Tuesday, 25 September

Head of Dsegh Forest Enterprise: 'Illegal logging can't be ruled out'

An interview with Dsegh Forest Enterprise Director Vahe Karyan.

Today, I was told that you and your staff rarely show up for work at the Enterprise offices. What’s your response?

In fact, we provide a report of our activities every month to the HayAntar SNOC. Today was just that day. Our Chief Forestry Warden and the accountant have gone to Yerevan, That’s why our offices were closed.

What about you and the others? Isn’t there anyone else working at the Dsegh Forest Enterprise?

It makes no sense for me to be sitting behind a desk at the office all day. I’m at the office only when needed. I live in Vanadzor. They can telephone me on matters that need my attention. What’s so wrong with that? The regions under our watch are huge. I spend most of my time in the field and not in the office. We have three wardens and 14 forestry rangers on staff. I have my deputy. These aren’t office positions, per say. We are tasked with monitoring around 12,000 hectares of forested land. We do the best we can given our resources, but we can’t rule out illegal tree felling.

What was the extent of such illegal logging that you discovered this year?

I don’t remember the numbers but I can tell you the exact figures tomorrow.

Residents of the Modkor villages say that if the present rate of illegal logging continues, there won’t be any forest left in the area.

No… who told you that? In reality, our annual plan involves the sanitary cutting of 3,000 cubic meters. It’s not an insignificant amount. At first glance, it would seem that illegal logging is taking place, but it’s all included in the forestry plan. We still have 10% to go to meet this year’s sanitary cut plan.

Mr. Karyan, how would you explain the fact that whenever we want to see the financial documents when timber is being transported out of the forest, thos edrivers never seem to have such papers?

Who, for example?

I am speaking in general terms. But, as an example, we recently saw a huge pile of timber next to the home of Marts Village Mayor Robert Galstyan.

I do not know why they failed to show you any documentation. But the mayor’s son is on record as removing wood from our facility.

At what price do you sell one cubic meter of wood?

Our price is 7,200 AMD. It’s the cost of one cubic meter of that tree over there, plus the cost of transportation. A buyer can then resell the wood. Nothing in the law prohibits it.

So, the son of the Marts Mayor can purchase timber from you at 7,200 AMD and then turn around and resell it?


What’s your reaction to press reports about illegal cuttings? Are there cases when you have to agree that such things happen?

Of course they happen. We can’t rule such things out all together.

Is it possible that your forestry wardens are engaged in the timber trade without your knowledge?

That’s why I’m saying that we are constantly in the field. But, I again say that such things can’t be ruled out. Individuals and business can buy timber from us, but only from the 3,000 cubic meters that we legally cut down every year.

The Dsegh Forest Enterprise, a branch of “Hayantar” SNCO is located in Armenia’s Lori Province. It covers 13,790 ha, of which 12,128 is forested. The enterprise consists of 4 forest districts with 14 sub-districts. The Enterprise engages in forest fund protection, defense, reproduction, logging and forestry.

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