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Ecological Condition in Azerbaijan Territories under Occupation

Ecological Condition in Azerbaijan Territories under Occupation

1,7 million hectares of the Azerbaijan Republic territory were occupied as a result of Armenia’s military aggression during the years of 1988-1994. More than 460 types of wild plants and shrubs grow in the occupied territories.

70 of them being an endemic type don’t grow naturally in any part of the world. Garachohre bearnut,Araz oak, false nut, eastern plane, pomegranate, wood grape, pine -tree, date, willow- leaf pear, and other types of plants have been perished and  are to be rubbed off from the treasure of world fauna.

In the result of purposeful measures, the area of landscape under a special protection is up to 890 thousand hectares, 42.997 hectares of which are under Armenian aggression.

Rare plants and other types of biodiversity in Basitchay State Nature Conservation, Aras State Nature Reserve, Qaragol State Nature Conservation, State Nature Reserve of Lachin region, State  Nature Reserve of Gubadli region , and Dashalti State  Nature Reserve  are being plundered nowadays. 

247352 hectares of forest area, as well as, 13197.5 hectares of rare plants area, 152 nature monuments and 5 geological objects have been left in the regions under occupation. At present, Armenians settled down in these areas have destroyed most of these monuments which are of great importance.

986 hectares of state forest area consisting of valuable tree types, 710 hectares of collective-farm trees, 560 hectares road, water  and canalsides, cultured forests have been occupied , fires set on in this area have seriously damaged flora and fauna. 6 plane trees of  150-250 years old,  8 200-250 years old plane trees in Shelli, Seyidli, Aliaghali villages, 71 plane trees of up to 400 years old which were passported  and protected like nature monuments have been perished.           

The only natural plane forest in Europe is in Zangilan region which is on the west of Lowland Caucasus. It covers the area of 117 hectares in Besitchay valley. 107 hectares of it belongs to Besitchay State Nature Reserve. It was set up in the late academician Hasan Aliyev’s initiative. The length of the forest is 15km; the width is 150-200 metres. Unfortunately, such a unique plane forest is in the hands of Armenian invaders. The plane trees which bear the memory of centuries are cut off and plundered by Armenians. 

In Rezdere village of Zangilan region, Armenians have built a wood processing workshop in the area of the plane forest. The workshop works without intermission, furniture materials are produced. The surrounding plane, nut, oak trees are cut off and used pell- mell. In order to extirpate the cut off trees they put explosives in their roots and disperse them. Then they burn them and try to disappear the track of crime. The cattle are fed with these shoots, seed sprouts were perished. These facts are irrefutable facts of ecological terror.

One more fact- a new wood processing plant in the value of 100million dollars has been built in Muganli village of Zangilan region. Armenians form Isfahan makes use of it. The essential raw materials of this plant are ostensibly the trees flowing down the Aras. Whereas this plant was purposely built to eradicate the forests in Zangilan and other vicinal regions under occupation.  It is the king of trees – planes which are exposed to a death-blow. I raised this question in international conferences several times since the plane forest in Besitchay valley is not only a unique gift belonging to Azerbaijan but also the whole European landscape.

The bear nut trees enclosing the area of 968 hectares in Kalbajar region which are included in the Red Book are also mass- cut off and sold abroad.  There are more than 4 thousand various plant types in the region up to 200 of which being medicinal plants are mass –plundered and transported abroad. Therefore, it causes the eradication of these plants in those areas.

The letter 4/21-332/03 dated December 17,2003, signed by the deputy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Azerbaijan Republic Xalaf Xalafov, sent to the the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources writes: The mineral water “Jermuk” which is produced in Armenia has been offered for sale in some shopping malls of Tehran recently.

As a consequence of the investigation, it was revealed that the named mineral water is packed up from “Istisu” in the area of Kelbajar region of the Azerbaijan Republic, which is under occupation, by “Jermuk” group of companies of Armenia, and information about its being filled up with the water of springs in the settlement of Jermuk known as a tourism zone of Armenia in the Persian language and its chemical composition are given on it.    

