I was walking down Vasken Sargsyan Street away from Republic Square last night and turned right on Khorenatsi to discover that the trees along the sidewalk near the park there and those along both sides of the road on the stretch between Zakyan and Mashdots Streets all had their limbs cut down to the upper trunk. These trees were healthy, high, and green through the end of last year, as I often walked down the street when heading towards Mashdots simply because it was a beautiful area. Now the trees have been desecrated through a process known as pollarding, a feeble attempt to protect the trees from disease or decay
, yet another example of Armenian logic but an excellent excuse to sell wood by Yerevan authorities looking to make money through any possible means.
I am appalled to see the continuation of pollarding in Yerevan or in any other town or city for that matter, such as Vanadzor. It does nothing to protect the oak, maple, and other indigenous trees lining some of Yerevan’s streets. Some trees simply die from pollarding—those that have had their limbs cut multiple times or for the first. I am convinced that there is no other excuse to pollard trees other than for officials to earn extra cash for their pockets, especially during the winter when nearly all pollarding takes place.
Reforesting Armenia is a huge priority. The majority of people who are forced to cut down trees for fuel in remote areas do not plant new trees in their place—this is a fact. I have seen areas completely decimated of trees, with even the roots removed. Something is being done about this problem through the efforts of two organizations in particular—the Armenian Forests NGO, which is based in Armenia and is making huge strides, and the Armenia Tree Project, a diasporan organization still obsessed with planting decorative trees in Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial park but is making steps, albeit small ones, towards reforestation.
However, I could not find any information from these two organizations or any others regarding how they are implementing ways to persuade Yerevan authorities from ceasing pollarding and use alternative, modern ways to protect trees from disease. The Ministry of Agriculture, which presides over the “Hayandar” agency responsible for forest protection and is headed by ARF member Davit Lokian, is doing nothing about this problem—as far as I have been previously informed it is not doing a lot about forest protection either.
So what can we do to prevent further tree pollarding/cutting in Yerevan and keep the city looking beautiful? If someone has any ideas (or wants to make excuses as to why it should continue), please leave a comment.
Labels: Social and Cultural