Every resident of Armenia gets 291 times less oxygen than the residents of CIS region. If in the other countries of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) there is 29.1 hectare of green mass per resident, in Armenia the number is 0,1. That was announced by the director of “The Armenian forests” NGO Nazeli Vardanyan today.
“That is the main reason of the increased rate of respiratory tract, cardiovascular and cancerous diseases”, reports Vardanyan.
Ruben Petrosyan, Deputy Head of “Hayantar” SNCO adjacent to the Ministry of Agriculture, agrees with the published data and mentions that there are objective reasons for that.
Generally, being 20-30 percent covered in forests is considered to be optimal and in case of mountainous countries the number reaches 30-50 percent. Even 20 percent of the territory of Armenia is not forested.
“We have to double the number of forested lands in order to have 20 percent of forested area in 50-60 years. That is a matter of huge investments as we have to afforest 5000 hectare of land per year. Whereas we afforest only hundred hectares now”, says Petrosyan.
The other problem is the illegal deforestation. According to the data of the Center of State Forest Monitoring 3216 trees were illegally cut in 2011. Nazeli Vardanyan is sure that the real number is much higher because every family uses 12-15 hectares of timber every year.
“Also there are no restrictions for generals so they obtain special documents and they more than once carry out felling that exceeds the allowed number”. If the State permits to cut down 30-40 thousand cubic meters that number reaches to 300-400 thousand cubic meters”, says Vardanyan.
She thinks that one of the reasons is that the foresters have no authority to draw up a report and confiscate the lumbered trees. The foresters are provided with car and weapons that they need in order to guard the vast areas of land. According to N. Vardanyan every second forester has a conviction with regard to the forest cases and many people do not want to become foresters for that reason.
Vardanyan thinks that the next issue connected with the forests is that the RA Government being guided by the wrong maps changes the category of forests covered and reserve lands to build various resorts.
Deputy Head of “Hayantar” SNCO, Ruben Petrosyan raised another threatening issue that the newly-planted trees change the assortment of trees and the beech trees are replaced by trees of lower quality, because it is impossible to plant forest trees in these newly chosen areas.