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The steps undertaken by WWF Armenia toward forest conservation

© WWF Armenia

It is hardly possible to imagine a nature conservation project that has not any afforestation or forest rehabilitation component. WWF Armenia has implemented several large-scale actions to this end.

Considering the social, economic and nature conservation importance of forest area rehabilitation, WWF Armenia realized the Project on "Mitigation of Climate Change Impact by Rehabilitation of Forest Landscapes in the Southern Caucasus" in 2008-2011. The main goal of the Project was to restore forest eco-systems in selected pilot areas aimed to increase carbon storage and to mitigate climate changes. The Project was implemented jointly with HayAntar SNCO and Armenia Tree Project (ATP) Charitable Foundation and resulted n the forestation of an area of about 630 hectares in the Lori region.
 
The Regional Project on “Increased Resilience of Forest Ecosystems against Climate Change in the Southern Caucasus through Forest Transformation” implemented by WWF Armenia in 2011-2015 was also aimed at mitigating adverse impacts caused by climate changes. Main project goals included improved resilience of forest ecosystems in Armenia with respect to climate change impacts, improved biodiversity and living standards of local population, and assistance rendered to the forest administration body in the transformation of uniform forest stands.

As a result of project implementation, uniform forest stands with an area of about 150 ha under the Gougark and Noyemberyan forestries of HayAntar SNCO were transformed into more sustainable mixed stands, the "Forest Transformation Guide" and the training manual on "Climate Change and Forest Transformation in the Southern Caucasus" were published.

We attach importance to capacity-building at the level of forest management agency. In this context, a study trip was organized for the staff of HayAntar SNCO to the Hessen Federal State of Germany with the purpose of acquainting with forest transformation experience. In the same time, WWF Armenia donated to HayAntar SNCO a set of forestry equipment and instruments that had been used for realization of forest transformation actions under the regional project on “Increased Resilience of Forest Ecosystems against Climate Change in the Southern Caucasus through Forest Transformation” funded by the European Union.

Continuous attention of WWF Armenia is focused at cooperation with the communities that are located adjacent to forested areas, and improvement of their social-economic situation.  With this purpose, we had been using the toolkit of stakeholder engagement planning extensively in all forest-related projects that we implemented. These measures included creation of hundreds of temporary work-places, and choosing fruit tree species for afforestation activities so that they could become a source of additional income for population of the adjacent communities both in the medium-term and long-term prospects. 

© WWF Armenia

WWF Armenia attaches high importance to application of advanced technologies. We implemented part of the mapping and monitoring works under forest-related projects using unmanned flying devices (drones).

The trees that were provided by the ATP Charitable Foundation and planted in 2017 at the Areni community of Vanadzor, jointly with local schoolchilden and staff of the Arpa Protected Landscape, are irrigated by means of drip system providing for more stable tree growth and saving of water resources.

Assistance to the establishment of the Ijevan State Sanctuary

In Armenia, the ENPI FLEG II project was launched in 2013 with the funding of the European Union, and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) provided supplementary funds to realize certain additional actions. A set of measures implemented under that Project were aimed at establishment of the optimized Ijevan State Sanctuary on the basis of three forest sanctuaries in the Tavush region of the RA and at provision of conditions required for its operation.

The RA Government included establishment of the Ijevan sanctuary in the document on The “National Program on the Strategy, Conservation and Use of Special Nature Protection Areas of the RA” that was approved of in September 2014.   

The borders of the optimized sanctuary were mapped and determined more precisely.  As a result of other planned activities, draft management plan as well as draft version of legal documentation required for the establishment of the sanctuary and approval of its borders, charter and management plan were developed.   

It must be mentioned also that the sanctuary borders the Dilijan National Park, which provides for conservation of areas representing extension of similar forest ecosystems.
 

© WWF Armenia

When implementing forest-related projects, the educational factor and increased knowledge of local population are strongly emphasized.

In this regard, any forest project we realized included training visits organized for students of higher education institutes, public lessons taught in forested areas, and creative contests and workshops held at the schools of adjacent communities.

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