By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 11 August, 2015:
A catastrophe is looming over Sidi Al-Hamri forest in eastern Libya’s Jebel Akhdar region because . . .[restrict]of the indiscriminate and rampant cutting down of trees for illegal charcoal production, Sheikha Salam, the head of public relations at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Wealth and Marine Resources warned on Monday.
Every year around this time, Salam said in an interview with the Libyan news agency LANA, illegal charcoal producers cut down parts of the the dense pine forest for charcoal production and then sell the product for a pittance compared to the real value of trees.
With the approaching holiday season next month of Eid al-Adha, with its barbecue feasts and celebrations among Libyans, Salam said that woodlands and forests were being targeted by vandals and thieves who did not care about the environment but only wanted to make money.
Salam, who works for the internationally-recognised government, based in the east since it lost the capital to Libya Dawn forces last year, has warned that Sidi al-Hamri forest is now a terrible state. It has also recently been used as a dumping site for municipal waste.
The 105-hecate woodland, containing mostly pine trees, is one of the oldest in Libya.
State agriculture officials have several times urged the authorities to preserve it and “consider it as a national duty,” Salam added.
Two years ago, many hundred hectares of woodland in the Jebel were destroyed in forest fires and have not yet recovered. [/restrict]