Concern for Khosrov: New fire road under the watch of environmentalists

The expansion of the road crossing through Armenia’s main nature preserve, Khosrov Forest, is intended to make the preserve more accessible. Environmentalists, however, say the road expansion damages the ecosystem.

“We believe that the enlarged road will give an opportunity for more cars to enter the forest, which is unacceptable for the preserve. The grounding of the road’s enlargement is that cases of fire are quite often there and the firebreak is needed for fire engines,” says environmentalist Karine Danielyan, head of “For Sustainable Human Development” NGO, at a press conference on Thursday.

Vorontsov Barseghyan, director of Khosrov Forest state preserve, said on Wednesday that “a fireroad is being constructed there, and not a single tree has been logged for it.”

According to Danielyan, even though the road is not asphalted, it nonetheless endangers the ecosystem of the forest.

“After a discussion we have come to a mutual agreement that a bate will be installed on the road, there will be a surveillance there to make sure that the road will serve only for positive purposes,” Danielyan says.

The Khosrov Forest state preserve of 29,196 hectares is located in Ararat province and is rich in flora and fauna, as well as has scientific, educational and historical-cultural values. There are about 1,849 species of plants, and 283 species of animals there, part of them are registered in the international Red Book of Endangered Species.

Silva Adamyan, Coordinator of the Public Ecological Alliance, stated that the Government aims to develop ecotourism in preserves. Even though the environmentalist is not against this initiative, she believes that the development of tourism endangers the preserve and its biodiversity.

“Nobody says that ecotourism should not be developed in our country. However, there is no proper management of it here which causes existence of domestic waste in preserves, plants of important significance are being trampled and damaged,” Adamyan says.

Environmentalists are also concerned about a building recently constructed in Gilan Reserve in Khosrov Forest preserve (according to their information, the building belongs to Speaker of the National Assembly Hovik Abrahamyan), because they are sure that it will become a leisure centre.

Civil activist Gevorg Safaryan stated that they “have given time to the proper bodies to pull the building down, and if they do not do it, then the environmentalists, as owners of the country, will dismantle the building themselves.”