debtEven though certain changes have been introduced in the forest management system recently, the exploitative approach of people to forests has remained almost the same.

United Nations announced 2011 as the year of forest conservation. Forest conservation year, which started on January 24, has the objective of consolidating sustainable forest management practices of people.

What are the prospectives of “Hayantar” for 2010? By saying prospective we mean both illegal logging and reforestation and forest conservation plans.

RUBEN PETROSYAN, chief forester of “Hayantar” SNCO stated that World Bank is now conducting a forestry research; “World Bank conducted its last research on the forests of Armenia in 2003”.  According to that research 1 million cubic meters of wood is used (not illegally logged) annually in Armenia, of which 100 thousand cubic meters was logged legally. We will soon have the results of the new research and will be able to make a comparison.

It is evident that trends today are conditioned by the increase of gas prices, i.e. wood consumption increases along with the increase in the price of natural gas. Of course wood is used not only due to the increase in the gas price, but also due to the low standard of living of people. A sizable group of people can’t afford paying for natural gas”.

A great number of alarms on illegal loggings were raised particularly at the end of the year. What are the official data of “Hayantar”? According to R. Petrosyan, “2310 illegally cut trees were recorded in 2010. I should state that according to the statistical data, illegal loggings have improved the situation in the forest. In 1994, during the period of energetic crisis, 454 thousand illegally logged trees were recorded in “Hayantar, 32, 7 thousand trees were recorded in 2004, whereas in 2008-2010 these numbers are in the range of 2080-2310 trees”.

As to the alarms and the media coverage, “Hayantar” officials have long been announcing that it is to their benefit. The organization is implementing a program of forest law enforcement and struggle against illegal logging within FLEG Program and with the assistance of World Bank.

R. Petrosyan presented reforestation and forest conservation projects implemented jointly with a number of international organizations; “In 2010 reforestation activities, funded by various programs, were implemented on 150 ha area in Gugark, Gyumri, Syunik and Kapan forestry branches of “Hayantar”. In the outcome of another cooperation effort (with the assistance of FAO) a modern nursery was established in Hrazdan forestry branch.

“We owe a debt to the forest; forest has saved us for 20 years, particularly the first decade, and it is our turn now. Forest needs serious investments – financial, technical, etc., and if we don’t do that, it will not save us for the second time”,- stated R.Petrosyan.

Lusine Hovhannisyan
“Hayots Ashkharh”, http://www.armtown.com/news/am/has/20110129/4032124582/
January 29, 2011

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