ATP Plans To Establish New Forests In Communities Of Saratovka And S


16:08, March 20, 2012

In recognition of Armenia Tree Project’s successful record in tree
planting, environmental education, and sustainable development,
the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has awarded a $1.2 million
grant to ATP. The funding will help to underwrite a portion of ATP’s
core programs through 2014.

“One of the primary objectives of our partnership with the Norwegian
government is to mitigate the impacts of climate change,” says SEEDS
Program Manager Vardan Melikyan, “and we plan to do this through
raising awareness about conservation issues, planting trees to promote
sustainable development in Armenia, and fostering a sense of personal
commitment about the importance of environmental stewardship.”

ATP launched an exciting new program in 2011 known as SEEDS, or
“Social, Economic, and Environmental Development for Sustainability.”

It has allowed ATP to build capacity in its reforestation programs
while improving results through new methods of program delivery. These
include a greater emphasis on community development and investing in
social capital in the areas where ATP is planting trees.

The Norway funding will provide partial support for some of ATP’s core
programs including tree planting initiatives in towns and villages
throughout Armenia, an expansion of reforestation programs in northern
Armenia, maintenance of recently planted forests, environmental
education programs that train teachers and inspire youth, and community
trainings for sustainable forest management.

In 2011, ATP’s SEEDS Program planted 186,785 tree seedlings on
community lands in Fioletovo, Jrashen, Katnajur, Spitak, and Tsakhkaber
in the Lori region. The SEEDS team also maintained previously planted
sites to improve survival rates by clearing grass around thousands
of seedlings that survived their first growing season.

“ATP plans to establish new forests in partnership with the communities
of Saratovka and Sverdlov, which have already provided nearly 80
hectares of land for tree planting. ATP has been working with local
partners to create small community forests. Towns and villages that
are located far from forested areas are given special attention in
this program, since they are desperately in need of green spaces,”
says Forestry Manager Ani Haykuni.

The seedlings for ATP’s reforestation programs are grown in the Mirak
Family Nursery in Margahovit Village and in backyard nurseries in
the Getik River Valley. These newly planted forests are established
with oak, pine, ash, apple, and pear seedlings which are native to
the region.

“ATP’s SEEDS Program also addresses community development and
socio-economic issues in order to mitigate some of the root causes
of deforestation and unsustainable land use. This includes providing
jobs for hundreds of workers in the Lori region for seasonal tree
planting, and partnering with other organizations who can bring
their development expertise to communities where we are working,”
concludes Vardan Melikyan. “These jobs mean people can work in their
communities and don’t have to emigrate to Russia to earn a living.”