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Премия рунета 2017

More about the ecoregion

Why the Caucasus?

The Caucasus was destined to play an exceptional role even at the initial stage of the formation of environmental protection management of our country. Just so, in 1888, the Grand Ducal Kuban hunting land was organized here, at its base — a game reserve, which became a kind of a prototype of the territorial wild nature protection of Russia at the state level. The creation of the Kuban hunting land allowed the postponing of the Caucasian bison extermination by 20 years. It is this territory that in the period of Soviet Russia would be included in the make-up of the Caucasian reserve in 1924.

On the 2nd of October, 1917, the famous Russian geographer v. P. Semenov-Tian-Shansky has submitted to the Permanent Environmental Commission of the Russian Geographical Society the first draft of a geographic network of reserves, with a mandatory in such cases map entitled «About the types of areas in which it is necessary to establish reserves similar to the American national parks». It is this document that formed the basis of the national system of state reserves for many years to come. In the Caucasus (in the current Russian part), in addition to the Caucasian Reserve v. P. Semenov-Tian-Shansky believed it necessary to create similar protected areas in Dagestan (the future Dagestan Reserve) and the so-called «Black Sea Park» for the conservation of Colchian vegetation (this is mainly the territory of the present Sochi National Park and Imereti Lowland).

© WWF Russia / Sergey Trepet

The global environmental value of the Caucasus has been confirmed in 1998, when the work of D. Olson and E. Dinerstain «The Global 200: A Representation Approach to Conserving the Earth’s Most Biologically Valuable Ecoregions» was published. This work has identified more than 200 ecoregions of the Earth, which preserved the most valuable habitats of key species of animals and plants within their limits. In 2000, the journal Nature published an article by D. Myers et al. «Biodiversity Hotspots for Conservation Priorities», in which ecoregions with the highest level of biodiversity and endemism were identified. It became apparent that there are only 25 such hot spots of biodiversity on our planet, and the Caucasus is among them.

Facts and figures of Caucasus ecoregion

The Caucasus is a habitat for: more than 6,000 plant species, fungi and lichens; 2,500 insect species; 130 fish species; 17 amphibian species; 87 reptile species; 380 bird species; and 150 mammal species. More than 25% of this variety lives only in this region.