Forestry in Syria

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A pine forest in the al-Ansariyah mountains

The forestry in Syria are confined to the coastal mountain ranges, which stretch in an uninterrupted chain from the borders of Turkey to Lebanon, parallel to the Mediterranean Sea.[1] The forested area of Syria has dropped from 20,000 square kilometres (7,700 sq mi) in 1911 to 7,500 square kilometres (2,900 sq mi) in 1947. In 2010, it has been estimated at around 4,500 square kilometres (1,700 sq mi) or 2.55 percent of Syria's total area.[2]


In ancient times, Syria was richly forested. Many of the forests have been depleted and thinned by overuse of wood for timber and firewood, overgrazing and repeated forest fires.

Regions and species[edit]

In northern Syria exists the Kurd-Dagh forest range, a small composition located to the northwest of Aleppo. Kurd-Dagh is practically denuded as the result of unrestrained logging during World War I. It is reduced to coppice of Kermes oak (Quercus coccifera), with occasional Aleppo pines (Pinus halepensis) and European Black Pine (Pinus nigra).[1]

In the northwest, near the borders with Turkey's Hatay province, the two forests of Baer and al-Bassit cover a total area of about 25,000 hectares (97 sq mi). They form the principal forest block in Syria. The Bassit, close to the coast, is covered with fairly dense stands of Aleppo pine. The forest was ravaged by fire. The Baer, situated at the higher altitude of 800 metres (2,600 ft) is covered with Aleppo pine, Turkey oak (Quercus cerris) and Vallones oak. The forest is mostly protected from logging but, around the edges, wood is removed for use in tobacco-drying plants.[1]

The Al-Ansariyah mountains range runs parallel to the coast, rises to 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) and stretches for 100 kilometres (62 mi) down to the Homs Gap. The mountain crests are covered with uniform stands of deciduous oaks of commercial value. There are several isolated pockets of Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani), Cilician fir (Abies cilicica) and juniper (Juniperus excelsa). Where the elevation drops to 800 metres (2,600 ft) evergreen oaks occur in pure stands. The forests of al-Ansariyah mountains cover a total area of about 20,000 hectares (77 sq mi).[1]

The inland mountain ranges are almost entirely deforested. The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) and the Pistachio tree are the only tree species of the Syrian desert. The latter forms open stands containing only a few trees per hectare, but extending over enormous areas in two places in the Syrian desert: Abd-el-Aaziz mountain in al-Jazira and Bilas mountain in the Palmyra region.[1]


The legal standing in Syria regarding timber and forests is rooted in Ottoman laws. All forested land belonged to the Sultan. After the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, ownership devolved on the Syrian State.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Rolley, J (March–April 1948). "Forest conditions in Syria and Lebanon". Unasylva (Washington DC, USA: FAO) 2 (2): 77–80. 
  2. ^ Martini, Ghalia, Vegetation: The Mediterranean Forests of Coastal Mountains, Faculty of Agriculture - Aleppo University