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2,000 trees, shrubs destroyed in Royal Botanic Garden fire

June 19, 2014

by Hana Namrouqa | Jun 19, 2014 | 18:19 Updated: Jun 19, 2014 | 18:19

AMMAN An investigation is under way to identify the cause of a fire that erupted late Wednesday in the Royal Botanic Garden, destroying 2,000 trees and shrubs, a government official said on Thursday.

The fire started at a late hour on Wednesday and continued until dawn on Thursday, Agriculture Ministry Spokesperson Nimer Haddadin told The Jordan Times.

"A total of 250 dunums of forest trees, shrubs and medicinal plants were burnt in the fire, either completely or partially," Haddadin said.

He added that the authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire, noting that "reckless visitors" are most likely to blame.

"The rough topography of the area, the dense trees, the dry grass and strong winds on Wednesday night all contributed to spreading the fire," Haddadin noted.

The RBG said on its Facebook page that the fire swept through a hillside at night.

"Bad news: A fire at the Royal Botanic Garden swept across a hillside during the night. Fortunately, it was kept away from our offices and research area," the RBG said on its Facebook page, which also carried photos of the burnt hillside that overlooks King Talal Dam.

Founded in 2005, the RBG is located in Tal Al Rumman in Balqa Governorate, around 30km northwest of Amman. Spread over two-and-a-half hills, the garden stretches over 1,800 dunums and has more than 300 metres of elevation change within its boundaries, according to the RBG website.

Tal Al Rumman is renowned for its dense forests which represent a natural habitat for several locally and internationally threatened species. The RBG seeks to preserve Jordan's indigenous plant life.

The Kingdom's forests, which constitute less than 1 per cent of its total landscape, are threatened by wildfires during the summer and illegal logging during the winter, in addition to lack of rain due to climate change.

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Source: Jordan Times, The

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