Armenia Tree Projec’s Green Dream Coming True

ATPs Rural and Mountainous Development Program planted 402,720 tree seedlings at new forest sites in Gegharkunik and Lori in 2008; the program creates employment for hundreds of workers every year.

Nearly 2,500,000 Trees Planted and Restored Since 1994

YEREVAN–Armenia Tree Project (ATP) has just completed the planting of 460,070 trees in 2008, bringing the total number of trees planted and restored close to 2,500,000 since the organization was founded in 1994.

This fall, ATP’s Rural and Mountainous Development (RMD) Program planted 402,720 tree seedlings at new forest sites in the Gegharkunik and Lori regions, while the Community Tree Planting (CTP) Program planted 57,350 trees at 188 sites in 10 regions of Armenia.

CTP Program Works in Urban and Rural Communities

“The number of trees planted by the CTP program exceeded our annual objectives. All of these high-quality indigenous tree seedlings were planted at sites chosen to maximize the survival rate due to the availability of irrigation water, fencing and monitoring, soil quality, as well as the inspiration and willingness of the local population to care for the trees,” stated program manager Anahit Gharibyan.
Forest Planters in Jrashen

The CTP program planted 22,085 trees and shrubs from ATP’s Karin and Khachpar nurseries in the spring, along with 1,300 pine seedlings from the Mirak Family Reforestation Nursery which were planted in collaboration with the Nor Nork Greenery Department.

In the fall, the CTP program planted 33,965 trees and shrubs at 97 sites in Yerevan and nine regions of Armenia. In addition, ATP’s apricot, wild apple, peach, and pear trees at 115 sites provided a harvest of 227,439 kg (507,317 lbs) of fresh fruit which benefited the local communities and institutions.

Throughout the year, ATP’s CTP program participated in events and environmental campaigns launched at Tsitsernakaberd, Kashatagh, Nubarashen, Noravank, Khor Virap, and elsewhere. ATP supported these initiatives by providing healthy seedlings along with special training on planting techniques and tree care.

For example, ATP worked with organizations and students to plant trees at the Nubarashen Boarding School, and worked with HSBC Bank, Synopsys CJSC, American University of Armenia, Armenian Monumen’s Awareness Project, and a number of other institutions operating in Armenia.

The CTP program also increased the number of beneficiaries of its planting project in 15 villages where 5,572 families have benefited from the fruit trees planted by ATP since 2004. The village planting project was initiated to improve the quality of rural backyard gardens in order to present them to ATP donors for sponsorship.

RMD Program Plants Over 400,000 Trees

ATP began a completely new reforestation program on a 40 hectare (100 acre) plot of community owned land in Jrashen, near ATP’s Mirak Family Nursery and the newly planned Michael and Virginia Ohanian Environmental Center in Margahovit. “It was noteworthy that ATP established a new forest and obtained the land in Jrashen as a result of collaboration with Armenia’s Hayantar State Forestry Service,” noted RMD program manager Vadim Uzunyan. This fall, ATP began by planting the first 7,000 oak seedlings at the site in cooperation with Hayantar.

“ATP had the full support of the community and 25 trained tree-planters hired from the Lori region welcomed the opportunity to work as part of the ATP initiative. This program has allowed families to improve their socio-economic situation, while at the same time improving the local environment and natural resource base,” stated Uzunyan.

This year a total of 399 rural families from the Gegharkunik and Tavush regions grew 309,720 seedlings in their backyards, which were purchased by ATP for reforestation purposes. The program received the prestigious Energy Globe Award for Sustainability at the European Parliament in May. The other 86,000 reforestation seedlings were planted this fall from ATP’s Mirak Family Nursery.

ATP hired 100 local residents to plant new seedlings on 100 hectares (250 acres) of land belonging to the communities of Aygut and Dprabak. “The local residents were inspired and enthusiastic about the reforestation initiated by ATP to combat the interrelated problems of deforestation and massive landslides that threaten the villages of the Getik River Valley,” noted Uzunyan. “Landslides became more frequent and destroyed the homes of a number of families this year. These families understand that well-established and maintained forests have the potential to provide economic, social, and environmental benefits.”

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