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Illegal logging taken place at the areas of “Zangezur” Biosphere Complex and Kapan Forestry is on the focus of Kapan community and international organizations
On October 8, a public discussion was held in Kapan Aarhus Center under the theme “Illegal logging at the areas of Zangezur” Biosphere Complex and “ArmForest” SNCO. The center’s coordinator presented damages caused to the southern forests of Armenia, more than 150 photographs, which showed the illegal deforestation committed with the connivance of “Zangezur” Biosphere Complex SNCO.
Mr. Vladik Martirosyan, chairman of “KHUSTUP” Environmental NGO, who for many years has worked as chief engineer and director of Kapan forestry, has personally taken photos of logging at the reserve area.

He explained those present how is granted the order of logging in the forest areas, how are indicated, stamped and numbered the trees to be cut. But there were no such stamped trees at the mentioned logging area.

Sharply criticizing the leadership of “Zangezur Biosphere Complex” SNCO the letter marked that Karen Kirakosyan, the current director has dismissed the former long-time workers, and received as a head and coordinator of Forest and Wildlife Conservation Department someone from Yerevan, who did not pay attention to the reactions of older workers, which resulted deforestation and poaching in the last three months.

Mr. Karen Manvelyan, director of “Wildlife Conservation” World Fund Armenia clarified that deforestation is strictly prohibited at the specially protected national areas. Because the regime of “Arevik” National Park is not confirmed yet, so deforestation taken place there was deemed to be illegal logging, regardless of the circumstances. He mentioned that since 2003 have been carried out state reserve capacity building programs. Workers were given uniforms, 5 cars.

Today there is no any car at Shikahogh section of the Biosphere Complex for taking foresters into the forest, if there are no foresters in the forests what control can be expected? If the maintenance is in that condition, then giving clarification to donors becomes a problem in terms of efficiency of such investments. As for the locations of these photos, then Mr. Manvelyan said that on the next day he would map the forest logging via GPS.

The Aarhus Centre coordinator suggested creating a working group with the participation of NGO representatives and journalists, in order to participate in the field works with Karen Manvelyan, which kindly agreed by Mr. Manvelyan.

The senior Forestry Officer of Kapan Forest mentioned that have been revealed 141 illegally cut trees and 11 tree branches, the cases are at the law enforcement agencies, a criminal case was commenced, the investigation is still under way.

The discussion was also attended by the representatives from the Caucasus Nature Fund (CNF), HBKP Foundation, Syunik PIU of the OSCE, employees of “Zangezur” Biosphere Complex, and head of environmental department of Syunik regional administration, Director of Kapan Forestry and the senior forester, NGO and media representatives.

The participants expressed deep disappointment in regard to the new leadership of the Biosphere Reserve since under the reign of the former head no case has been registered.

It was decided to reach out to relevant authorities to punish the culprits of these illegalities, enclosing the protocols and photographs drawn up after the public discussion and observations with the help of journalists.

Ashot Avagyan
Coordinator of Kapan Aarhus Center
Tell: (+374) 93 79 59 21
E-mail: info_kapan@aarhus.am , kapan.aarhus@mail.ru
Editor: Mary Chakryan
Translated by Anush Beybutyan