cutting down trees in broad daylight”.

It is important to enforce the law as a first step. Then, there must be increased monitoring of such violations; the penalties must be made harsher for deterrence, he added.

The Forestry Directorate must adopt new concepts in forest management and global best practices, which consider forests the first line of defence in confronting the climate crisis. Also important is the principle of integrated natural resource management, which gives the most important role in protecting and economically benefiting from environmental systems to the local population, Shoshan said.

Head of the Tourism and Antiquities Committee of the Provincial Council, Munther Al Zaghoul, said in recent press statements that despite the decline in encroachments on the governorate’s forests in the past two years, concerns remain, especially in light of the limited numbers of forest monitors. This requires increasing the quantity of employees and strengthening their capabilities to ensure forests are effectively protected. 

Ajloun Governorate, which has an area of 419,000 dunums, has a 34 per cent forest cover — the highest in the Kingdom. This requires great efforts to preserve Ajloun’s natural wealth from various forms of violations and encroachments, Zaghoul said.

According to the figures of the Directorate of Agriculture, violations in forests, such as illegally harvesting trees, decreased by 80 per cent last year compared with previous years, which a directorate statement attributed to increased oversight and follow-up by the perso