Yerevan, Armenia
City population: 1075000
Duration: 1994 – ongoing
Implementation status: Ongoing
Scale: Meso-scale: Regional, metropolitan and urban level
Project area: unknown
Type of area: Residental, Natural Heritage Area, Central Business District / City Centre
Last updated: May 2022

The Armenia Tree Project is a national initiative founded in 1994. The project engages in involving different community members in an urban planting program, environmental education and outreach. ATP has targeted the most vulnerable communities with the most need for greenery. The focus and attention that is given to these areas help trees to grow and flourish but also creates a stronger bond between the inhabitants and the land they live on. Major greening sites are typically public parks, schools, kindergartens, cultural centers, military bases, churches, historical monuments and other significant landmarks. ATP also focused on Yerevan, the capital of Armenia which has become the "theatre" of many planting campaigns. From a climate change perspective, the project addresses issues of clean air and temperature regulation, as Armenia confronts a frequency of extreme weather events, worsening desertification and land degradation. From a biodiversity perspective, the project aims to conserve the country's rich biodiversity and to restore its ecosystems. (1,2,3)

Photo 4
https://www.armeniatree.org/en/village

Overview

Nature-based solution

  • Grey infrastructure featuring greens
  • Alley and street greens
  • Green playgrounds and school grounds
  • Parks and urban forests
  • Pocket parks/neighbourhood green spaces

Key challenges

  • Climate action for adaptation, resilience and mitigation (SDG 13)
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Environmental quality
  • Air quality improvement
  • Green space, habitats and biodiversity (SDG 15)
  • Habitat and biodiversity conservation
  • Green space creation and/or management
  • Water management (SDG 6)
  • Flood protection
  • Social justice, cohesion and equity (SDG 10)
  • Social interaction
  • Environmental education

Focus

Creation of new green areas, Knowledge creation and awareness raising

Project objectives

Armenia's climate can be described as highland continental with large variations between summer highs and winter lows. The country's capital, Yerevan, experienced for the first time in 2018 a record temperature of 42 degrees Celsius. Floods also represent a risk for the city capital, and the economy of the country depends heavily on the city. As a response to the many challenges Armenia and its cities has yet to encounter, ATP initiated planting sites throughout Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, as well as in other major cities. ATP aims to focus on the following aspects: 1. To have green areas in cities to protect people against pollutants and dust, and to provide shade and lower temperatures caused by hot summers, traffic, concrete heat and greenhouse gases. 2. To clean the air that the Armenians breathe of carbon dioxide but also to beautify a major part of Yerevan. 3. To plant a variety of climatically suitable seedlings in a given location to help maintain the area's biodiversity and resilience. 4. To engage in an environmental and community building planting program in different urban areas of Yerevan. ATP’s mission is to assist the Armenian people in using trees to improve their standard of living and protect the environment, guided by the need to promote self-sufficiency, aid those with the fewest resources first, and conserve the indigenous ecosystem. ATP’s three major programs are tree planting, environmental education, and sustainable development initiatives. (1,2,3)

Implementation activities

Every year ATP engages alongside volunteers and NGOs in planting trees in large areas in cities as well as in rural locations. The trees are grown in local nurseries ( nurseries in Karin and Khachpar villages, with others coming from the Mirak Family Reforestation Nursery, Keti, Aghavnavank, and Margahovit) and the community tree planting happens over 2 seasons: spring and autumn. The planting is based on volunteering based but temporary workers also take part. The planting project has the following schedule: 1. First the team searches for locations for plantings and at the same time they respond to requests for trees. 2. The planting season begins 3. The teams return to sites to check on the trees and offer professional advice. Monitoring visits follow every planting. The team return to the site soon after the planting to ensure the trees take root. They visit all the sites from time to time but priority is given to newly planted sites and 1 year-old sites because they are in the most critical period of the planting process. Older sites are visited less often since the trees there are already out of that critical period, but those sites continue to remain in their plans. (1)

Climate-focused activities

Climate change adaptation:

  • Increase or improve urban vegetation cover to help reduce outdoor temperature
  • Create or improve outdoor spaces to help people escape from urban heat

Climate change mitigation:

  • Increase green urban nature for carbon storage (wetlands, tree cover)
  • Raise public awareness of behaviours, lifestyle and cultural changes with mitigation potential

Biodiversity conservation or restoration-focused activities

Biodiversity conservation:

  • Protect and enhance urban habitats
  • Preserve and strengthen existing habitats and ecosystems
  • Protect species
  • Undertake specific measures to protect species
  • Undertake specific measures to protect native species
  • Means for conservation governance
  • Raise public awareness
  • Public engagement

Main beneficiaries

  • Non-government organisation/Civil Society
  • Citizens or community groups
  • Marginalized groups: Low income citizens
  • Food producers and cultivators (i.e. farmers, gardeners)
  • Young people and children

Governance

Management set-up

  • Led by non-government actors

Type of initiating organisation

  • Non-government organisation/civil society

Participatory approaches/ community involvement

  • Crowd-sourcing/Crowd-funding/Participatory bdget
  • Dissemination of information and education
  • Joint implementation (e.g. tree planting)
  • Co-management/Joint management
  • Citizen oversight (e.g. boards, advisory)

Details on the roles of the organisations involved in the project

The initiative was developed by the team at ATP and dates back to 1994. ATP works as an NGO with offices in the U.S and Armenia and raises its funds through crowdfunding, individual or institutional donations, etc. ATP also welcomes temporary workers and volunteers. From time to time, the organisation pairs up with local schools or communities as well as the local administration (especially if the planting site targeted happens to be a local park that needs restoration) in order to implement its project or select the sites for planting. (1,2)

Project implemented in response to ...

... an EU policy or strategy? Yes (This intervention in Yerevan is not necessarly connected with an EU Directive, however in 2021 the EU Ambassador to Armenia mentioned that: “Actions on climate change, environmental protection and sustainable development are at the heart of the European Green Deal and are among the main priorities of the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement. We are convinced that going green is at the center of economic recovery, hence the eagerness of the European Union to continue supporting in Armenia biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation, renewable energy, sustainable waste management and other environmental projects.” (4))
... a national policy or strategy? Yes (The national strategy of Armenia is explained in the national forestry program that aims to ensure sustainable management of forests and forest areas. The National Forest Policy is aimed at the restoration of deteriorated forest ecosystems, emphasizing the conservation and development of environmental, social and economic properties of forests, for the benefit of the people and the prosperity of the country. Throughout the years, under this strategy the government cooperated with ATP in their projects. (5))
... a local policy or strategy? Unknown

Financing

Total cost

€500,000 - €2,000,000

Source(s) of funding

  • Crowdfunding

Type of funding

  • Donations

Non-financial contribution

Type of non-financial contribution
  • Provision of land
  • Provision of goods
  • Provision of labour
  • Provision of expertise
  • Exchange of services
Who provided the non-financial contribution?
  • Public authorities (e.g. land, utility services)
  • Citizens (e.g. volunteering)

Impacts and Monitoring

Environmental impacts

  • Climate, energy and emissions
  • Enhanced carbon sequestration
  • Environmental quality
  • Improved soil quality
  • Green space and habitat
  • Increased green space area
  • Increased number of species present
  • Enhanced support of pollination

Economic impacts

  • Increase of jobs

Socio-cultural impacts

  • Education
  • Increased support for education and scientific research
  • Increased awareness of NBS and their benefits

Type of reported impacts

Expected impacts, Achieved impacts

Presence of formal monitoring system

Yes

Presence of indicators used in reporting

Yes

Presence of monitoring/ evaluation reports

No evidence in public records

Availability of a web-based monitoring tool

No evidence in public records

References

Photo 2
https://www.armeniatree.org/en/village
Photo 3
https://www.armeniatree.org/en/village
Information about this nature-based solution was collected as part of the UNA global extension project funded by the British Academy.