Building International Bridges for Forest Futures


Project managers: Adrina Bardekjian (Canada) and Alla Berberyan (Armenia)

Building International Bridges for Forest Futures is a collaborative learning project initiated through Tree Canada for sharing forestry knowledge between Canada and Armenia.

The primary goal of this project is to help develop sustainable and innovative forest management methods suitable for Armenia based on the rich experience, best practices, and guidelines of Canadian sustainable forest management (SFM) in the framework of the National Forest Strategy and the Crown Forest Sustainability Act. This project also builds close cooperation and institutional linkages between the Armenian youth and the government sector, on behalf of our Armenian partners: the Young Armenian Scholars and “Gugark Forestry Agency.”

Historically, forests in Armenia covered 40% of the country. Today only 8% remains forested and the country is at risk of becoming a desert within the next 20 years. Forest destruction largely affects the socio-economic well-being of the Armenian population. As an independent developing country succeeding the fall of the Soviet Union, Armenia needs to direct its long-term strategies to ensure that transition to market economy and economic growth aligns with environmental sustainability. Unfortunately, the recent rapid growth of Armenia’s GDP has been discordant with the trends in the health of its environment; most notably problems with deforestation, land degradation, and callous exploitation of natural resources.

Canada was the first nation to form a National Forest Strategy becoming a global leader in the pursuit of SFM. As the second largest country in the world, Canada's forests cover 44% of the landscape making up 10% of the world’s forest cover and 25% of the world’s natural forest. For these reasons, Building International Bridges for Forest Futures was initiated to reveal the measures of success in SFM and use them for the pursuit of SFM in Armenia.

This project has 3 stages: The first stage involved a visit to Canada by two Armenian foresters. In April 2008, with funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Ms. Alla Berberyan (Young Armenian Scholars) and Mr. Gagik Amiryan (Gugark Forestry Agency) travelled to Canada to obtain skills and knowledge of innovative forestry practices and Sustainable Forest Management in Canada.

The second stage involved a reciprocal visit by Tree Canada. In October 2008, with continued funding from CIDA, Michael Rosen (President, Tree Canada) and Adrina Bardekjian travelled to Armenia to learn about the forestry practices and how they are impacting environmental and social devastation. Lastly, the third stage involves identifying and implementing practical projects that we can develop collaboratively in the future.

The overall results of our collaborative project will include increased awareness and skills about the successful management of forests that consider forest health, values and benefits; and, elaborated methods to involve the forest dependent communities of Armenia in forestry management practices and decision-making to increase their social and economic well-being.

Complementing the reform processes of Armenia, this project will also contribute to sustainable human development within the country in terms of poverty reduction and environmental sustainability. Empowering the participation of local communities in SFM and decision-making processes based on the Canadian experience of sustainable forest communities will also encourage democratic development and good governance on a regional scale.

On behalf of Tree Canada, I would like to thank all our Canadian and Armenian forestry hosts and partners who participated in this project:

Canadian Partners

Algonquin Forest Authority
Canadian Ecology Centre
Canadian Forest Service
Canadian Institute of Forestry
Dufferin County Forest
Eastern Ontario Model Forest
Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto
Forest Stewardship Council
Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve
Ontario Forestry Association
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Trees Ontario
Vanier Sugar Bush

Armenian Partners

Armenia Tree Project
Armenian Forests NGO
Armenian Green Cross
Botanical Gardens of Yerevan
Canadian Consulate
Dilijan National Park
Gugark Forestry Agency
Khosrov Forest Preserve
Ministry of Nature Protection
Sevan National Park
State Agrarian University of Armenia
World Wildlife Fund Armenia
Yerkir Nairi
Young Armenian Scholars NGO

related publications

Bardekjian, A. (2008). Building international bridges for forest futures. Canadian Trees 4(2): 7.

Bardekjian, A. (2007). The need for sustainable forests in Armenia: The lengths a non-profit organization is going to mitigate the effects of deforestation. Canadian Trees 4(1): 28-29.