With 93% gas supply in the republic, people are returning to firewood because of the high gas prices. "A recent survey in the villages showed that we have not only 72% fuel use as primary fuel, but up to 25-28% in urban areas use fuel as either primary or secondary fuel," said the Foundation to Save Energy (ESF) director Astghine Pasoyan at “Forest Summit: Global Action and Armenia” event held at AUA on October 22.
Astghine Pasoyan noted that firewood is inefficiently used as fuel. “We have a problem not only WITH cutting down forests, but also wasting them in vain, because energy efficiency in rural homes has the potential to significantly reduce the demand for fuel,” Astghine Pasoyan said.
Advisor to RA Prime Minister Robert Ghukasyan mentioned that the person who cuts down the forest for years, who makes his or her living by cutting wood and also heats the house by that wood, now does not know what to do. "I think that the fastest effect we can have on reducing the population's dependence on the forest is solar energy," Robert Ghukasyan said. He suggested involving large-scale afforestation for residents of near-forest communities. "This is important from a psychological point of view, as they have felled down over the years, now they are planting, and naturally, they will keep it," Robert Ghukasyan said.
“First of all, we must clearly state that the forest cannot solve the problem of heating because that resource is insufficient to solve the problem of heating. Secondly, he does not even solve the problem of heating because in our country this problem is much more social than economic. And the main families that use wood as a heating are those families whose family income is not enough to solve their problems in a more civilized way. And there are many forms and the most recent is natural gas, not the first,” Tavush Governor Hayk Chobanyan said in his speech.
“First, we need to solve our social problem. We have to solve our economic problems, people have to earn money, human work has to be effective,” Hayk Chobanyan said.
Lusine Avetisyan, Head of Environmental Strategic Plans and Monitoring Department of the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Armenia, said that within the framework of the KfW Bank's Support to Specially Protected Areas Program, 70 tonnes of briquette was provided to 63 households in two communities in Syunik Region within the frames of a pilot project.
Associate Professor of Department of Forestry and Agroecology of the National Agrarian University of Armenia Samvel Tamoyan attached importance to the creation of community forests that will alleviate the pressure on natural forests.
WWF-Armenia Forestry Expert Artur Alaverdyan noted, “In addition to legislative emphasis, we also had to create a mechanism in place for these years so that the community or private individuals and organizations would like to have a forest, be economically interested in having, maintaining and preserving a forest.”
Summing up all the speakers' speeches, Astghine Pasoyan said: “I call for grant support even for pilot projects exclusively for extremely needy families.”
… Solar energy is not a heating tool in Armenia. Solar systems today occupy 100 hectares of agricultural land. The state still has no position on how to protect it, because the time will come when the solar systems will eat our bread, wheat will grow in these fields.
… Constantly quoting the international experience of using forests as a business model has a great danger. Let's not forget that today the interest rates for business investments in Armenia range from 12% to 18%, up to 24%. We will face the time when our economy will come to 2% interest rate that is in France today, there will be forests planted."
14:59 October 31, 2019