ArmInfo. The allowable rate of sanitary deforestation in Armenia is 30 thousand cubic meters per year, but annually, on average, 800 thousand cubic meters of land are subject to illegal logging. up to 1 million cubic meters forest plantations, which is a negative fact, both in the economic and environmental sense.
head of "Forests of Armenia"Nazeli Vardanyan, said in an interview with ArmInfo correspondent. She stressed that in general, the area of illegal deforestation is growing year by year, the exception was only 2018, when the trend began to decline due to the strengthening of control measures by the state.
Referring to the latest data of international organizations, Vardanyan noted that today forest areas occupy only 6-8% of the country's territory, which indicates the presence of serious problems. "Since the last time an inventory of forest stands was carried out in 1993, according to official data, the picture is somewhat different," she said.
30% of forest plantationns in Armenia grow on the slopes of the mountains, cutting down of which entails serious negative consequences, in particular, degrades the soil, erosion begins, sources dry up, etc. Since the forest is multifunctional in nature, a number of spheres have a negative impact. In addition, according to Vardanyan, the situation is aggravated in terms of forest composition. Today, oak and hornbeam forests are being destroyed, and low-grade trees are growing instead.
In view of the current situation, the expert does not see a final solution to the problem only in tightening control and raising fines for illegal logging, since, according to her, the issue has serious social roots and requires an integrated approach. She noted that at various times the public organization she headed appealed to different governments, offering their solutions. In particular, she noted that one of the recent initiatives was the creation of the Public Environmental Court, about which <Forest of Armenia> presented their recommendations, but so far no feedback was received, except for changing the norms of the criminal and administrative codes.
In this regard, Vardanyan stressed that the government should pay special attention to the social component of the current problem, in particular, providing the population with an alternative source of income, offering long-term and interest-free green loans for installing solar panels, etc. At the same time, work on forest plantations is necessary to involve economic entities whose activities are directly related to forests.