In recent years the fees charged for forest felling haven't been directed for forest planting, as Environmental Lawyer, Director of 'Forests of Armenia' NGO Nazeli Vardanyan said in her interview to EcoLur.
Reminder: on 8 February the Prosecutor's Office of Armenia disseminated a press release, which says continuous large-volume illegal tree felling having occurred in 8 branches of 'ArmForest' SNCOand the interrelated crimes of the officials caused damage to state in the amount of 1.5 billion AMD.
'We used to have a forest fund, where this money was transferred, but now the whole funds go to the budget, and nobody knows where it goes from there. There hasn't been any case when the sum of the fine is directed to forest planting. In recent years forests have been planted with grants, no state funding has been spent on forest planting, which means these funds are not directed to reforestation. The budget always allocates 80%, only this year a bit more has been allocated,' Nazeli Vardanyan said.
In reply to EcoLur's question to what extent the size of the fine appointed as a result of forest felling is equivalent to the damage caused to the environment, Nazeli Vardanyan said, 'In recent years the size of the fine has increased and it's rather a high price. But if to take the environmental damage into consideration, it's low, as it is not damage compensation. There is no mechanism to calculate environmental damage. If to take into consideration that the tree has a soil-protecting function, if to estimate how much oxygen it would produce and how much carbon dioxide it would absorb, how much water it would preserve...i.e. if it were ecosystem assessment, it is clear this sum is low,' Nazeli Vardanyan said.
16:13 February 09, 2018