Biodiversity of Mtirala National park
Mtirala National Park is rich in plants. The territory of the park is entirely covered with forests and shrubbery. Here is represented Colchis flora characteristic for Adjara, which is the remains of tropical flora of the Paleogene period in the territory of Georgia. Due to climate changes in Neogene period many tropical species became extinct, and the remaining species formed Colchis refugium, which is one of the main dignities of Mtirala National Park.
In the territory of Mtirala National Park there are 284 species of plants, among them 18 woody species, 21 bushes and 245 herbaceous species. Here are rare and endangered, relict and endemic plants. The last tow species give a particular originality to the territory – evergreen rhododendron ungernii and epigea, which are common only for Adjara and Turkey surrounding areas.
A lasting impression makes Mtirala National Park Colchis forest, which spreads from 15-25 m up to 1000-1200 m height above the sea level. In the lower part of the forest beech forest dominates, however, beech forest is changed by chestnut-beech and other woody deciduous species emerge on the arena: the Caucasian linden, alder and hornbeam. In individual units can be found: wingnutsPterocaryapterocarpa), walnut (Juglansregia), elm (Ulmusglabra), yew (Taxusbaccata), fig (Ficuscarica) and others.
Colchis forest gets its diversity from evergreen understory represented here: Pontic rhododendron, azalea, cherry laurel, Ilex and boxwood. These forests cover northern slopes of the mountains. And along the southern slopes there ais deciduous understory Colchis forest.
Thinned sections and meadows are filled with fruitful blackberry bushes and wood-like blueberry bushes. Riverside and its tributaries are surrounded by boxwoods (Buxuscolchica). Humid Colchis forests get more beautiful by the shadow amateur Ivy and lianas. And in riversidessmilax (Smilax excelsa) fills the green forest.
The part of Mtirala forest is the epiphyte ferns hang out on the moss-grown trees: Southern multilegged (Polypodiumserratum), hart’s-tongue fern (Phyllitisscolopendrium) and common polypody (Polypodiumvulgare). Small fern-hymenophyllus (Hymenophyllumthunbridgense) grow on cortex and moss-grown boulders.
In the outskirts Woronow snowdrop (Galanthusworonowii), Georgian iris (Iris lasica) and helebori (Helleboruscaucásica) can be found.
Chestnut forests occupy the middle part of the park, and the southern and south-eastern slopes are covered with Chorokhi and Q, hartwissiana oak groves, where also Sosnovski pine is mixed and forms coniferous-deciduous forest.
In Mtirala National Park on 1 hectare we can find about 35 special group of woody species – “rhododendron” forest, which cannot be found anywhere in the temperate zone of the earth. It represents: Pontic rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum), rhododendron ungernii (Rh. Ungernii), yellow azalea (Rh. Luteum), Ilex (Ilex colchica), cherry laurel (Laurocerasusofficinalis), Pontic oak (Quercusponticus),Colchisruscus (Ruscuscolchicus) and other Colchis type shrubbery and underwood independent community.
There are the following fungi in the park: diskomicetebisokoebi:Hignellumrubiginosa;Phellinustorulosus; Phlebiamerulioides; Bulgaria polymorpha. qudianisokoebi: Colibiadistorta; Dermocybecinnabarina; Inocibelacera; Lactariusresifluus; Lecinumscabrum; Tubariaminutalis; Xerocomusbadius.Fromgasteromycetes here can be found: stinky squid (Pseudocolusfusiformis); Scleroderma spadiceum, Xerocomusbadius
Species from the “Red List” of Georgia
Rare and endangered species from the “Red List” represented in the park are: Ponticoak (Quercuspontica), Medvedev’s birch (Betulamedwedewii), rhododendron ungernii (Rhododendron ungerni), boxwood (Buxuscolchica), epigea (Epigaeagaultheroides), yew (Taxusbaccata) and many other plants.
Relict and endemic species
In Mtirala National Park there are many relict and endemic species: among them 5 Caucasian, 1 Georgian, 3 Colchis and 3 Adjarian endemic plants. For example, such as: Adjara-Lazeti rarest sepciesepigea, azalea, cherry laurel, himenophylum, primrose (Primulamegasaefolia) and others.
Mtirala National Park is characterized by a wide variety of animal world, which is represented by 95 species. It should be noted that 23 species spread in the park are included in the “Red List” of Georgia, and 9 globally endangered species are included in IUCN “Red List”.
Deciduous forests are the best habitat for ungulates, predators and birds. From big mammals here are widespread: boar, roe and chamois. Predators are more than ungulates: foxes, Jackals, martens, Caucasian squirrels and others.
There are 6 species of amphibians in the park. In the protected areas there are rare, endemic and relict species, such as Caucasian salamander (Mertensiellacaucasica), Caucasian parsley frog (Pelodytescaucasicus), Aisa Minor frog (Ranamacronemis) and Caucasian toad (Bufoverrucosissimus). They live in humid forests, in the vicinity of rivers, springs, streams, in coniferous and sometimes deciduous forests of narrow gorges.
The animals included in the “Red List” are: brown bear, wolf, lynx and otter. Small mammals common in the park are: Southern horseshoe bat and European barbastelle.
While ornithofauna of the National Park is not yet fully researched, we can name some species of birds of prey inhabiting here: the great spotted eagle, booted eagle, saker falcon, kite, hawk and falcon. In the forest ecosystem are also found: the beautiful hoopoe, woodcock, several species of woodpeckers, cuckoos, blackbirds, jays, doves and others.
In the mountain rivers- in Chaqvistskali and Korolistkali and in other numerous little rivers inhabits river trout. In the fine sand and water- plant rich rivers Colchis barbell (Barbustauricusescheriche) can be found.
Special attention is paid to the diversity of colours of butterflies. Among them are globally endangered species: oleanders, Sphinx, scarlet tiger moth, Apollo.
In the forest soil Georgian and local endemic – Kintrishiearthworm (Allobophorakintrishiana) inhabits.
As for fungi here can be found discomycetes: Hignellumrubiginosa;Phellinustorulosus; Phlebiamerulioides; Bulgaria polymorpha. qudianisokoebi: Colibiadistorta; Dermocybecinnabarina; Inocibelacera; Lactariusresifluus; scaber stalk (Lecinumscabrum); Tubariaminutalis;.gasteromycetes: stinky squid (Pseudocolusfusiformis); Scleroderma spadiceum, bay bolete (Xerocomusbadius).
Species included in the “Red List” of Georgia
In the National Park there are 23 species of animals included in the “Red List” of Georgia, among them 9 species are named in IUCN “Red List”.
Here from the representatives of the “Red List” 6 species of mammals, 6 birds, 1 reptile, 1 amphobian, 1 fish, 7 insectsa and 1 species ring worm are spread. Among them most notable are: brown bear (Ursusarctos), wolf (Canis lupus), lynx (Lynx lynx) and otter (Lutralutra). From small mammals there are sothern horseshoe and European barbastelle.