Martun Matevosyan, director of the HayAntar (Armenian Forest) SNCO of Armenia’s Ministry of Agriculture, told reporters today that of the 68 case files regarding illegal felling of 420 trees compiled in the first half of 2016, 21 have been sent to the police and 47 to the ministry of nature protection for follow-up.
When Hetq asked how many of the cases have resulted in criminal charges, Matevosyan said that 21 have led to charges but couldn’t say what their current status was.
Matevosyan said that the biggest challenge his organization faces is the illegal use of the forest.
Matevosyan confessed that HayAntar wasn’t furnished with the necessary resources and equipment to manage the forests of Armenia and to cut down on the illegal use of forest reserves.
In 2004, 32,766 trees were illegally felled in Armenia. The number bottomed out in 2013 at 928. 2014 and 2015 has seen the number slowly increase.
Matevosyan told reporters that the government has come up with a proposal whereby residents of communities bordering HayAntar lands would be provided firewood at accessible prices.
The only time they would be permitted to access the forest and chop wood for home use would be when Hay Antar couldn’t provide them what they needed from its stocks.