8 thousand pines withered on the shore of Sevan. Are the bugs to blame or the indifference of people?
Pines on the shore of Lake Sevan withered
8,000 pines on the shores of Lake Sevan have completely dried up, and another 10,000 are on the verge of drying up.
This time, it was not ecologists or eco-activists who sounded the alarm about this, but the Ministry of the Environment itself among Armenia. The department reported that the trees are infected with a nematodosis, which is “considered one of the most dangerous diseases and is spread by beetles.”
Opinions of experts about the current situation and its overcoming are radically opposite. Some regard it as a catastrophe, others say that it is a natural process, there is no reason for concern.
What JAMnews experts said – why the trees withered and what steps should be taken.
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“We turned a blind eye to the problem, so the disease spread”
Ecologist Silva Adamyan says she noticed the problem during a trip to Sevan back in 2017. At that time, according to her, there were few withered, yellowed pines here, but then the situation already required attention:
“We turned a blind eye to the problem, so the disease spread. The tree cannot turn yellow and wither a few days after the disease, this happens within a few years. If this issue had been dealt with in time, this situation would not have happened now.”
According to Silva Adamyan, the issue must be urgently resolved so that healthy trees do not become infected. Although the hookworm develops slowly in the most infected tree, the disease is transmitted and spreads very quickly.
“The process must be stopped. There are specialists who receive salaries from the state budget, this is their job, they must resolve the issue of these trees. Years ago it was said that Sevan would cleanse itself. Perhaps that is why they did not intervene, but we see that this did not happen. It is necessary to seriously take up the matter, otherwise it will lead to disaster. The death of trees will affect the environment as a whole, the climate. If these trees are cut down, the animal world will also be in danger, ”the ecologist emphasizes.
“No need to worry, these are old trees”
The former director of the Sevan National Park, Vahe Gulanyan, has a different opinion. He says there is no need to worry, these trees were planted many years ago and are in the process of physiological aging. Old trees have weak immunity and become more susceptible to disease, just like people with weak immunity.
“These trees were artificially planted back in the 50s. They were given to live 50 years, in rare cases they can live 100 years. There is a concept of physiological aging of a tree. These trees are old. We noticed the first signs of drying up in 2006-2007, when the level of the lake rose. The water washed out the roots, and, naturally, these trees had to die.
In winter, the tree did not fall asleep, the wet roots rotted, the tree froze. To this were added viruses, which cannot be absent. Trees are like people. A sick, weak person is more likely to get the flu. But the flu doesn’t go away, does it? The tree must be able to fight the disease,” Gulanyan explains.
He says that there are territories where forest care has not been carried out since the times of the USSR. It was in these areas that the problems began, and the trees grew old ahead of time. And the reason, in his opinion, is that “the authorities of the country were afraid of mass cutting down of trees”:
“Lacking the trust of the people, the authorities were afraid to cut down the trees. They thought that people would not understand them. They will say that they are actually cutting down trees for something else. But, on the other hand, we did not insist on cutting down, because there was no guarantee that it would help. The trees were already 50 years old,” says the former director of the Sevan National Park.
And now he advises to cut down withered trees without fear. He explains that 18,000 trees for Sevan is not as much as it seems, cutting down such a number is within the permissible range.
“It was too dense a forest, which is contrary to the laws of nature”
Former Deputy Environment Minister Vardan Melikyan also advocates cutting down trees. He says that once too many pines were planted, later the forest was not thinned out, that is, they did not cut down degraded, weak trees that interfered with the growth of healthy trees. All this, according to him, is contrary to the laws of nature:
“There are areas where more than 10,000 trees have been planted per hectare. The tree grows, the root too. It is clear that they will interfere with each other’s growth. The problem is unambiguously solvable, it is not a tragedy. You just have to not leave the decision for the future, you need to think through everything and act now.”
So far, the ministry has not announced what decision has been made. It is known that an expert group has been formed, which continues to study the issue.
Pines on the shore of Lake Sevan withered