In Armenia, forests and forest lands occupy 11 % – about 459.9 thousand ha of territory out of which 334.1 thousand ha are natural forests and 51.5 thousand ha -artificial forests.
The forests in the Republic of Armenia, regardless their ownership category, are classified into protected, special and commercial types according to their designated use.
Average indicator of land productivity in Armenia is 3.6 bonitet (soil productivity indicator in the forests expressed by growth, height, integrity, composition, type of the trees (seed, vegitative). Forest land productivity is also defined by average height of trees at certain age.
The forest lands in Armenia are unevenly distributed, 62 % of the forests are located in the northeast, 36% in the southeast and only 2% in the central part of Armenia.
The forest lands of Armenia are characterized by rich natural resources and biodiversity. In these lands 274 types of native trees and shrubs can be found out of which 25 are endemic and 31relict species. The main forest species are beech, oak, eastern hornbeam, pine. These 4 species occupy 89.1% of forest lands and constitute 97.2 % of forest resources.
Subordinate (secondary) or accompanied species in the forests of Armenia are represented by maple, lime, birch, elm, ash-tree and other species. As compared with main forest composing species their productivity is 36 % less. The “open forests” are mainly represented by thin juniper forests with 0.3-0.4 of integrity, i.e. free surfaces are prevailing.
The prevalence of forests in the mountain zones of Armenia are as follows:
Sub mountain forests (lowland forest zone) – located on 550-1100 m elevations and represented by low-productive oak forest communities,
Middle forest zone – located on 1100-1700 m elevations, bare-floor beech forests occur in north mountain slopes and oak forests in south mountain slopes,
Upland forest zone – located on 1700-2400m (2500m) elevations, consists of oak and beech low integrity and low-productive forests with low indicators of natural reproduction.
Forest management system in the Republic of Armenia
According to the RA Government Resolution N7-Ն of January 15, 2004, the powers of state management for preservation, protection, reproduction and use of forests are reserved to the RA Ministry of Agriculture. The state control over forests’ preservation, protection, reproduction and use are under the authority of the RA Ministry of Nature Protection. About 100 thousand ha of special protected forest lands have been transferred to the jurisdiction of the RA Ministry of Nature Protection.
The RA Ministry of Agriculture pursues its activities through “ArmForest” SNCO and 20 forestry branches exercise control over more than 344.2 thousand ha of state forest lands (out of which about 277,1 thousand ha of wooded lands) including the forests of “ArmForest” SNCO and forest lands of the forestry branches.
The following thirteen special protected areas belong to ArmForest” SNCO:
1. Corylus colurna (Turkish hazel) sanctuary (Ijevan forestry) – 40 ha – Resolution N 341 of the ASSR dated 13.09.1958,
2. “Banksi” pine sanctuary (Hrazdan forestry) – 40 ha – Resolution N 20 of the ASSR dated 29.01.1958,
3. “Her-Her” open forest sanctuary (Vayots Dzor forestry) – 6140 ha – Resolution N 341 of the ASSR dated 13.09.1958,
4. “Jermuk” sanctuary (Vayots Dzor forestry) – 3865 ha (Arpa river basin) – Resolution N 341 of the ASSR dated 13.09.1958,
5. “Yeghegis” sanctuary (Vayots Zdor forestry) – 4200 ha (right tributary of Arpa river) – Resolution N 375 of the ASSR dated 16.11.1971,
6. “Gyulakarak” pine sanctuary (Stepanavan forestry) – 2590 ha – Resolution N 341of the ASSR dated 13.09.1958,
7. Rhododendron caucasica sanctuary (Gugark forestry) – 100 ha (Pambak and Tsaghkunjats mountain chain) – Resolution N 20 of the ASSR dated 29.02.1959,
8. “Margahovit” sanctuary (Gugark forestry) – 5000 ha (Pambak river basin) – Resolution N 75 of the ASSR dated 16.11.1959,
9. “Arzakan and Meghradzor” sanctuary (Hrazdan forestry) – 1450 ha (Marmarik and Dalarik rivers basin) – Resolution N 375 the ASSR dated 16.11.1971,
10. “Ijevan” sanctuary (Ijevan forestry) – 7800 ha (Ijevan and Kayeni mountain chain) – Resolution N 375 of the ASSR dated 16.11.1971,
11. “Gandzakar” sanctuary (Ijevan forestry) – 6800 ha (Paytajur and Aghstev rivers water basin) – Resolution N 375 of the ASSR dated 16.11.1971,
12. “Getik” sanctuary (Chambarak forestry) – 6000 ha – Resolution N 375 of the ASSR dated 16.11.1971,
13. “Goris” (Goris forestry) – 1850 ha – Resolution N775 of the ASSR dated 16.11.1972.