Preservation of Abr Forest

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The Abr Forest, or جنگل ابر (Jangle Amshee,) is located 250 miles west of Iran's capital city, Tehran. When translated into English, Jangle-Abr means 'The Cloud Forest.' Residents who live in the nearby cities, Tehran for example, travel to the Abr Forest to stay connected with nature. Conservationists argue that

Scenic shot of Abr Forest, or "Cloud Jungle." Photo courtesy of[[1]]

Ecological Makeup

Jangal-e Abr, or The Abr Forest, is called the cloud forest due to its ecological makeup which is known as tropical montane cloud forest. Cloud forests are usually consisted of subtropical temperature with constant hanging fog, or clouds, that sit at canopy level. Due to its unique position of being always being covered in moisture by low hanging clouds, tropical montane cloud forests have special, unique microclimates. The slightest change to the region in which the forest sits can have huge consequences to the rest of the plants and animals living in the area.[2]

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Talks of Road Expansion

Google Map of Iranian region where the Abr Forest lies shows the roads that were already constructed.

In the summer of 2012, Iranian environmental activists took to the streets to protest talks of road expansion and construction on the Abr Forest. The Enviornment Organization of Iran approved cuts throughout the forest to create a road to ease commutes to surrounding towns. The Organization claims that "rarely [trees] more than 15 cm in diameter" will be touched, and that they planned a route for the road that affects the forest as little as possible. [3]

Protestors rejected those claims and pointed to the fact that there were already five roads that helped commuters get to the main destinations and that any construction of this nature would "upset the ecological balance of the region." [4] Activists also push that the main reason the roads were approved on is due to "campaign promises [and that they need to] satisfy the interests of land mongers and the lumber mafia." [5]

Protestors against construction in the Abr Forest. Photo courtesy of: ISNA.

As of recent, plans for the road have not gone ahead. Community activism, strong Iranian-media presence and members of Parliament have help spread word to prevent the construction for as long as they can. However, with the recent Iranian election coming up in June, talks of expansion are coming up again. Kamaleddin Pirmoazen, a member of the environmental faction within Iranian Parliament, stressed that murmurs of Janagle-Abr construction are just publicity stunts aimed a gathering attention for the presidential election. According to Primoazen, he and his fellow environmental MPs would not allow a type of plan implemented. [6]

Apathy Towards Environmental Change

Although there has never been as much conscious environmental efforts made within the Iranian community as there have been in modern day, the country still does not have a fair grip, or understanding, of what it really takes to protect it's natural resources and scenery. Due to the nation's numerous promininent issues (including relations with the US and Israeli, nuclear power, social equality, etc.) enviornmental issues have always taken a back seat. Iranian environmental activist Mohammad Darvish says that movement within the nation is "budding, but is far from being a movement," quite yet [7].Iran is ranked 114 out of 132 on the 2012 Environmental Performance Index, and there has been little effort outside of the small-sect of passionate environmental activists in Iran to improve that. [8].


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