About 7.3 million hectares (18 million acres) were covered by forest in 2000. An estimated 1.1 million cu m (39 million cu ft) of roundwood were produced in 2000; about 5% was used for fuel. Along the northern slopes of the Elburz Mountains from near sea level to an altitude of about 2,100 m (7,000 ft) are dense stands of oak, ash, elm, beech, ironwood, cypress, walnut, and a number of other varieties. The high plateau forests of Fars, Kurdistan, Luristan, and Khorasan comprise sparse stands of scrub oak, ash, maple, cedar, wild almond, and pistachio. Date palms, acacias, and tamarisks grow in the Persian Gulf area. The deciduous forests on the Caspian littoral are among the best in the world. The timber industry is controlled by the government; its potential annual capacity is 3 million cu m (106 million cu ft). In 2000, forest plantations covered 2,284,000 ha (5,643,000 acres). Imports of forest products totaled $479.6 million in 2000.
A forest ranger school was started in 1957 as an extension of the government's forest service. In 1963, a forestry college was established at Karaj, west of Tehran, to train forestry engineers.