Land and Resources, Environmental Issues
Orontes, clear land, marine pollution, crop rotation, desertification
Syria’s farmland suffers from desertification and soil erosion, in part because of the country’s rapid rate of deforestation. About 2.2 percent (1990-1996) of the nation’s forests are felled each year to clear land for farms and housing.
For many years, the fertility of Syria’s farmland declined because many of the country’s farmers did not practice crop rotation. Since the 1980s, the government has been educating farmers about crop rotation and other principles of land management. Irrigation projects are gradually making more of the country agriculturally productive, but most farmers continue to depend on rainfall to water their crops.
Oil production and refining are major industries in Syria. Wastes generated during the refining process have polluted the Euphrates, Orontes, and Barrada river basins. Raw sewage flowing from urban centers is also degrading Syria’s supply of fresh water.
Syria has ratified international agreements to protect biodiversity, endangered species, wetlands, and the ozone layer. The country has also signed treaties that limit marine pollution and hazardous waste.
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