Shusha is known to be one of the cultural centres of the world culture. Cultural and nature monuments of this city have already been annihilated. From the front part of the cave: Agzi yasti” in the reserve part of “ Topkhana”, on the highest top of this forest, the wide plains have been made by cutting down its  trees and buildings have been constructed there. Furthermore, in the area called “ Hacha yal” up to 2000 oak trees, which have been grown there in a civilized manner for long years,  have been chopped and carried off by Armenians. The other nature monument- “Khan magarasi” with 114 metres length  and lime stones dates back to the Titan century,  and located  in the south of  Shusha, on the left bank of Qarqar River, belonged to the nature areas under special protection.   Dashalti State Nature Reserve, which was set up in 1988 for the protection of rare nature composite in the areas of Shusha and Asgeran, covered the area of 450 hectares. This reserve having been under occupation since 1992, has completely been destroyed at present.

The head of Shusha Regional Office of Ecology and Natural Resources I. G. Alakbarov informed: “Based on materials recorded in video casettes and shot via satellites it was disclosed that  in the reserve area called “Jidir duzu”of  the city of  Shusha,around the area called “Chol Gala” and in the areas of Khalifeli, Gaybali, and Dashalti villages  forests and trees were cut and used like wood to be burnt in winter. All these facts were completely asserted with the  taken pictures of wood chopped and piled on the balconies of the flats where armenians live. Futhermore, in the upper part of Shusha city , upward to the place called “dord yol” (crossroad), on left and right sides of Lachin street the remainder of  stumps of 70-80 trees of big diametres are seen distinctly. (Act #1 26.08 2005)      

It’s clearly seen from the video cassette that along A. Garashov street with the exception of one or two different  tree types have been cut down. (Act #2  26.08. 2005)   Along the road in front of school #4 named after H. Hajiyev the cuts of 50-60 parennial poplar trees of big diametres are seen obviously. (Act#5 26.08.2005)

In “Jidir duzu” of Shusha, in front of the cave :”Aghzi yasti”, in the forest reserve of “Topkhana”, on the highest top of this forest, the wide plain has been made,  valuable different types of trees have been cut off,  buildings have been constructed there. All of these can be clearly viewed in the video cassette, and it is completely against the protection rules of reserves done by the government. (26.08.2005 Act# 6  )

In the upper part of the city, in front of the cinema along the street the trunks of decorative trees of big diametres prove  once more that they had been cut, and it’s irrefutable fact they have used these trees like wood in their houses. (Act #8 26.08.2005)

Moreover, there is a fact that oak trees in the forest area called “Hacha Yal”have been cut by captives and carried off to Khankendi.

On October 14, 2006 from the video records done there related to the fact of  fire caused by Armenians in the areas called “ Garaja Chalan” and “Nergiz Tepe” it was revealed that as a result of  armenians’savageries  up to 15000 hectares of land was exposed to the fire, the surface and plants were plundered completely during the fire. There’s no sign of flora and fauna in this area, and the  trees here were reduced to ashes.

In Garagol State Nature Reserve, which is located in the region of Lachin- one part of the Azerbaijan nature of rich biodiversity, the sum of damage inflicted on the surrounding environment is immeasurable. The reserve with the total area of 240 hectares is being plundered now. Qaragol and its encircling areas are in the danger of being ruined.  Diminishing number of birds and animals because of being hunted continuously by Armenians, and annihilation of some types have been observed here.

There are red oak trees, which are the most valuable tree types in the world, in Hajishamli forest in the area of reserve.  The material of this tree, which is only spread in that reserve of Azerbaijan, is used for making precious furniture and also casks for keeping cognac alcohol especially. Nowadays red oak trees and other types are cut off savagely by Armenians and sold to France, as well as nut trees are cut off for furniture industry and sold to Iran.

Most lakes of ecological importance in the territories of Azerbaijan that are under occupation are exposed to a big anthropogenic impact. In these areas,  7 large and small relic lakes, Boyuk Alagol , Kichik Alagol, Zalkhagol, Garagol , Janligol , Ishiqli Garagol in pastures of Kelbajar and Lachin regions, and fresh water resources like Garagol ( Black Lake) in the area of Aghdere region ( in Toghachay – branch of Tartar River) are under occupation nowadays.

