Forest Remnants

Much of the Near and Middle East has been deforested over the last ten millennia. However a few remote isolated remnants have survived and these serve as a reference for interpreting palaeobotancal evidence from pollen cores (obtained from lake beds), and from charcoal (obtained from archaeological sites).

Here are some examples of forest remnants. For the locations of the photos see photo location map





This is a deciduous oak (Quercus brantii) in an isolated stand near the village of Akkuyu, 18 kms north of the Syrian border. This region is largely deforested but several archaeological sites have produced large quantities of oak charcoal indicating that oak forests were far more widespread in the Bronze Age and Neolithic periods than they are today.

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This stand of deciduous oak is not far from the town of Birecik in south-east Turkey

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The Jebel Abdoul Aziz in north-east Syria has a remnant of a forest/steppe association with a species of wild pistachio (Pistacia atlantica) and a species of wild almond (Amygdalus orientalis). These are the nearest living examples to Neolithic sites along the Euphrates some 160 kms to the west where fruits and charcoal of these species were common.

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 A species of wild almond from the Jebel Abdoul Aziz in north-east Syria

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The Jebel Mkheibra north of Palmyra in central Syria now almost totally deforested; only a few isolated trees (Pistacia atlantica) remain.

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 An example of severe over-grazing and desertification in central Syria.


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The flanks of the Euphrates over looking Jerf el Ahmar in northern Syria

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