ArmInfo. The State Committee of Forestry of Armenia under the Ministry of Nature Protection presented the program of forestry development for 2018-2022 on March 21. under the slogan "Let's save our forests and give them to future generations". Artsvik Minasyan, Minister of Nature Protection, responded to the question of ArmInfo, in addition to budgetary financing for forest conservation programs and grant programs, more than 1 billion drams will be financed by the "ArmForest" SNCO within the framework of the program.
According to Minasyan, following the results of the three-year program, although the Ministry expects an insignificant increase in the country's forest lands, at the same time, the main emphasis is on preserving the existing territories in more than 330 thousand hectares. (or about 11% of the territory of Armenia). In this context, the program plans to substantially reduce the exploitation of forests. "In other words, the use of the benefits and benefits of the forest will be based solely on the principle of forest preservation," he explained. In particular, according to the document, during 2018-2020 it is planned to introduce a system of stable management of forest lands by creating more effective control mechanisms. The works will be implemented within the framework of the program in three main directions: establishment of timber processing enterprises, establishment of mini-hotels in the forest zone and also in the territory of forestry enterprises in the 5 border communities of Armenia, the establishment of enterprises for the reception and processing of forest fruits and berries. In addition, the organization of beekeeping farms in the forest areas of Syunik, Vayotsodzor, Tavush and Lori regions is expected.
Today, according to those responsible for the sphere, the annual volume of illegal felling of trees reaches 600 thousand cubic meters, and this is an unacceptable luxury for Armenia. "The scale of illegal tree cutting has reached enormous proportions and led to shadow activities in the sphere, in other words, the forests of Armenia are exploited above the norm." Our goal is to cut trees within the limits permitted by law and sanitary cutting, only by the relevant specialists. " This year, the permissible threshold, according to preliminary estimates, is set at around 90,000 cubic meters, of which, for the time being, the professional commission approved a threshold in the area of 8,000 cubic meters.
At the same time, the Ministry is working to ensure that deforestation is deprived of commercial motivation. To do this, the department is thinking how to reduce the need for using wood as fuel by expanding the use of alternative energy, introducing energy-saving technologies in the communities close to the forest. At the same time, according to Minasyan, residents of neighboring communities have always been provided with cripple and will not experience problems with heating homes.
As for the structural and functional changes following the creation of the State Forestry Committee, the Minister stated that for today the Committee's staff member has been granted broader powers in fulfilling his functional responsibilities. That is, previously, the "ArmForest" SNCO was assigned the function of monitoring and securing forests, however, the agency employee did not have the authority to suppress offenses, being also deprived of the right to apply penalties against the offender. The employee of "Armles" monitored the legal regime for the use and protection of forests from 09.00 am to 6.00 pm. Henceforth, the service will switch to a round-the-clock mode of operation, and the employee is supposed to be given powers to stop the offense, temporarily restricting his freedom with confiscation of tools, as well as the right not only to bear, but also to use weapons.
As Artsvik Minasyan assured, serious reforms are expected in the future. At least there will be no problems with their financing. In fact, the minister said, Armenia has great opportunities to receive grant funds from international structures. First, in the framework of global climate change, serious opportunities have been created not only to ensure the safety of green areas, but also to expand them. In addition, due to the accumulation of domestic resources, the Armenian government intends to take serious steps in this direction.
On February 22, the Armenian government approved the project of the creation of the Forest State Committee under the Ministry of Ecology of the Republic. "The authority of the former state non-profit organization" ArmForest "under the Ministry of Agriculture of Armenia will be transferred to the committee," Armenian Minister of the Environment Artsvik Minasyan said. He noted that the Committee's functions will include, inter alia, ensuring protection and effective control over the use of forests.