The environmentalists state that the road constructed for "Khachaghbyur 2" SHPP facilitated illegal tree feller to easily penetrate into the valley of Paghjur River and to conduct tree felling in Ijevan reserve. Pan-Armenian Environmental Front member Levon Galstyan and environmentalist Gor Hovhannisyan stated at the press conference held at EcoLur Press Club on 18 November.
“I have known this alley since 1990, and I have walked through the whole valley. The forest there used to be so thick that a person could hardly pass through it. “During the construction of "Khachaghbyur 2" SHPP the forest was eliminated and nobody was punished for it: this road was constructed for SHPP and now the access to difficult parts of the forest became easier and facilitated the mass felling of the trees.”
On 13 November Levon Galstyan and environmentalist Gor Hovhhanisyan visited Paghjur and could see many cut down trees in the valley of Paghjur River and the cars without number plates.
…Tree felling was always common in Armenia. But if the firewood will get more and more expensive, the forests will eventually be destroyed within 15-20 years, if the felling rates continue like this…” environmentalist Gor Hovhannisya said.
“We are sure that over 90% is not legal, as we saw about 90 felled down trees in that section…The Forest Code clearly says, if the forest has protective significance and are located at slant of 30 degrees and over, the trees can’t be felled down. While the slopes we saw have a slant of 40-45 degrees, i.e. the code has clearly been violated.”
Arthur Gabrielyan, Deputy Director at “Ijevan Forestry” Branch of “ArmForest” SNCO, denied the information about 200 felled trees stated by the environmentalists. “Mr. Galstyan, you said you saw 200 felled down trees, but the ad hoc committee from “ArmForest” SNCO conducted monitoring of the spot and found only 12 felled down trees.”
The environmentalists insisted that they could show over 200 felled down trees in the given area. They also outlined they oppose not to the forestry officer, but the system.
The area we visited is Ijevan reserve, but it doesn’t matter whoever we state it at Agriculture Ministry and “ArmForest” SNCO, they don’t want to acknowledge the fact it’s a reserve area, while all sorts of felling are banned in the reserve area,” Levon Galstyan said.
Under Arthur Gabrielyan, Ijevan forestry enterprise as over 2600 ha forest under its protection, and around 2000 cum is annually allotted for felling according to forest management plan, 500 ha of which is located on the slopes.
Ijevan forestry enterprise has 28 forestry officers, who watches 1000 ha forest 8 hours a day, five days a week for 70,000 AMD.
Levon Galstyan made proposals to the competent bodies on forest preservation:
1. If to set control on the roads, nobody will dare to take trees out of forests either legally or illegally on trucks,
2. To change the attitude towards the forests,
3. To establish special areas in “ArmForest” SNCO for planting fast-growing species, which will be grown and then fallen down for firewood.
RA state budget allotted 1,026,395.8 AMD for forestry enterprises, while the bill for 2015 state budget envisages to provide 1,255,803.4 AMD.
Photos by Pan-Armenian Environmental Front
18:55 November 18, 2014