Main threats to mountain biodiversity in Georgia (2009)

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The territory of modern-day Georgia has been continuously inhabited since the early Stone Age and affected by human communities for tens of thousands of years. On average, nearly half of the land in the region is already transformed by human activities. Nevertheless, several pristine areas remain in the hotspot, mostly in remote high-altitude areas and inaccessible gorges. About 12 percent of the original vegetation is considered pristine. Most of the hotspot's intact ecosystems are concentrated in high mountain sites, while the plains and the foothills have suffered the most habitat loss. Therefore, urgent steps should be undertaken to protect remaining biodiversity in the area.

The two main problems threatening Georgia’s mountain biodiversity in the modern age are anthropogenic impact and global climate change. Traditional agriculture in Georgia in the past was sustainable and did not seriously threaten biodiversity in Georgia. The main impact was generated in the Soviet period, when Georgian agriculture supplied by-products such as wine, vegetables, wool and cheese to Russia and other Soviet republics. This caused an increase in sheep and cattle herds up to several million heads on the relatively small territory of the country. While still shepherded in the traditional way, the herds became so large and rotations became too short, so that they threatened many high mountain pastures and caused soil erosion. This problem reduced after the disintegration of the USSR in the early 1990s, when Georgia became responsible mainly for production of agricultural products for its own market.
Year: 2009
Language: English
In: Mountain Forum Bulletin, Vol IX, Issue 2, July 2009,

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 Record created 2011-12-21, last modified 2013-01-17