Forest and Grassland Fire Seminars Held for Pupils and Teachers in Syunik Region (20-21/5/2011)
Following observations of repeated grassland burning in the area of the Shikahogh State Reserve, public awareness raising events on the risks of forest fires were organized in local schools around the area. The lessons on forest and grassland fires continued the series of seminars on climate change and forest adaptation issues conducted under the UNDP/GEF/00051202 Project “Adaptation to Climate Change Impacts in Mountain Forest Ecosystems of Armenia” in schools around Syunik region in May 2010 and April 2011.
The unique mountain forest ecosystems of Syunik have been recognized as critically vulnerable in terms of risks posed by climate change. Increased risk of forest fires is one of the recognized threats posed by the changing climate conditions. Simultaneously, increasing numbers of forest fire incidents have been reported in Syunik and considerably large areas of forests have been destroyed by fire. The main reasons for forest fires are found in some prevailing traditions, namely burning of agricultural waste and pasturelands. Under changing climate conditions there is an ever growing risk that these fires on the fields will spread to the surrounding forests with devastating consequences.
The purpose of the seminars held in the schools of Geghanush, Shikahogh and Tsav villages was to inform the children as well as their teachers of the causes, risks and effects of forest and grassland fires. Topics such as forest biodiversity in the Syunik region, forest vulnerability under climate change as well as forest fire prevention were also addressed during the lessons. Through interactive components of the lessons, the pupils presented their knowledge and ideas about, for example, endangered species living in the region and causes of forest fires.
The three seminars reached altogether 102 pupils and 24 teachers from Geghanush, Shikahogh and Tsav as well as their neighboring villages of Tchakaten, Srashen and Nerkin Hand.
The participating pupils were challenged to discuss the topics further and assigned to write essays on forest fires and other relevant environmental issues.
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