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Three Alazani Rivers Biosphere Reserve, Georgia

The biosphere reserve encompasses the catchment areas of the Alazani River and its two tributaries, containing a mosaic of alpine and floodplain forests, as well as alpine meadows. It features several emblematic species, such as black bears, grey wolves and lynxes, as well as red-listed flora with relics of yew forests. The more populated southern part of the biosphere reserve features numerous historical and archaeological sites and forests, which play an important role in local religious life, as many are regarded as sacred. While agriculture is the main activity in the area, local communities have developed the unique sopel-bosloba system, which enables cultivation in mountainous areas. The biosphere reserve aims to support and revitalize transhumant livestock husbandry, including the local Tushetian breed of sheep, and promote tourism to local wineries.

Designation date: 2022

Networks

Regional network:  EuroMAB

Ecosystem-based network:

  

    Description

    Map

    Surface : 199,944 ha

    • Core area(s): 27,661 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 75,449 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 96,834 ha

    Location: 
    Latitude: 42° 26' 50.93"
    Longitude:  45° 46' 51.36"

    Ecological Characteristics

    The vegetation of the forest is represented mainly by deciduous forest (broad-leaved trees) and conifers are also found in relatively small areas. Significant areas are covered by beech forest (Fagus orientalis). In the northern part of the BR, the main forest species are pine (Pinus Kochiana), Litwinowii birch (Betula Litwinowii), birch (Betula raddeana), asp (Populus tremula) and other species such as alder (Alnus barbata and Alnus incana)and lime (Tilia cordata. More than 1,000 species of vascular plants are recorded in the highlands of the biosphere reserve. One-fourth of Georgian flora and one-sixth of Caucasus plant species are represented here. There are more than 220 vascular plant species at the Babaneuri Strict Nature Reserve and up to 670 species at the Batsara Strict Nature Reserve and the Ilto Habitat/Species Management Area from which about 50 species are endemic to the Caucasus.

     

    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    The main economic activity in the Three Alazani Rivers Biosphere Reserve area is the agriculture. The very special field of agricultural activities is pastoralism, specifically transhumance. The main summer pastures can be found in Tusheti, Samtskhe-Javakheti and Mtskheta-Mtianeti. The main winter pastures are located in Kakheti and a few in Kvemo Kartli. Some sheep farmers are also located in western Georgia. The transhumant system is strongly based on Tushuri sheep which are adapted to travel long distances. 

     

     

     

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    Last updated: October 2022