Serseng reservoir, which is also under occupation, was built on Tartar River in 1976, the total water capacity of it is 560 million cubic metres, height is 125 metres. Before occupation, the arable land of 79,000 hectares was watered with the water of Serseng reservoir.

However, 400 thousand people’s lives are in danger since the reservoir is in the state of emergency because of no maintenance of technical plants. Furthermore, only 10-15 % of annual water rate is let in summer, so it causes problems in the irrigation of the arable lands, verdures die because of aridity, serious ecological tension emerges. Nowadays 7 regions can use the water of Serseng reservoir.

The minerals mentioned above were discovered in Gizilbulaq, Mehmana, Demirli,Janyatag-gulyatag, Agdere, Shorbulaq, Shusha, Shirlan, Turshsu, Khojali, Zerinbakh,Agchay, Khankendi, Edish, Khojavand, Soyudlu, Agduzdag,Tutkhun,Agyatag, Levchay, Kilseli, Keshdek, Kecheldag, Chelli,Upland Istisu, Lowland Istisu, Mozchay, Goturlu, Chilkez,  Narzanli, ahmedli, Hochaz, Lachin, Novruzlu,  Upper Ekerechay, Gushchu, Minkend,  Hajili, Khanlig ,Gubadli, Vejneli,  Bartaz,  Okhchuchay, Zangilan, Sherifan, Tuluz,  Garajali, Soltanli,  Chakhmakhchay,  Goyerchin-Veyselli, Minbashili, Agtepe,  Jafarabad,  Shahverdiler,  Chakhmakhqaya,  Dovletyarli, Dilegerdi, Kuradmahmudlu,  Guruchay, Shahbulag, Gulabli, Chobandag, Boyehmedli, Shahbulag, Agdam, Gargarchay, Khachinchay and other deposits.

In the mentioned deposits industry resources were approved, 132,6 tons gold, 37,3 thousand tons lead, 189million cubic metres stones,  1million 526 thousand alm, 1 million 968 thousand cubic metres fresh water, 18 million 432 thousand cubic meters marble, 23million243 thousand cubic metres clay, 57 million  965 thousand ton building stones, 7805 cubic metres/per a day mineral water, 96 million 987 thousand ton sand –gravel, 1898,4  mercury,  4 million 473 thousand cubic metres pearlite, 2 million 144 thousand cubic metres pumice, 129 million 833 thousand cubic metres limestone for  production of soda, 147 million 108 thousand tons cement raw material ,etc   mineral deposits, which play an important role in the economic growth, were found.  Most of them are being exploited illegally by invaders and by some foreign companies.

The natural water sources running through the occupied territories are exposed to too much contamination.  As a result of overcontamination of the tributaries of the Kura and The Araz – Okhchuchay and Aghstafachay by Armenians the life of organic world is endangered in the rivers.

Chemically contaminated water of Gajaran copper-molybdenum, Gafan copper ore refining group of enterprises, as well as biologically waste water of Gafan , Gajaran cities   (including villages , hospitals, agricultural facilities) without purification  run directly  into Oxchuchay, the river in front of Sherikan village of  Zangilan region, so it converts the river basin into “ Dead zone”. 43 km of river-bed, 455 km of water collector area lie in the area of Azerbaijan, and this part is exposed to continuous pollution. Consequently, micro flora – fauna formed before   have perished, the process of self cleaning has stopped.

After the seizure of Gubadli region the houses in the villages were burnt and devastated, the property , wealth was plundered, the forests, the  trees in the yards were cut and carried off, nature monuments were destroyed, animals and birds in reserves were savagely hunted, valuable fish types were eradicated with electric current and explosives. In other words, the environment and natural resources of Gubadli was damaged devastatingly to an unprecedented extent.

