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Georgia - Main Details

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Status and Trends of Biodiversity


Georgia, as part of the Caucasus Ecoregion, is considered one of the 25 globally significant ‘biodiversity hotspots’, based on the species richness and the significant level of endemism recorded. The Caucasus Region is registered as one of the WWF Global 200 Ecoregions.

Georgia is located on the southern slopes of the Great Caucasus Mountain Range. Georgia covers a total land area of 69,500km2. From sea level at the coast of the Black Sea, the land reaches to approximately 5,184m above sea level in the Caucasus region (Mount Shkhara). Two thirds of the country is mountainous with an average height of 1,200m above sea level.

Georgia has a diverse landscape with the following major biomes identified: forest, flood plane forest, semi-desert, steppe, arid light woodland and hemi-xerophytes scrub, sub-alpine, alpine zone, subnival, wetlands. Within these biomes, the diversity of habitat types is also remarkable. The Kolkheti forest refugium, as well as the limestone and high mountain vegetation complexes, are all ecologically and biogeographically distinct and especially noteworthy in terms of species composition.

4,100 species of vascular plants have been recorded in Georgia, among which 300 species are endemic to the country, and 600 species are endemic to the Caucus region. Georgia’s flora also includes 16 genera endemic or sub-endemic to the country. The diversity of faunal species is as follows: over 11,100 species of invertebrates, 84 species of freshwater fish, 12 species of amphibians, 52 species of reptiles, 300 species of birds, and 109 species of mammals. According to IUCN categories and criteria, Georgia has 135 animal species and 4 animal subspecies included on their Red List. Only 56 woody plant species are listed on the Red List. Grassy plants are being assessed according to the IUCN categories and criteria.

Number and Extent of Protected Areas

Georgia’s protected areas system covers a total of 467,329ha of national territory and is split among the following types: 18 Nature Reserves (171,727ha), 5 National Parks (211,067ha), 3 Natural Monuments (239ha), 11 Managed Reserved (56,393ha) and 1 protected Landscape (27,903ha).

Percentage of Forest Cover

40% of the country’s territory.

National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan

Major features of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan was approved by Government decree #27 on 19 February 2005. The document analyses the country’s biodiversity issues and identifies problems. It outlines a 10-year national strategy for the conservation of the country’s unique biodiversity, supported by a 5-year plan for specific activities required to achieve the objectives of the strategy.

The following strategic goals are given in the NBSAP: (a): to develop a protected areas system to ensure conservation and sustainable use of biological resources; (b) to maintain and restore Georgia’s habitats, species and genetic diversity through in-situ, ex-situ and inter-situ conservation measures, and through sustainable use of biological resources; (c) to conserve Georgian agro-biodiversity by ensuring its sustainable use and by promoting ex-situ and in-situ conservation measures; (d) to promote sustainable hunting and fishing through adequate planning, restoration and protection of key biological resources; (e) to develop a biodiversity monitoring system and an active and integrated biodiversity database to ensure sustainable use and conservation of biological resources; (f) to protect both the human population and biodiversity from potential threats from genetically modified organisms (biotechnology), by strengthening legislation and through increasing public involvement in the decision making process; (g) to raise public awareness of biodiversity issues and to encourage public participation in the decision making process; (h) to ensure appropriate financial and economic programmes are in place in order to support effective conservation of biodiversity, and to ensure the delivery of the BSAP; (i) to further improve national legislation (and associated institutions) relating to biodiversity conservation, through the creation of new, and elaboration of existing laws and regulations, and through ensuring harmonization of international legal responsibilities; (j) to conserve forest biodiversity through sustainable forest management.

Implementation of the Convention

Measures Taken to Achieve the 2010 Target

In May 2006, an international conference was held in Gudauri, Georgia, aiming to identify the urgent actions needed for the conservation of Caucasian biodiversity. Participants from all countries of the Caucasus Region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Russia) were represented at the conference. During the conference, 18 new partner organisations joined the pan-European alliance “Countdown 2010.” More than sixty experts from four Caucasian countries, international NGOs and other organisations adopted the “Message from Gudaur,” an appeal for immediate action to manage natural resource use, improve regional networks of protected areas and monitor biodiversity. The priority areas for immediate action to be undertaken until 2010 have been identified, and relevant recommendations have been elaborated.

WWF Caucasus has initiated the establishment of a regional biodiversity-monitoring network. The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Georgia, NGOs and independent experts working in the biodiversity conservation field are involved in the working process.

Initiatives in Protected Areas

Since 1990, with the support of the international donor community, Georgia has begun to develop a more modern protected areas system. A legal base has been established that continues upgrading day-by-day. Steps have been taken to increase management efficiency in the protected areas system and to ensure financial sustainability. During the last two years the state substantially increased financing for protected areas; however, there still remains much to be done. New protected areas need to be created in regions where there are none, and corridors need to be created between existing protected areas. Several new protected areas are in the process of establishment including: areas in the Central Caucasus, Javakheti National Park in Southern Georgia and Tbilisi National Park (24 024 ha), close to the country’s capital. An important achievement was the establishment of the Caucasian Protected Areas Foundation at the Ministerial Conference in Berlin (9-11 March 2006). This trust foundation ensures long-term support to prioritized protected areas.

Of special note is the development of the “Protected Areas Programme 2012” prepared by the World Wildlife Foundation – International. The aim of this programme is to facilitate the implementation of the CBD’s Programme of Work on Protected Areas in five model eco-regions, including the Caucasus. The programme will greatly contribute to further development of the Georgian protected areas.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme