By Sara Israfilbayova
The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan hold a meeting on July 11 titled “Renewal of the national forest program and reconstruction of forest institutions in Azerbaijan,” in the framework of the National Dialogue on Forests.
Speaking at the event, Minister Mukhtar Babayev touched upon the work carried out in the field of forest protection, development and expansion of the forest fund area.
The minister said noted that the exchange of experience with a number of countries, in particular with Turkey, will have a positive impact on the optimization of the forest management system.
Babayev went on to say that in Azerbaijan forest inventory has begun a few weeks ago.
The minister believes that it is more correct to carry out these works in the framework of cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
Head of the FAO Partnership and Coordination Office in Azerbaijan Melek Chakmak, Turkish Ambassador to Azerbaijan Erkan Ozoral, Deputy Head of the Forestry Department of FAO Ekrem Yazici, specialist in Silviculture of the FAO sub-regional office Peter Pechacek and other representatives of international and local structures take part in the event.
Addressing the event, Chakmak said that for Azerbaijan, which has few forest areas, it is extremely important to create new forest belts. She added that at present the Azerbaijani representation of FAO is implementing a project to assess forest resources.
“Within the framework of the two-year pilot project, it is planned to instruct forest experts, prepare forest management plans in the pilot Gakh and Agdash regions, carry out forest restoration work, reduce the impact of rural communities on forests, etc. Projects are being successfully implemented,” Chakmak noted.
The National Dialogue on Forests will last two days.
Currently, the area of forests is 1,021 million hectares in Azerbaijan or 11.8 percent of the country’s area. About 261,000 hectares of which are located in the Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia. There is approximately 0.12 hectares of forestland per capita.
Forests in Azerbaijan belong to group I for their important degree and are spread differently throughout the regions of the country. One of the specific features of these regions is the availability of various natural resources, such as mineral water, energy and fertile soil. The forests serve a function that no other natural components can. Forests are the natural matters that promote the stabilization of such important biosphere components as water, air and soil.
The forests of Azerbaijan (85 percent) mainly cover the slopes of the Major Caucasus, Minor Caucasus and Talysh Mountains.
The forest policy of the country is managed by the Department for Forests Development under the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources.
The department takes care of the protection and preservation of forests, restoration and planting of forests, preparation of planting stocks, storage of forest trees and bushes, preservation of forests and other forestry actions, which includes the efficient and purposeful utilization of forest reserves and related spheres of agriculture. It also works on the improvement of the protection of forest soil, water preservation, a clean environment, sanitarian and hygienic actions, preservation of species of animals in the forests, ensuring biodiversity, the establishment of cultural, scientific and recreational complexes throughout nature, as well as the protection and expansion of the gene pool in the growth of forest seed.
Over the past few years, the forest area in the country increased from 11.4 to 11.8 percent.
Today, the country continues its successful policy of protecting the forests and realizing the greening projects.
Sara Israfilbayova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Sara_999Is
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