The partial reduction in the area of green spaces was observed in Galajig forest in Azerbaijan’s Gusar district in 2019-2021, but the data on the complete destruction of green spaces do not correspond to reality, Head of the State Environmental Security Service under the Azerbaijani Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources Hikmat Alizade told Trend on July 5.
“The specialists of the ministry checked the information received through Google Earth,” Alizade added. “The partial reduction in the area of green spaces was revealed during the specified period, but satellite images give reason to assert that there was no dense forest in this area in 2018-2019 either.”
The head of the service also invited the individuals who disseminated this information to join the inspections of the employees of the ministry.
"These plots with an area of 102 hectares and 165 hectares were rented to the company for a long-term in 2019-2020,” Alizade said.
“The main purpose of the rent is to create a walnut orchard there,” the head of the service said. “I would like to stress that the Ministry of Ecology has been implementing a joint program with the Ministry of Agriculture aimed at a rich harvest of agricultural crops and a further increase in the area of green spaces since 2020.”
“We must remember that forests with such sparse shrubs are of little importance in terms of agriculture, green space or carbon dioxide emissions,” Alizade said.
“On the contrary, they are a source of threat,” the head of the service said. “Fires in big forest areas mainly occur in such areas with sparse and old shrubs.”
“From this point of view, the purpose of the contract was to rent the land for a long-term and create walnut orchards there,” Alizade said.
The head of the service said that the company initially submitted a business plan, which was checked by the specialists of the ministry.
“Of course, the condition was set not to cut down the already small number of trees on the territory,” Alizade said. “If a walnut orchard is planted on several hundred hectares, then it is inevitable to cut down dry shrubs.”
“I also want to stress that about 100 hectares of municipal land are adjacent to the forest fund lands,” the head of the service said. “The company also rented that territory. The work was carried out on about 400 hectares. We ourselves reviewed the area by using Google Earth. A completely different situation was observed in 2018-2020.”
“In this case, it is impossible to explain the dissemination of distorted information in the media and social networks,” Alizade said. “The clearing of the area from shrubs was suspended in October 2020 and no work has been carried out there over the past 10 months.”
“Now walnut trees are being planted on these lands,” the head of the service said. “How, then, could the area of plots with green spaces be reduced within 10 months?”
“All work is carried out taking into account environmental aspects and violators of this rule are punished,” Alizade said. “If there are any shortcomings, we are ready to eliminate them, reveal and punish violators. However, it is impossible to explain the spread of distorted information."
Earlier, the information about the destruction of trees in Galajig forest on a 300-hectare-area was disseminated on social networks.
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