Endangered Eco System: Environmentalist warns against failure to curb illegal tree cutting

The number of illegally cut trees is growing, while state authorities continue to turn a blind eye to that fact, Levon Galstyan, a member of the coordinator group of the Armenian Environmental Front (PEF), told media Thursday.

Galstyan said that a recent visit to the Lori province confirmed that Armenia’s forests are in a poor state.

“As result of monitoring carried out in Dsegh and Yeghegnut forests it turned out that more than 600 varieties of trees were cut down in Dsegh, of which 350 were fresh, that is 1-2 years old, and 500 trees were cut in Yeghegnut, of which 200 were again 1-2 years old,” he said.

Galstyan said that his group understands that trees are cut by residents facing difficult social situations, but the real problem is much deeper.

“We have seen trees uprooted by particular machinery. They will say that those trees had been blown down by wind, and later will use them,” he said.

He said that ordinary farmers cannot bring such equipment. Trees are cut down, not for fuel, but for construction materials.

Galstyan points out that Armenia has only about eight percent forested area and that continued illegal cutting “20-30 years later will lead to irreparable consequences. We forget that the forest is not just a source of fuel, but the vast ecosystem that is involved in various natural processes.”

Referring to the police chief Vladimir Gasparyan’s ordering traffic police officers to keep a watchful eye on trucks loaded with wood, he said, “A few years ago, about 160 cars were stopped and fined, but nothing has changed. We are not interested in what they will do after cutting trees, but how to prevent that phenomenon.”