Refugial Forests of the Western Lesser Caucasus

Levan Mumladze

The Western Lesser Caucasus has extraordinarily high proportion of relic species. Forests here survived the Pliocene and Ice Age. Many species descend from taxa that are extinct elsewhere, yet these forests are under extreme pressure. Despite logging regulations, little attention is paid to the old-grown forests important for biodiversity maintenance. The project is aimed to map the most important plots (using GIS analysis of relic species habitats) to attract public attention to the refugial plots. We plan to increase campaign advertising on the complexity of this local endemic species. The expected output is to improve both conservation priorities as well as public opinion towards the problems of regional biodiversity.