TUNISIA – Tunis/Tunisia — The losses from fires ravaging Tunisian forests each year vary between 20 and 50 thousand dinars for a single hectare burnt, says Deputy Director of Forest Protection at the General Directorate of Forests Zouhaier Ben Salem.
During Summer, the number of forest fires reached 458 destroying almost 25,822 ha, 55% of which were exceptional fires that occurred in closed military zones and zones of military operations in the Mounts Chaambi, Salloum, Sammama, Tayousha and Tam Samida in Feriana and Mghila of the governorate of Kasserine and part of the governorate of Sidi Bouzid, Ben Salem told TAP.
The remaining total area burnt (45%) i.e , 700 ha, including 9,158.2 ha was set on fire from July 23 to August 20.
The damage that occurred during Summer 2021 affected a number of forests located in the regions of Zaghdoud in Oueslatia and Fej Hassine as well as fruit trees, animals and bee hives in Ghardimaou and Ain Debba in Fernana.
On the observance of the National Tree Day in November, relevant authorities held an afforestation campaign on the theme “Together for Green Tunisia”.
The cost of reforestation for a single hectare in a burnt area is estimated at 9,000 dinars, says Ben Salem, clarifying that forests need up to 30 years to get renewed.
The forestry sector has several functions. It contributes to 1.33% of the country’s GDP, 14% of agricultural GDP and guarantees 15 to 25% of the needs of the national livestock in fodder.
The revenues of the annual direct sales of forest products is estimated at 18 MD, while the average annual national budget devoted to this sector over the past five years is 65 MD.
Tunisia exports forest products such as wood and organic aromatic oils.
The economic value of the goods and services of forests, rangelands and alfatial aquifers is estimated at 965 MD.