23 May, 2022

ATP’s New Forest Benefits Communities and the Environment

Villagers hired as seasonal workers planting a forest in Lernanist, Kotayk

This spring, ATP has planted a forest of 21,400 trees on 5.3 hectares (13 acres) in Lernanist village, Kotayk Region with villagers from the Jrashen community. ATP‘s work in this area is of afforestation, planting a new forest where trees were not previously growing. This is just the beginning of what will be a much larger forest and these seasonal jobs will be available for several years as we continue planting.

Lernanist village, about an hour northwest of Yerevan is mountainous and the alpine views are breathtaking. The climate is humid allowing the newly planted trees to thrive on the hillsides, on the mountains above, there is even still snow.  During the three weeks in April and May that the villagers were planting the trees, they faced tumultuous weather with daily fog, rain, snow and hail that caused delays and interruptions, yet they successfully completed the planting of tens of thousands of trees.

The villagers all were familiar with each other, as they came from the same community. The men and women have different professional backgrounds, including agriculture, construction, even nurses and homemakers. For a few weeks, everyone worked side by side on the hillsides. The work of planting trees offered the villagers significant financial help, the earnings by planting these trees helps make their lives easier.

For this forest, ATP’s specialists selected species of wild pear, wild apple, ash, oak, pine, maple and birch. These particular species enable forest connectivity, regeneration and provide migration corridors for indigenous wildlife.

The newly planted forest is located near grasslands and arable fields, which will contribute to the fertility of these agricultural lands, in particular, will mitigate the effects of harmful winds and evaporation of soil surface moisture. As a result of our afforestation activities, the planted trees will serve as an anti-erosion system and assist to accumulate water and snow. The nearby communities will enjoy better environmental protection from the new forest, including, decreased air pollution, improved water supplies, as well as restored and enhanced soil for agricultural activities and gardening.

Another future benefit for the local residents of nearby communities will be the collected harvest from the mature forest can be consumed in their households, as well as serve as a fodder for domesticated and wild animals.

The Jrashen villagers have taken a personal interest in this Lernanist forest that they planted. During their work, they remarked wistfully that they will return to enjoy the shade of mature trees. In the future, the afforested area may become a hub for recreation tourism.

In Armenia the deforestation of scarce forest resources presents a significant environmental threat. ATP’s afforestation efforts create infrastructure and introduce income opportunities to the local population while also providing a buffer zone for natural forest areas and preventing further degradation. This forest in Lernanist is one of five ATP has planted this spring, in the regions of Kotayk, Lori and Shirak. Our goal is to plant a record-breaking 400,000 trees during this planting season.

Each year, ATP has hired hundreds of seasonal workers to support its spring and fall fundraising plantings. To date, ATP has established nearly 1,200 hectares of new forest, improving and preserving Armenia’s environment and providing economic opportunities to many rural villagers who work for ATP during planting seasons.

Since 1994, ATP has been using trees to improve the standard of living in Armenia, focusing on aiding those with the fewest resources. If you would like to support ATP”s seasonal workers, please visit www.ArmeniaTreeProject.org/en/donation and note ‘Spring Planting’ in the Comment Box.

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Armenia Tree Project, established in 1994, is a non-profit organization that revitalizes Armenia’s and Artsakh’s most vulnerable communities through tree-planting initiatives, and provides socio-economic support and growth. It is based in Yerevan, Armenia and has an office in Woburn, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit ArmeniaTree.org