In Armenia each family uses 10-15 cubic meters of firewood in the season. There annual demand of 500-650 thousand cubic meters of firewood which isn’t possible supply by sanitary felling. Nazeli Vardanyan, president of “Forests of Armenia” NGO said about it during the round table entitled “What We Lose and Get in Forest Sector in Terms of Climate Change” taken place at EcoLur press club presenting the research results of FLEG 1 Project on forest legislation use and forest management sphere implemented in 2010.
He stated that as a result of FLEG 1 Project proposals were made to the Government aimed at the reforms in forest sphere.
“There was a proposal that the villagers of the communities near forests could somehow get wood for free. A Government resolution was made to give 8 cubic meters of residues for free to the villagers of the communities near forests. It meets their demand by half. We offered to promote alternative energy sources. It can be either solar energy, the use of manure in villages, wind power or the use of wood pellets. For example, out organization restored stumps and branches on 200 ha of land in the area of “Hayantar”. As we had to take out thin branches from the forest obtained as a result of stump and branch restoration according to fire safety rules in order to use it somehow effectively, we had prepared wood pellets and they were quite effective and it was high-calorie. Now if stump and branch restoration is planned by the project which result is a very fast forest restoration, and you see the result very quickly, we can produce wood pellets and provide to people. Besides, we offered to release from taxes for business to develop. For example, if business knows that it is a free tax zone, free from taxes, it’s clear that it will be interested to move to borderline areas. The infrastructure will develop, the villager will have money and he will not depend on forest that much. Now in some parts of frontier areas are free from taxes, though there isn’t any progress for business, but I think that it will be one day. It was offered to change norms because those who worked in forest enterprise, were paid very little and as a result of our suggestions the salaries, calculation standards were raised about twice. To reduce pressure on forest and illegal deforestation, we offered to stimulate the development of forest and nursery economies on community lands. If that it is practiced so that communities found forest and nursery economies not on lands of forest fund but on their personal lands, it will raise the interest and their participation in the sphere of forest management.
… There was an offer to make a change in the legislation and the wood import is released from taxes and customs duties, and the export is done on the contrary, because now in case of export value added tax is paid and not a customs duty, and for import in spite of the fact that there are transport and other expenses, customs duty and valu added tax are paid on the border. That is, the imported wood and building materials, which have always been imported into Armenia and will be, get a few times more expensive. If we make a few legislative changes businessmen will be interested to import and not to export. It will be quite beneficial. We offered to put an excise tax on natural wood so that consumers are interested to buy products made from artificial materials.
Nazeli Vardanyan stated that this year started FLEG 2 project. The working team of FLEG is going to visit 20 communities near forests in Tavush, Lori, Vayots Dzor, Gegharkunik and Syunik regions in order to find out the problems of those communities, to listen to new ideas targeted at the reforms of forest sphere. “We will bring together all the suggestions and will try to realize all of them through lobbing”, said Nazeli Vardanyan.
The participants of the round table were as follows: Ruben Petrosyan, Deputy Director, Chief Forester of “Hayantar” (ArmForest) SNCO at the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Armenia, Aram Gyulkhasyan, Director of “State Forest Monitoring Center” SNCO at the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Armenia, Armen Ghurshudyan, Deputy Director of “State Forest Monitoring Center” SNCO at the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Armenia, Aram Aghasyan, Head of Specially Protected Areas Department of Nature Protection Ministry of the RA, UNFCCC National Focal Point Aram Gabrielyan, Andranik Ghulijanyan - Director of “Zikatar” State Reserve, Working Group Manager of UNDP “Sustainable Land and Forest Management in Mountain Forests of Northeastern Armenia” Program, Diana Harutyunyan - UNDP Climate Change Programme Coordinator, Armen Gevorgyan - National Coordinator of Armenian Office of the Transboundary Joint Secretariat for the Southern Caucasus, Artur Alaverdyan Forest Programs Coordinator of WWF-Armenia, Nazeli Vardanyan, President of “Armenian Forests” NGO, Hovik Sayadyan, Dr. in Geographic Sciences and Professor, the working team of EcoLur.
15:27 July 28, 2015