Partnership to increase forest cover in Armenia and fight against desertification

https://www.panorama.am/en/news/2022/10/28/Viva-MTS/2748836

Climate change has become a serious challenge for the world. Our country, the last in terms of percentage of forest cover in the region, is not free from it either. Only 11% forest cover is not enough to fulfill the function of “lungs” in Armenia. There is a need not only to increase the volume of oxygen, but also to prevent the danger of desertification.

The consciousness of freeing the future generation from possible problems and promoting development in various spheres of life continues to occupy an important place in the value system of Viva-MTS, the leading telecommunications operator of Armenia. For 17 years already, the company implementing projects of environmental importance in different regions of Armenia will not remain indifferent this year either. With the joint efforts of Viva-MTS and “My Forest Armenia” environmental NGO, 20,000 trees will be planted in the fall, the company said on Friday. 

The start of the new cooperation was given by a tour organized by “My Forest Armenia” organization in “Benjamin  Gumuchdjian” nursery operating in Lori Region, during which Viva-MTS General Director Armen Avetisian planted a name tree in “Guests’ Alley”. The seedlings grown in this nursery will soon find their place on the slopes of one of Lori’s afforestation areas. This fall, 20,000 trees will be planted in the 6 ha area of empty mountain, called Jarshen-2. Viva-MTS employees will also take part in the tree planting.

With the joint project, the partners will solve not only the environmental problem, but also partially the employment problem of the region’s population. This, in turn, will contribute to the improvement of social security and economic condition of the region. Almost 80% of the main employees of the environmental non-governmental organization “My forest Armenia” are residents of Lori Region. They work in two nurseries of the organization, get seedlings from the seeds of Armenian endemic trees and take care of them. Around 250 people, again from Lori region, joined the main workers during the planting and maintenance period.

“We realize that in order to have sufficient water resources in Armenia in 50 years, we must work today. If we do not act now, tomorrow will be too late. We are glad that the companies operating in Armenia also feel the importance of the problem of forest restoration and join us to carry out this work together. Viva-MTS also involves its employees as volunteers in this work, which is also very important, because people personally contribute, and they also better understanding  what a difficult and long task it is to create a forest.” said Andre Gumushjian, founder and General Director of “My Forest Armenia” environmental NGO.

15 types of trees from native forest species are grown from seeds in the nurseries of “My Forest Armenia” organization created for the purpose of reforestation in Armenia. , In particular: oak, maple, hornbeam, pine, beech, birch, wild apple, wild pear, etc. The treated seedlings are moved to the plantation after one or two years. Necessary care continues even after tree planting, for about 3 years. That period is enough to make sure that the area will become a forest after a few years.

Viva-MTS invested 12,6 million drams to plant 20,000 trees in the fall and spring of this year.

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Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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