District prioritizes sustainability

Barzan bans commercial harvesting of wildflowers and herbs to protect local ecosystem

BARZAN — The Barzan Environmental Protection Battalion has implemented a ban on commercial harvesting of wildflowers and herbs within its jurisdiction, aiming to safeguard the local ecosystem. Local families, however, are permitted to gather these plants for personal use, provided they do so sustainably.

Lieutenant Siddiq Hassan, the battalion’s media chief, spoke to 964media about the necessity of the ban, citing the significant loss of flora due to commercial activities.

“While families can use these plants for personal consumption, uprooting them is strictly prohibited,” Hassan emphasized, highlighting sustainable harvesting methods that allow for plant regrowth and preservation.

The new directive comes in response to the detrimental practices of traders who often disregard environmental costs and uproot large quantities of plants. The battalion has intensified patrols, leading to the recent arrest of five individuals involved in the commercial exploitation of seasonal plants.

Hassan identified those involved in commercial harvesting as individuals from outside Barzan, an area renowned for its picturesque landscapes and tourist attractions like the Zoravgan Valley, Rezan, the Chama River, Shanidar Cave, and the Zraran River.

Barzan has earned a reputation of having a deep-rooted culture of environmental conservation, where protecting nature is viewed as an individual responsibility, not just a governmental directive.

Locals’ commitment extends beyond the recent ban, encompassing the protection of trees and local wildlife, including mountain animals. The area’s successful conservation efforts are evident in the increasing presence of larger and more abundant trees, a sight less common in surrounding areas.

Furthermore, Barzan has witnessed a rise in its wildlife population, particularly mountain goats, which are now seen venturing into human settlements and streets, indicating a sense of safety and coexistence.

During the Ba’ath regime’s rule, the area faced deforestation, animal poaching, and village destruction as part of oppressive measures against the local Kurdish population.

However, since the 1991 Kurdish uprising that led to subsequent semi-autonomous status for the Kurdistan Region, Barzan has implemented environmental rules that ahve contributed to the regeneration of flora and fauna.

These rules include penalties for poaching ranging from six months to one year in prison and fines between one million and two million Iraqi dinars ($760-1,500 USD). Additionally, the legislation strictly prohibits hunting specific wildlife like chukar partridges and wild goats and allows fishing only with traditional methods after a designated period, minimizing the impact on aquatic life.

Located in the northwest of Erbil, Barzan comprises one town and 252 inhabited and deserted villages. It borders the districts of Akre to the south, Shamzinan to the north, Soran to the east, and Amedi to the west.

The wild goats roaming through Kurdistan's mountains

The wild goats roaming through Kurdistan's mountains

Barzan environmentalists release wild goat back into nature

Barzan environmentalists release wild goat back into nature