Biodiversity of Lagodekhi Protected Areas
One of the most important biodiverse places in Georgia and the entire Caucasian region is Lagodekhi Protected area.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) identified it as –
- One of the global eco-regions of special importance (The Caucasus mixed forest eco-region)
- Key ornithological area ((Important Bird Area (GE024);
- Conservation International – Biodiversity hotspot.
Lagodekhi Protected Area are also recognized as a potential candidate of the “Emerald Network” and within the framework of EU-Georgia Association Agreemtent – qualifies for Natura 2000.
There are 1,100 species of plants in Lagodekhi Protected Areea. Dendroflora is represented by abpit 130 species.
Forest zone is characterized by a great biodiversity, vertical zoning and alternation of habitats. In the lower zone of the forest there are: hornbeam, oak, oak-hornbeam and hornbeam-beech forests. From 850 m to 1700 m above the sea level there are beech forests, though here are mizxed: hornbeam, Georgian oak, ash-tree, lime and others. Above 1,800 m there are sub-alpine forest zones, where together with beech, the Caucasian oak and maple, Litwinow and white birch can be found. About at 2300 meters above the sea level the forest line ends with birch forest. Evergreen rhododendron bushes are spread in Lagodekhi until 2700 meters. In flood plains and near the river banks, in alluvial terraces alders can be found in sections.
From the “Red List” of Georgia 15 species of plants are represented in Lagidekhi Protected Areas, Among them: oak, chestnut, Caucasian oak, wingnut, Caucasian persimmon and others.
Relict and endemic plants: 121 specis of flora of Lagodekhi are Cauacasian, and 9 species Georgian endemics. From the latter 7 species are Kakhetian, in particular protected area small endemics, among them should be noted:Gymnospermiumsmirnowii(Gymnospermiumsmirnowii), capers (Staphyleapinata), Lagodekhi gentian (Gentianalagodechiana), Cuacasianpeony (Paeoniamlokosewitschii), Lagodekhipeony (Paeonialagodechiana), snowdrop (Galanthuslagodekhianus) and others.
In Lagodekhi Protected Areas deiverse fauna is represented, here are 126 species of animals, 4-fish, 5-amphibians, 12-reptiles, 150 – birds and 53 species of mammals.
Lagodekhi Reserve is recognized as a particularly important place for amphibians. Lagodekhi Protected Area is rich in invertebrate fauna.
Lagodekhi Reserve and Managde Reserve are very rich in birds of prey. Here inhabit lammergreyer or bearded vulture, Golden eagle, falcon, mountain and steppe eagle, Imperial eagle.
From mammals a small roe related to deer are abundant in Lagodekhi deciduous forests. And in groves there are many boars. From predators we can meet a wolf and a brown bear. The number of ungualtes is the quarantee of wellbeing for these predators. Other predators common in Lagodekhi are: fox, lunx, forest and rock marten and wild cat.
Lagodekhi Reserve ornythofauna is quite diverse. Mountain eagles, lammergreyers and gyps inhabit alpine pastures. There are many kestrels and buzzards; also severa species of owl. In Lagodekhimountains near snowcocks lives a grouses. Here you can see groups of rock partridges, woodpeckers, tiny rosefinches and ring ouzels. A long beaked and very nice red winged wallcreeper spends a warm season in the mountain and only in winter they go down to the plain. Golden orioles, water trushes, tits, wrens, chaffinches, cuckoos and woodpeckers are also the habitats of Lagodekhi forest.
Mammals included in the “Red List” of Georgia are: chamois, East Caucasian tur, red deer, lynx, wolf and brown bear. From birds there are the Caucasian grouse, the Caucasian Snowcock and others. It should be noted, that 40% of mammals common in Georgia inhabit in Lagodekhi Managed Reserve.
Endemic species: It is notable that in Lagodekhi Protected Areas inhabits globally endangered species of amphibian – Common Tree.
From the Caucasian species there are the Caucasian Parsley Frog. From birds the Caucasian grouse, Snowcock and chiffchaff.
From local endemic the remarkable species is – Lagodekhi worm.
Nowadays in the Protected Areas there are 230 species of macromycetes fungi, many of which are representative of Agaricales (139), 23 species among them are seen in lagodekhi Reserve. Cantharelluscaucasicus species in the territoery of Georgia is met only in Lagodekhi Reserve. From duscomycetes fungi –there is Pezizacyathoidea, and from polyporaceae there are: Abortiporusbiennis, Cantharelluscaucasicus, Ceraporiagilvescens, Chaetoporuseuporus, Radulumfagicola, Trametesaneirinus and others.
From capped fungi there are: Amanita ovoidea, Collydiacirrhuta, Gymnopiluspenetrans, Hebelomasachariolens and others. Especially often are found: penny bun (Boletus edulis),chanterelle (Cantharellussibarius), oyster mushroom (Pleurotusostreatus), Lepistasordida, horse mushroom (Agaricusarvensis), scarlet cap (Sarcoscifacoccinea) and others.