YEREVAN—Yerevan’s Historic Tufenkian Hotel hosted the official launch of My Forest Armenia today. Deputy Minister of the Environment, Vardan Melikyan, a supporter of the nonprofit organization, addressed attendees during the launch event.
Faced with the imminent threat of climate change, individuals must act quickly to mitigate global warming and reduce CO2 emissions. If the goal is to arrive at 0 emissions by 2050, we have to start acting now. My Forest Armenia was created with the aim of planting trees to capture carbon, because certain CO2 emissions, such as from air travel, have no clean alternative yet.
My Forest Armenia offers an opportunity to all – from individuals to companies, and to institutions and associations – to offset their carbon footprint by planting trees in Armenia. The organization will focus solely on increasing forest coverage. Indeed, aside from capturing carbon, the role of forests are hugely important for any country, forests produce oxygen, lower temperatures, increase humidity, prevent soil erosion, stop desertification, preserve biodiversity, increase fauna and flora, help rural communities, and much more.
My Forest Armenia will grow its seedlings in its own nurseries in Tavoush and Lori. Particular attention will be given to ensure that young saplings are properly watered and maintained in the crucial six years after planting, ensuring a high survival rate.
The medium term objective is to plant 400,000 trees per year. This represents an area of 200 hectares of reforestation every year. Although it is an ambitious number, it should be put in perspective. Armenia’s forest coverage is only 11.2 percent. At almost 19,000 miles, 1 percent represents about 187 miles or 48,000 hectares. At 200 hectare per year, it would still take 150 years for Armenia’s tree coverage to increase by 1 percent.
On its website, aside from explanations about nurseries and future reforestation projects, there is a carbon calculator to help calculate one’s carbon emissions, which individuals may offset by making a corresponding payment to plant trees.
My Forest Armenia is partnering with the Agrarian University of Armenia for science and research. Furthermore, students will participate in different projects in the fields and forests. The Ministry of the Environment and its subsidiaries, Hay Antar and Dilijan National Park are partners as well. The organization is also partnering with Children of Armenia Fund in Debet for one of its nurseries.