Amman Oak

Every time we drive beyond Dabouq, towards Bader, Mahis and Fuhais, My wife and I get enraged.

Because the direct answer to the question “who is killing Amman’s oaks?” is: rich west-Ammani villa builders! People who go and buy land in Amman’s most beautiful countryside hills, which are full of amazing oak trees, and then build huge palaces on 10 dunum parcels of land, and who, in the process, rip out, RIP OUT!! every last oak tree from their land!

These people, I can testify have a problem with trees. They have a problem with nature. They have a problem with life, in fact.

Do they hate trees. YES, when it comes to natural growth oak trees that made those areas of ‘new Amman’ beautiful in the first place.

They build elaborate driveways, garages, swimming pool areas and tiled terraces around their oversized villas. Then they decorate these areas with new trees, such as italian cedars and palm trees, in an act of cheap imitation of Beverly Hills, or whatever their idea of ‘rich’ is. These kinds of trees they LOVE and are willing to spend tens of thousands of JDs on planting and irrigating them.

Amman oak land
[Notice the increasing building activity in the oak areas beyond Firdous suburb]

Go for a drive around the hills and see it for yourself. The excavation works of these villas are happening in the middle of rich oak forests. The first thing they do is remove every natural tree from the land. There is no sensitivity to the land or nature. It is the worst kind of human behavior: destroying the natural order for the sake of creating fake lifestyles.

The widening of roads in those areas is also taking its toll on the nature. The land owners and the road planers are destroying the very reason this land has become so sought after.

I think that there probably is no law against this kind of behavior. It is, after all private land. But I would advise the Greater Amman Municipality to create some law/directive to monitor this situation. Any felling of trees inside private lands should be kept to a minimum. And any trees that have to go need to be replaced by new trees of the same kind.

Isn’t it sad enough that Jordan’s forest are being felled by the underprivileged inhabitants of rural areas for firewood?
What now? We have to educate Amman’s millionaire’s about the importance of trees? Maybe we should hand out brochures to private school kids to give their parents, withe title: “Dad. Mom. How many trees did you kill to build our house?”

This is just shameful. This destructive attitude to the natural surroundings of the city is disastrous. There is a deep culture of nature-hatred among the privileged in our society that needs to be tackled.

GAM (link the their new blog), RSCN (could not find a complaints page!), the Ministry of Environment (link to their complaints page), the Ministry of Agriculture (link the their site. Minister email is this) all have a role to play in this. A new organization is being formed to defend trees in Jordan, I heard. But we cannot wait for them and leave the big villa builders destroy more oaks.

So go ahead. Complain to the officials. Better yet, let the offenders know that what they are doing is a crime. Architects in particular have a role here.

A tree's revenege
Cartoon by Mike Adams.




13 responses to “Who is killing Amman’s oaks?”

  1. Moey Avatar

    damn they look nice!

  2. manal y Avatar
    manal y

    well actually there’s is hope, im working on a project for this rich guy that is going to have his house built in dabouq, and half of his land is scatered with oak trees, and his main priority is not to cut down a single tree and do we dare come close to one of them, we always get screamed at by our boss “u killed the trees”
    like right now i have an oak phobia :)

    and theres is other several projects were oak trees and other species and habitats are the main focus in the project.

    so there is hope, but people needs more education,

  3. Qwaider قويدر Avatar
    Qwaider قويدر

    I’m glad you brought this subject up Ahmad.
    There seems to be a trend these days in killing destroying our nature. Sadly many people feel that this is modernization.

    Good rant, and allow me to add my 100% support to your thoughts

  4. Onzlo Avatar

    This is just idiotic, seriously, people who cut down old indigenous trees to replace them with unsuitable imported saplings should be put in jail or made to pay a huge fine. Actually if it were up to me they would be executed.

  5. zaid m Avatar
    zaid m

    good subject, and i will never forget the day one of my relatives destroyed that very old, and only tree in his vast arid land to build instead a well to collect the rain fall, even though he never need it. what i want to know is is possible that some of these trees be moved to another area?

  6. Tala Avatar

    Fuheis and Mahis are not part of GAM! Ministry of Municipal Affairs should be added to your list..

  7. Humeid Avatar

    Tala: A lot of the damage is happening on land within GAM.

  8. Ahmad Al-Sholi Avatar
    Ahmad Al-Sholi

    I send emails or complaints to all on list.. Am sure in the morning just some intelligent mind in those offices will just delete it saying to himself.. “yeah, damn internet and democracy… another idiot wants to tell us how to work, lets check the stock market webpage and see what my 400JD investment is doing”..

  9. Ahmad Avatar

    i’m new to your site and not sure how it works but i think you have a valid point that could (should) be addressed by officials and not only blogged about..
    i think you would agree that the people building on oak land just don’t give a damn about the environment, they just want to get on with it.. so someone should have the authority to and actually care about stopping them.
    same goes for those fumes coming out of diesel trucks/cars.. they just kill nature and humans all the same (cancer).. i’m sure at some point in time you just could not open your car window due to the foul smell of diesel, thank god i don’t live down town!!

  10. amjad mahfouz Avatar
    amjad mahfouz

    this is a deep issue, those oaks need years to grow and are a great part of our heritage, not to mention deforestation is turning Jordan into a complete desert,
    I think we should pull the blogs together and demand protection for the remaining natural spots and ask for a plan to re grow future tree’s
    wht do u say?

    thx for the share

  11. nasimjo Avatar

    Totally agree with everything u said Ahmad …

    & the weired thing is, whenever u get to meet some of those people they start saying:

    “Eh! Jordan stinks, just go to europe or Canda … el 5adar, wel jaw el 7eloo … mesh ghabara zai houn!” ….

    & they forgot that they had the biggest hand in it!

  12. Nimer Avatar

    FYI, apparently those crowds, are using the oak wood, for their mansion’s fireplace – you know for the winter cold! Cheaper than buying it from the outskirt cities….

  13. Adeeb Odely Avatar
    Adeeb Odely

    I believe this plant area was killed tow times first at the late of turkish occupation when they used the wood for the al Hejaz Rail awy and now by the concrete forest

    deeb Odely t