The energy and economic crisis and drastic socio-economic conditions of the 1990s, along with the insufficient forest management and monitoring over the past 30 years have resulted in deforestation and forest degradation in the country.
According to the last forest inventory of 1993, the forestland is 459,900 ha, of which over 73 percent or 334.100 ha covered with forest. Overall, the inventory gave a forest coverage of 11.2 percent for the country. However, the inventory was done before the economic turmoil in the 1990’s and since then, there have been notable changes in the forest cover. NGO and international organizations have made more recent estimates on the forest cover in the country and they have given much lower estimates: the most recent available is from a Global Forest Watch study in 2010 in which Armenia had 202,000 ha of tree cover, or 6.8 percent land area. A FAO assessment also from 2010 estimated forest cover at 262,000 ha. These are unofficial estimates, and the Government still refers to the 1993 in official statistics and policies. The main forest species are oak, beech, hornbeam and pine.
According to the 1993 inventory, the forest’s total standing volume was about 42 million m3 with an annual average growth of 0.45 million m3. Now these indicators are less as forest cover has reduced by 20–40 percent. The volume of illegally logged wood reveals that consumption of wood in Armenia is higher than the forest growth rate leading to a gradual loss of forest stock is a result.
Forests in Armenia are under state ownership and not subject to transfer to local communities, private firms or individual citizens. In some regions, NGOs have developed forest areas on community lands, but they cannot be officially referred as “forests” according to local regulation. There are no productive forest plantations.
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This research was implemented within the CSF Armenian National Platform Secretariat support to the ANP Working Groups’ activities.