The Center for Ecological-Noosphere Studies is a state non-profit organization founded in 1989 and getting an independent balance in 1993 as a principal research organization engaged in fundamental and applied studies in the area of ecology and environmental protection.
Presently, the Ecocenter is implementing 4 budget-supported research programs and numbers 73 employees, 42 of them being researchers (3 DSc and 18 PhD).
Main Fields of Activity
Multidisciplinary investigations performed in the Ecocenter are oriented to the complex assessment of ecological state of territories and development of scientific-and-methodical fundamentals of ecological expertise and optimization of natural resource management processes. The structure of the Ecocenter includes a number of problem-oriented lab departments and research teams dealing with:
- environmental geochemistry,
- biogeochemical cycles,
- bioenergy, fodder resources
- assessment and mapping of landscapes and natural resources using GIS and remote sensing technologies,
- computer technologies and databases in the field of environmental protection,
- food chain risk assessment.
The Ecocenter`s laboratories provide atomic-absorption, mass-spectrometric-gas-chromatographic, X-ray - fluorescent, spectro-photometric, radiometric, colorimetric, chemical, etc. methods of analysis.
Beside a basic theme "Problems of geoecological and ecological safety of the environment" and a target theme "Development of scientific and methodic fundamentals for a purpose of assuring safety of food quality and safety" the Ecocenter has implements a set of large-scale contract-based works:
1. Contract-based works
"A territorial complex scheme of Yerevan nature conservation", "Geochemical properties of natural and anthropogenic landscapes in Armenia" (Chapter "Complex territorial scheme of nature conservation in Armenia), development of nature conservation actions (chapters "Nature conservation") in General Urban Development Plans for Yerevan, Kamo, Aruch cities (an international project), "Cadaster of natural monuments of Armenia", dendroprojects on tree planting in the earthquake zone of Spitak and Vanadzor (former Kirovakan) cities, "The characteristic of ecological state of Abovian City", "The assessment of the state of green plantations for Etchmiadzin City", "Development of the map of Yerevan’s ambient air pollution from permanent sources", "The assessment of ecological state of soils of Armavir marz", "The assessment of ecological state of the territory of the city of Kajaran", "Studying environmental impact of tailing repository of the Zanagezour set of enterprises", "Studying iodine transfer in grapevine and wine", "Studying and testing a new complex fertilizer Tseocarbofos-1", "Visual surveys of the territory, mapping and taking photos of a tyre manufacturing plant territory pollution", "Ecological monitoring and assessing environmental impact of treatment process of a "Melange"-type component of rocket fuel and application of the obtained nitric product as fertilizer"; Development of a target tree planting program for Yerevan, "Studying atmospheric pollution of the city of Kajaran", "Assessing environmental impact of tailing storage sites from mining and dressing production and activities of the Kapan copper enterprise on the territory of the city of Kapan (Syunik marz)", "Assessing ecological risk of Sotk mine and adjacent areas", "Collecting and studying seeds of Litospermum arvense L.", "Assessing a risk of toxic element release from a As-containing substances in the city of Alaverdi", "Assessing a risk of pollutant release from a pesticide repository (Nubarashen)", "Peculiarities of heavy metal pollution of waters and silts of collectors of a drainage network of the Ararat Valley", "Contouring out the soil layer of a territory adjacent to the pesticide burial site of Nubarashen ", "Competitiveness and management of the communities’ agricultural resources", Determining heavy metals, pesticides and radionuclides in fish, fodder and in the water of fish breeding farms", "Services in foodstuff experise", "Lab services covering food of animal origin imported to the RA"and so on.
2. Ecologically oriented technologies
Based on natural sorbents, a number of cost-effective soil detoxification methods have been developed.
The Ecocenter made developments in geochemical methods of ore deposit forecasting as the most environment-friendly technology in the area of geo-prospecting. We have experience and good results in discovering blind ore bodies on the flanges and deep horizons of gold, copper, polymetallic and other ore deposits.
The Ecocenter widely applies computer technologies. In particular, special programs on atmosphere pollution distribution modeling, eco-geochemical mapping, geochemical methods of ore formation forecasting have been developed.
The researchers actively participate in international scientific meeting; lastely they have submitted a number of papers to different forums. In 2001 a NFSAT/CRDF grant was awarded to the project "Wood biomass of fast growing poplar plantations as an alternative source of energy" (Armenian Engineers and Scientists of America Ltd. Company, California, the USA).
Since 2001 the Ecocenter has been collaborating with ADAS Nutritional Sciences Research Unit and the Reading University (the UK): in 2002 a NATO Expert Visit Grant was awarded to the project "Quality assessment of some non-traditional fodder plants in Armenia", in 2002-2003 the British Council awarded a grant to the project "Assessment of forage resources of Armenia".
In cooperation with the American Society of Armenian Scientists and Engineers, a project "Energetic forests of Armenia" was developed.
In cooperation with Danish Technological Institute, investigations of lead contents in gasoline were conducted.
In 2001 in cooperation with the WS Atkins Environment Firm (the UK) the Ecocenter was engaged in the Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Authority’s project "Mapping and GIS of radioactive pollution in case of emergency on NPP site".
