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The Problem Facing Armenia
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The Problem

The Current Situation
Armenia is facing a future of desertification, whereby water resources will be severely depleted, and the country will be unable to support its populace through agricultural means. If the current trend of deforestation continues at the current rate, and the significant planting of tree saplings is not performed regularly, Armenia will have virtually no forests left by 2020.

Since the turn of the 19th century, Armenia has witnessed a dramatic plunge in forest cover from 25% of its territory, to the current low, estimated at 8-9%¹. Although comprehensive data on Armenia’s forests has not been gathered in recent years, according to the last registration of the forests in 1993, the forest cover constituted 334,100 hectares or 11.2% of Armenia’s territory.²

An estimated 500,000 cubic meters of wood are burned in Armenia every year for fuel. This means over 4,000 hectares of forests are cut for fuel as well as other purposes.³ The average forest area per Armenian inhabitant is only 0.1 hectare, while for the Commonwealth of Independent States the average is 27 times higher (2.7 hectares per inhabitant). Furthermore, in 1993, the volume of forests was 125 cubic meters per hectare—only half of what would be considered ecologically sound. Presently, the mean density of Armenia’s forests is below the point at which they have the ability to regenerate.

Pressures on the Forests

  • The best trees are cut illegally for commercial purposes, such as construction, furniture making, and export
  • Grazing of livestock in forest areas prevents regeneration
  • Lack of education and awareness of the forest’s value
  • Lack of community ownership and responsibility for forests
  • Lack of sustainable forest management practices

 

1 Report on Millennium Development Goals, Armenia 2002
2 Environmental Performance Reviews, Armenia, United Nations, 2000; Forests and Their Significance for Mountains Armenia, 2001
3 RIO+10 national Assessment Report, Republic of Armenia, 2002, page 42

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