Unless the wording of a 2005 amendment to the Agriculture Law is changed, the Kingdom’s state forests are in danger of extinction, according to the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN).
Ã¢??In 10 years, there will be no forests left in Jordan if this amendment is not stopped,Ã¢?Â RSCN Director General Yahya Khalid told The Jordan Times.
The core of the issue is the original Law of Agriculture No. 44 of 2002, which forbids any leasing, commissioning or selling of state forest lands, no matter what the reasons may be. The RSCN describes this original law as Ã¢??one of the strongest forest laws, equal to certain such laws in EU countries.Ã¢?Â
In 2005, the law was weakened by an amendment, which now makes it possible for private investors to buy land in the Kingdom’s forests to establish tourist resorts. The condition is that the environment and trees in the cultivated areas should be protected and preserved or moved to another location.
However, it is not a feasible solution to move the trees around, according to Khalid.
Ã¢??Let’s be practical about it. What investor would want to move all those trees? I know Jordan well. Maybe in the beginning the investors will move some, to make it seem like they care about the environment, but soon enough they will stop doing it. We (at the RSCN) support investment in general, but not when it’s at the expense of the environment. This is why we reject the new amendment entirely. Opening the way for private investments in forests will quickly run out of hand, and I believe that it might even be less than 10 years before all our forests will be gone,Ã¢?Â Khalid told The Jordan Times. [source]
We have forests?
Around 0.9 per cent of the Kingdom is covered by trees
Everytime I see a big piece of land filled with these great trees I am suprised. Upon a closer look I find a sign that says this park is either a gift to a certain emir in the gulf or a gift from a certain emir in the gulf.