According to the information given from some sources, Armenia cover up nuclear residuums produced in nuclear power station in the areas of Gubadli and Lachin regions.The resident of Hamzali village of Gubadli region Garashov Telman Alizaman writes in his explanation:  “I was a captive in Armenia from August, 1993 to October,1994.  When I was captivated, I was 13. They were keeping me in a pig stable. Though I was a juvenile, I was beaten, sworn, given torture, kept hungry and thirsty, made do hard work when it was necessary. Other children of my age and I were made to load cotton from Horadiz base and cut logs from the forests, load trucks and then unload all of them.  I had a heartache when I saw our forests and trees having been cut and carried off, animals having been hunted savagely, fish in our rivers having been mass- obliterated

During the conversations with the resident of Upper Khojamsakhli village Hidayet Khalilov, rezident of Khojahan village Nazim Rejebov, resident of Novlu village Behlul Adgozelov, rezident of Hamzali village and others who was set free from captivity they spoke about how Armenians were setting fire to Azerbaijan villages and reducing them to ashes, cutting and carrying off forests, plundering natural resources savagely with grief in their hearts.

When the video cassette recorded by the resident of Shikhovis village of Gafan region was seen upon the request of Azerbaijanis living in Estonia, it became clear that there was nothing but the cut tree shoots, reeds, and shrubberies on the areas from Memer village of Gubadli region toward the town centre, Along Bergushad River and neighboring villages Hal, Geziyan, Saray, Mirler in the recorded video. All houses were demolished, set on fire, turned into ruins. There was no sign of trees in the yards, no sign of nut and plane trees in the gardens. The stumps of big trees are hardly noticed. In the place of gardens and big plane and nut trees only shoots and shrubberries are seen.

The video recorded on August 8-9, 2005 with the request and order of Azerbaijanis living in Moscow, the city of the Russian Federation, reflects thoroughly Armenians’ destructive impact on our native lands, fascinating nature, and ecology. 

The burnt walls of destroyed, burnt, plundered, completely razed houses, the ruined gardens, the cut trees, the remains of devastated cultural and nature monuments of Gubadli city and Seleli, Zilanli,Kurad, Mahruzlu, Muganli,Alagurshag,Khanlig, Hal, Gezyan,Dilelir,Muskanli, Saray, Mirler, Dondarli, Demirchiler, Khudular, Hajili, Mahmudlu, Khelej, Chardakhli villages are seen everywhere. There is no sign of high plane, nut, mulberry, apricot, grapevine trees. Instead of them feeble willow trees and reeds cover up villages and notifies their being deserted, ruined, and dreadful places.

The areas of Aghdam, Jabrayil, Tartar, and Khojavend regions that borders on Armenia were deliberately set on fire by Armenian invaders. The fires embracing the areas of thousand hectares which are under Armenians control spread through the other areas, too and damaged seriously the environment and animated nature.

All in all,  in the result of fires set purposely by Armenian soldiers in the  occupied areas of Azerbaijan pastures, hayfields, verdures as well as forest areas of 96 thousand hectares were burnt and perished, the top fertile part of soil was made useless. During the fires the damage on the environment was in the amount of 176 million AZN.

At the same time, in the result of pillage of Azerbaijan natural resources and non-pecuniary ecological detriment on internally displaced people from their native lands our country suffered approximately 31, 72 billion AZN losses. 

According to Rio-de Janero declaration on Environment and development, wars mustn’t have destructive impact on the process of sustainable development. Therefore, governments have to respect international law on the environment protection during armed conflicts. However, armenians not only keep to these principles, but also  by violating  them roughly devastate the nature of the  occupied areas. 

The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources has made official appeals to  the General Secretary of Bern Convention on the Protection of Wild Nature and Natural Environment,  the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biodiversity,  the UNO Secretariat of the Framework Convention on Climate Changes, the Prezident of International Community on the Protection of Nature and  Natural Resources about armenians’ bestialities toward the animated nature and mankind in the occupied territories and notified  international organizations about the necessity of taking urgent measures in this direction. 

Sources:

www.eco.gov.az

Cherkez Gubadli (Mammedov) The Nature of Gubadli before and after armenian occupation, Baki, “Nurlan”, 2007, 48 pages

Materials of Shusha Regional Office of Ecology and Natural Resources

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