By Vugar Khalilov
Azerbaijan has completed the mapping of the Basitchay state natural reserve’s sanitary protection zone, an official from the Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry has said.
The deputy head of the Biodiversity Protection Service under the Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry, Arzu Samadova, stated that work is underway to restore the activities of the reserve, which is located in Azerbaijan’s Zangilan region liberated from Armenia's occupation following the 44-day war with Armenia in 2020.
"Within the work, monitoring involving employees of the Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry and the National Academy of Sciences is carried out. Besides, last year, plane trees were planted on the territory of the Basitchay reserve and fish were released into the water. Work in this direction continues," Samadova underlined.
After the liberation of Azerbaijani territories from Armenia's occupation in the 44-day war in 2020, President Ilham Aliyev visited the Basitchay State Nature Reserve in Zangilan region in February 2021.
Aliyev stressed the ecological terror committed by Armenian invaders in the Basitchay reserve and in other occupied lands during the three-decade occupation. He noted that the Armenians had destroyed almost half of the forest area of the reserve and burned the roots and firewood of the trees.
Aliyev planted plane trees in the reserve and released fish to the Basitchay River. He emphasized that the restoration of the Basitchay Nature Reserve has started and Azerbaijan will restore the reserve.
He recalled that Armenia had blocked the rivers, which left other Azerbaijani regions waterless and that Armenia had been committing environmental terror against Azerbaijan over the past 30 years.
On October 20, 2021, Aliyev signed a decree on the restoration of the Basitchay State Reserve located on Zangilan, part of the Eastern Zangazur economic region.
The decree aims to improve the environment and ensure sustainable use of natural resources on the liberated territories, to preserve the network of specially protected natural areas, rare natural complexes, and objects in their natural state.
The natural ecosystem's environmental balance, which had formed in the reserve over the years, has been seriously undermined as a result of Armenian vandalism.
Armenians have completely destroyed and ruthlessly uprooted 200-year-old plane trees, which are considered to be Basitchay's main natural complex.
The monitoring group visiting the liberated lands revealed that Armenia had completely destroyed over 42 hectares of the reserve's 85-hectare forested area.
Perennial valuable oriental plane trees were cut down, various explosives were used to lose their roots, fires were started in the area and the administrative building of the reserve was destroyed.