Wednesday, April 10 2019 09:34

Organization: During the period from 2014 to 2016, in Armenia has  been illegally felling 3000 trees

Organization: During the period from 2014 to 2016, in Armenia has  been illegally felling 3000 trees

ArmInfo.During the period from 2014 to 2016, in Armenia has been felling 3000 trees. Anna Khachatryan, a member of the Armenian Environmental Front, announced this during a press conference, presenting monitoring data on the identified  violations of the forest ecosystem of Armenia during the period  2014-2016. At the same time, she stressed that the leadership of  Hayantar SNCO initially refuted the signals regarding the illegal  deforestations of trees identified during the indicated period.

"After we provided them with irrefutable facts in the form of terrain  coordinates, photographs and video materials, they were forced to  recognize this reality," Khachatryan said, noting that law  enforcement agencies, however, did not reveal the actual customers  and those responsible for deforestation, but <Hayantar>, after  reports of illegal deforestations in several floristries, have not  appointed official monitoring. According to Khachatryan, about 200  illegal felling were found in Ijevan forestry in 2014, and the trucks  that transported the felling did not have state numbers, moreover,  most of them did not have documents regarding the legality of the  goods being transported.

"During the monitoring work, they tried to" bribe "or intimidate, on  the basis of which a criminal case was opened, but the perpetrators  were not identified, the executors were punished with dismissals and  reprimands, the member of the Armenian Environmental Front explained.

According to Khachatryan, in 2015, in Kapan forestry, numerous cases  of illegal deforestations were also identified. "During the  preliminary investigation it turned out that in 2015. In the period  from mid-August to September 20,  142 trees were illegally felling in  the Chakaten community of the Kapan forestry of "Hayantar" SNCO using  chainsaw, thus causing damage to the state by 2.662.500 drams", she  said.

According to Khachatryan, 208 trees were illegaly felling on the  territory of the Shikahogh Reserve, the damage to the plant world  amounted to 5.803.750 drams. "The materials were transferred to the  regional department of the RA Police, but according to the  information we have, this case was also suspended," she noted.

According to her, volunteers found more than a thousand illegal  deforestations on the territory of several sites of the Dsegh and  Ehegnut floristries. "About 250-300 young trees were felling, and the  rest - up to 5 years ago," Khachatryan explained, stressing that no  steps had been taken on this signal from the government bodies.

According to her, in 2015, 22 trees were illegal cutting down at the  Dilijan National Park.

According to her, during the monitoring work, there were cases when a  number of unknown persons who appeared to be forestry workers blocked  the road for volunteers. Referring to the situation in Stepanavan  forestry, Khachatryan also reported that in 2015, about 1.100 trees  were felling, of which almost 900 were young. "However, in this case,  the staff of <Hayantar> tried to legitimize these," Khachatryan  explained.  According to the activist, the time has come for the  authorities to deal with these matters. She noted that after  inspections by the State Control Service of Armenia of Stepanavan  Nature Reserve, a criminal case was initiated on the fact of cutting  down 96 trees, a number of employees were dismissed, the damage  amounted to 7,077,000 drams. According to Khachatryan, in all the  cases indicated by her, state and law enforcement agencies tried to  hide the real picture and scale of crimes and irreversible  environmental consequences.

"The entire organized criminal chain of forest destruction has not  been disclosed, and its upper links have remained unpunished. The  monitoring showed that the forests of Armenia were subjected to a  real massacre, and this was done at the highest level, "Khachatryan  said, referring to the Public Environmental Court with the hope of  objectively investigating and bringing violators to justice. She also  stressed the urgent need for monitoring at the official level in all  environmental areas.

In turn, activist Aram Gabrielyan stressed that the Armenian  government is making a very optimistic forecast that by 2025 the  forests should cover 20% of the territories of the Republic of  Armenia, instead of 11%. He also recalled that at the ministerial  meeting on forest landscape restoration and the Bonn call in the  Caucasus and Central Asia in Astana, the Armenian delegation  announced an increase in forests by 2030 by 286 thousand hectares.  <These data are recorded in international documents. However, within  the framework of the adopted program on climate change issues over  the past 4 years, we have not seen any real steps by the government  in this direction, "said Gabrielyan, referring to the country's  leadership to provide clear information from 2015 to this day about  the state of forest landscapes in Armenia and the steps taken in the  framework of ongoing programs.

In addition, Gabrielyan explained that the convention on climate  change provides ample opportunities and mechanisms for solving  problems more effectively than punishment in the form of a fine. In  his opinion, using the mechanisms of the convention, Armenia could  simultaneously improve reforestation rates, while at the same time  lightening the state's external debt burden.

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