AEF: What Happens with Shikahogh Reserve and Artshakh Forest Frontier

AEF: What Happens with Shikahogh Reserve and Artshakh Forest Frontier

Armenian Environmental Front (AEF) Civic Initiative

'ArmInfo' website has been beating an alarm signal on the felling of valuable Caucasian oak trees in Shikahogh reserve still since August 2016.

On 20 May 2017 a committee composed of different stakeholders arrived at the area, which turned out to be located at the borderline of Shikahogh state reserve and the Republic of Artsakh. We took samples from the felled down oak tree stubs and the coordinates of ground roads opened with caterpillar machinery and timber spread in different places.

When comparing the coordinates, we and the employees of 'Zangezour Biospheric Complex' SNCO got convinced that these works have been carried out in the administrative area of the Republic of Armenia, while the eastern borderline of 'Shikahogh' Reserve overlaps with the previous state border of Armenia and Azerbaijan, which means these trees have been felled down in the area of the reserve. Nevertheless, the representatives of Artsakh Republic think in any case, these oak trees are located in Kovsakan forestry enterprise area of Qashatagh branch of 'ArtsakhForest' SNCO and were felled down legally in 2016-2016.

It's obvious that there is a need for more detailed and wide-scale examination, as these tree fellings can also include other areas of Shikahogh reserve as well. There are persistent rumours among the locals that these oak trees were felled down as construction wood, particularly to prepare brandy barrels and it's supported by certain officials. It's noteworthy that the price of one such barrel in the international market makes up around 1200 Euros. Taking into consideration the aforementioned facts, we are proposing RA Nature Protection Ministry to implement the following measures:
1. To specify the administrative belonging of the coordinated submitted by the committee as soon as possible,
2. To examine and present the public the results of spring and fall examinations in Shikahogh reserve area in 2015-2017.

15:20 May 24, 2017

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