Juniper, or as local Iranians call it Ores, is a rare, coniferous and long-life tree which can live for up to 2,000 years. The ever-green tree grows up in mountainous areas with a height of over 2,500 metres above the sea level.

Juniper is a strong tree resilient against high or low temperatures in the summer or winter. The roots of the tree penetrate into the heart of the hard stones to reach water. That’s why it is called by local Iranians “Ores”, meaning water finder.

The feature has made the tree much stronger and resilient. In the past, the tree, given its robust body, was used in making bridges and roads and construction of village houses and nomadic tents.

Relentless cutting down of the tree by locals to procure fuel or accomplish their construction projects have destroyed many Ores forests.

To stop the deteriorating situation, the Iranian government passed a law in 1992 and banned cutting down of the tree. The tree mainly grows in northern and eastern to western Iran along the southern hillsides of Alborz Mountain as well as in the northwestern to southern Iran along the hillsides of Alborz and Zagros mountains.

One of the main places in which the tree is grown up is a 112,714-metre protected area in Khorasan Razaiv province in northeastern Iran named “Ores Sistan”.

What follows are ISNA’s photos of the protected area located on the hills of Hezar-Masjed Mountains:

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