The matter with feeling in Gougark forest acquires a scandalous nature like confrontation between green activists and authorities.
Late in August youth green movement activists disseminated information in the press that wide-scale felling is conducted in Gougark forestry enterprise near Lori Rest House where trucks with and without number plates are taking away timber. This information was corroborated with photos.
Inspection and supervisory bodies also got involved in this matter, but check results didnt satisfy eye-witness Vahe Vardoumyan who submitted certain proof: more trees have been cut down than the State Environmental Inspection of the Ministry of Nature Protection has recorded.
Center for Forest Monitoring invited the activists to conduct in that particular area. Henceforth almost a detective story begins. On 9 September, at about 21:30, youth green movement activist Mariam Sukhudyan phoned EcoLur who said they were left not only without people who accompanied them, but also without car with their equipment, documents and money in the forest. She also said, the police showed up there and pressure was exercised both on activists and journalists: the main aim was to make activists hide the factual scale of felling. According to Mariam, they had detected 116 cut down trees, and, as a matter of fact, the number of these trees is more, just neighbouring territories should be examined as well.
EcoLur contacted with the Center for Forest Monitoring, where we were assured everything will be o.k. After an hour we phoned and the center representative tuned out to be with activists.
Judging by the fact that on 10 September activists publicized the incident, they didnt manage to come to an agreement.
One question is left: why it was necessary to involve activists in the joint monitoring, if they actually needed to hide the felling scale, whether the pressure exercised was unauthorized activity at local level, or it was an order given from above. As a matter of fact, one thing is clear: public got focused on forest, and in this situation we should do our best not to allow the forest to become token money and to preserve the forest as one of the most valuable natural resources which we have been destroying successively for almost 20 years.