In 2002 in the framework of the NATO "Science for Peace" program a grant was awarded for performing a regional project "The South Caucasus River Monitoring (2002-2008)" which was supported by the OSCE, too (participating countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the USA, Belgium, Norway).
In 2002, a NFSAT/CRDF grant was awarded to the project "Paleoecology and paleoradioecology of Lake Sevan (Armenia)" (2002-2004) (Florida and Louisiana Universities, the USA).
In 2002 in the frame of International Risk Assessment Network the Ecocenter held an international workshop "Ecotoxicological risk assessment of environmental pollution in the Caucasus" supported by a NFSAT grant (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, RF, USA, Holland).
In 2003 the JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship Foundation awarded a grant to the Ecocenter on the topic "Using insects of the Ararat Valley in bioindication" (Hokkaido University, Japan).
In 2003 the Ecocenter started implementing a UNESCO/MAB project "Identifying priority territories for creation of biosphere reserves, creation of databases, development of GIS, and preparation of project documents for the South Caucasian countries" (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia).
In 2005 a program "Organization of ecological courses in the frame of sustainable development of Armenia" was performed based on a grant of the Armenian National Committee of UNESCO; courses were organized on a topic "Life safety".
In 2006 a regional project "Assessing Rivers Kura-Araks radioactivity" was developed through a grant from the UNESCO Office in Moscow (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan).
In 2006 a Marie Curie RTN: FP6 – 035805, Mobility-1 a research and training grant "The re-invention of sainfoin: an example of a novel resource of sustainable agriculture" was awarded (2006-2009).
In 2007, a project "The program of water resources of the South Caucasus" was performed through a USAID grant.
In 2010 through a grant awarded by OSCE Office in Yerevan implemented was a program "Assessing a risk of heavy metal pollution of farm produce of RA".
In 2011 a grant was awarded by the Swiss National Science Foundation to implement a program "Deploying Armenian distributed processing capacities for environmental GEOspatial data (ARPEGEO" (2011-2013).
In 2011 a grant was awarded to implement a EU FP7 program " Capacity building of the Center for Ecological-Noosphere Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia: Towards Armenia’s integration into the ERA" is implemented (2011-2014),
As experts the Ecocenter’s researchers take part in execution of CRDF, INTAS, NFSAT, IAEA, REC programs and are involved in a number of UN programs, as well.
The Center for Ecological-Noosphere Studies is recognized worldwide. In particular, relevant information is included in Directory of Ecology and Conservation in Russia/CIS (Edinburgh, 1998), "The World of Learning" 1997, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2011, 2012 (London, UK), European Directory of Environment and Health Organization (UNED-UK 1999), The Environment Encyclopedia and Directory 2001, 2009 (London, UK), Directory "Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia" 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013 (London, UK).
In 1993 a republic conference "Fundamental problems of planting trees and gardens in urban areas" was held to develop a tree-planting strategy for deforested sites.
In 1996 a republic scientific conference "Environmental contamination with heavy metals" was organized and held.
In 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 youth conferences "Future of ecological science in Armenia" were organized and abstract books published.
In 2005 in cooperation with Tbilisi State University (Georgia) an international conference "Issues of river monitoring and ecological safety of the South Caucasus" was held.
In 2007 under support of the OSCE Office in Yerevan and the UNESCO Office in Moscow an international youth scientific conference "Mountain areas-ecological problems of cities" was held.
In 2010, between 5 and 8 March under support of State Committee MES RA etc. the Center for Ecological-Noosphere Studies NAS for the first time organized and held "Yerevan-Science Festival 2010".
In 2011 by the proposal of the Ministry of Universities and Research of Italy a summer school "Capacity building in food safety" was held, the UNESCO chair "Education for Sustainable Development" of the Ecocenter held a practical seminar "Business and development of scientific projects", in the frame of a UNESCO Program "International year of chemistry-2011" an experimental course "Water as chemical solution" was delivered in the RA schools. In 2012 under support of State Committee for Science, Ministry of Science and Education and the Youth Foundation of Armenia, a summer school "Fundamentals of management and decision making" was held; in the frames of an Armenian- Swiss project "ARPEGEO" a workshop was held on a topic "Exchanging ecologically significant information, accepting international standards for the benefit of the scientific community of Armenia "; a start-up meeting under a EC FP7 project "EU cooperation capacity building of Center for Ecological-Noosphere Studies of National Academy of Sciences of Armenia: Towards Armenia’s integration into ERA" was organized.
Between 1989 and 2012 over 573 scientific papers including 10 monographs and 14 collections of transactions were published by the Ecocenter`s researchers. In 1997 the first Ecological Explanatory Dictionary in the Armenian language was published containing some 2500 terms and their English and Russian equivalents. In 2001, the second edition of the Ecological Explanatory Dictionary was issued. In 2008 was published a book "Ecologo-geochemical assessment of environmental cities", in 2012 a manual "Applied geochemistry".
Scientific and educational activities
In 2010, chair of MA courses of the International Scientific and Educational Center NAS RA on a specialty "Nature use and nature protection" and International Chair of UNESCO "Education for Sustainable Development" was established in the Ecocenter.