Biodiversity of Batsara-Babaneuri protected areas
Biodiversity of Batsara-Babaneuri protected areas is unique with its flora. 733 species of the highest plants are recorded here – 41 fernies, 1 gymnosperm and 1 691 floral (134 species of monocotyledons and 557 species of dicotyledonous).
Batsara Reserve is known with unique yews, while Babaneuri Reserve with – Zelkova extensive groves. Batsara and Babaneuri ecosystems are important place for conservation, they are of natural origin and covers a large area, which is a rare example of the world’s ecosystem.
In Babaneuri State Reserve 28.2% of the area is covered with Zelkva groves, 8% with Georgian oak forest, 43.4% -hornbeams, 12.8% - beech trees. Remaining 7.8% is covered with floodplain forests and shrubs.
Batsara-Babaneuriecosysytem, which is rich in flora, is the living environement of many animals and birds. There are lots of animals and birds in these territories.
Plants in Batsara-Babaneuri Protected area are represented in a variety of species. In the forests mostly are found: beech, chestnut, hornbeam, alder, Georgian oak, elm and maple, lime, yew, zelkova, wingnut, grove oak and other species.
68% of Batsara State Reserve is covered with beech forests, 12.1%-hornbeams, 4.6%-chestnuts, the forest dominated by yew- 7.8%. Grove forests and shrubs totally cover 9.1%. From shrub species we can found: nuts, red and black hawthorn, swida and others.
Besides the beautiful ecosystem of yew, unimpaired alder and beech trees are represented in Batsara Reserve. At the outfall of the river Batsara there are beautiful groves of high field maple. Tertiary Caucasian-Iranian endmic, dendroflora relict- Zelkova grove covers 750 hectares of the area. Ilto gorge is distinguished with well-reserved beech forests.
The shadow of reserve forest is created by: hornbeam, maple, lime, Georgian oak and some other species of trees.
The species represented in understory are: Cornel, common nut, red hawthorn and lonicera.
Plants from the “Red List” of Georgia
In Batsara-Babaneuri Protected area 9 species of plants from the “Red List” of Georgia are spread: Colchis boxwood (BuxuscolchicaPojark), chestnut (Castanea sativa Mil), walnut (Juglansregia L), wingnuts (Pterocaryapterocarpa (Michx) Kunth), floodplain oak (Quercuspedunculiflora C. Kock), wych elm (UlmusglabraHuds), common elm (Ulmus minor Mill), Zelkova (Zelkovacarpinifolia Pall) and yew (Taxusbaccata L).
Endemics and relicts
In Batsara and Babanauri protected areas there are Caucasian-Iranian dendrflora relicts from Tertiary period – yew (Taxusbaccata) and Zelkova (Zelcovacaprinifolia) groves. Totally 83 Caucasian endemic plants are detected, 2 of them are ferny and others floral. (there are PAstukhov ivy (Hederapastuchowii),(Ranunculus caucasicum), (Drabahispida).
In Batsara and Ilto Protected areas there are medium-sized and large mammals: roe deer, chmois, boar, brown bear, wolf, lynx, kackal, fox, badger, stone marten, wild cat and orhers. Last year sevral individuals of deer appeared in Ilto Managed Reserve. Also there are the Causasian squirrel and radde’s shrew (Sorexraddei).
In the protected area about 60 ornithofaunarepresenatatives are observed. From the registered species Batsara-Babaneuri and Ilto inhabitants are: Wood pigeon, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Raven, Goldfinch, several species of woodpeckers and many species of small birds.
It is notable the variety of birds of prey in the protected areas. Here can be found: Bearded vulture, Gyps, Vulture, Kestrel, Hawk, Falcon, Golden Eagle and others.
There are 7 species of amphibians, including: Colchis Toad, Common tree-frog, Green Toad, Asia-Minor frog and others.
There are 14 species of reptiles. including three endemic species of lizards- The Caucasian Lizard, Meadow Lizard and Artvin, also ocuurs Mediterranean Toroise. Other notable species of reptiles is the Caucasian Viper. In the rivers Batsara and Ilto (and their influents) trout is common.
Animals from the “Red List” of Georgia
From rare and endangered species in Batsata-Babaneuri Protected areas there are: the Caucasian squirrel, Brown bear, Otter (Lutralutra), Lynx and others.
Rare birds living here are globally impiortant species: the Golden Eagle (Aqulacrysaetos), Egyptian vulture (Neophronperncopterus), cinereous vulture (Aegypiusmonachus), Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus), Boreal owl (Aegoliusfunereus), Barn owl (Tyto alba) and black stork (Ciconianigra).
There are 11 species of the Caucasian small endemic mammals in Batsara-Babaneuri territories, including Radde’s shrew (Sorexraddei), Black rat (Rattusrattus), Mehely’s horseshoe bat (Rhinolophusmehelyi), Leisler’s bat (Nyctalusleisleri) and others.
There are 5 species of endemic reptiles: Mediterranean tortoise ((Testudogreaca), Meadow lizard (Darevskiapraticola), Pond turtle (Emys orbicularis), Striped lizard (Lacertastrigata) and ViperaDinikii (ViperaDinikii).
From birds the Caucasian chiffchaff (Phylloscopuslorenzii) is notable.