Preserve Dighomi Forest
16 July 2019
Dighomi forest is located in Tbilisi, in the district of Dighomi.
Just a few decades ago (in the 1990s) its territory covered 75 hectares when for today it has been shrunk to 20.5 hectares.
The land has been sold, privatised and it is now owned by more than 50 people. Some of them have already asked the city hall to permit them to build on the forest’s territory that they own. But hopefully, at this moment the government will not consent, because the forest is in the recreational-landscape zone. The place where a huge restaurant (more than 4000 m2) is planned to be built, was also a part of that zone, but its status was changed in 2009 when an auto-salon was erected.
We demand that the restaurant should not be built in the forest. At the same time, the existing building must be completely demolished, and the territory should become a natural part of the forest again. This forest contributes to the biodiversity of Tbilisi by the number of species present; it also contains species that are under threat, primarily plants.
A month ago a group of friends who live in that district asked us to help them to fight for that public space. For that we, Young Greens with Vin’me and local residents conducted a protest action on the 13-14th of July. In the past Vin’me and Georgian Young Greens collaborated in holding Tbilisi Climate Strike and now we are fighting for Dighomi forest together.
On the 13th of July, we stayed in tents for a night and occupied the public space. Next day, we had a demonstration and planned activities related to public spaces like children’s entertainment, sports games, etc.
The main point of this action is to protect the already shrunk areas of public and green zones in Tbilisi. Our goal is to develop a discourse that public properties should not be privatised. A small number of rich people should not own our spaces and act according to their business interests, even demolish and commercialise. We strongly believe that maintaining such zones in Tbilisi will ensure the protection of the ecological and social functions of the forest.
We hope that we will win against private business interests and protect our public space, one of the few remaining small forests in Tbilisi. Moreover, we hope that our resistance inspires other environmental actions nationwide as well as in the entire region.