Biodiversity of Protected Areas in the occupied territories of Georgia


Ritsa Reserve


Abkhazia flora is distinguished by particular diversity more than 2000 plants are represented in this territory, among them 800 species are found in Ritsa Reserve. The biodiversity represented in this territory comprises 20% of indigenous flors and 13 % of the Caucasian flora. 14 922 (91%)  ofRitsa Reserve is covered by forest, 120 species of trees and bushed grow here. 70% of the entire area of the Reserve holds the Cuacasian fir-tree (Abiesnordmanniana), beech groves - 22%, and the rest of the wood is represented by: oak, pine, fir, hornbeam, maple, birch and lime-tree forests. Colchis boxwood grove is spread on about 590 hectares in the Reserve. 26 % of forests in the Reserve is represented in intact form.

Plants from the “Red List” of Georgia

Form rare  and endangered plants quite a large area of Colchis boxwood (Buxuscolchica) is remarkable; Also here can be found yew, Colchis capers, the usual chestnut, nuts and others.

Endemic plants

Most of the plants represented in the Reserve are Georgian and the Caucasian endemics, among them: Colchic boxwood, the Caucasian cranberries, Imeretian buckthorns, Colchis sorbus, Colchis ivy, Colchis capers, Imeretian buckthorns, Oriental beech, Caucasian fir an others.


There are many mammals in Ritsa Reserve, such as: brown bera, lynx, wolf, fox and roe. During winter many inhabitants of high mountians visit the Reserve in search of food: West Caucasian tur and chamois. Here also can be found: hedgehog, mole, the Caucasian squirrel and a small predator weasel. Marten and badgers also inhabit the reserve.  

From 69 species of nesting birds in Ritsa territory, 37 belong to sparrow family. In the riversides there are wagtails and blackbirds. In the surrounding of Lake Ritsa there are 8 species of birds of prey, among them modt often there can be found: falcon, hawk, buzzard and kestrel. In the forest there are night predators: horned owls, forest owls and long-eared owl. You can also find different species of woodpeckers in the reserve.

The rivers of the reserve and Lake Ritsa itself are rich in trout  (Salmofariotrutta). In a little Lake Ritsa there is no any fish.

From amhibians there are: common and Asia Minor newt, common toad, tree frog, lake and Asia Minor frogs.

From reptiles tere are Caucasian, Artvin and rock lizards, water snakes, smoothesnakes,Aesculapian snake and others.

The species from the “Red List” of Georgia are: red deer (Cervuselaphus), brown bear (Ursusarctos), West Caucasian tur  (Capra caucasica) and chamois (Rupicaprarupicapra). The reserve is the nesting place of such rare and interesting birds as: golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetus) and the Caucasian grouse (Tetraomlokosiewiczi).From reptiles here can be found rare and endangered Caucasian viper (Viperakaznakovi). Rivers and Lake Ritsa itself is rich in trout (Salmofariotrutta).

In Ritsa Reserve there are about 40 species of Georgian and Caucasian mammals: West Caucasian tur (Capra caucasica), Prometheus vole (Prometheomysschaposchnikowi), East European hedgehog (Erinaceusconcolor), Cuacasian mole (Talpacaucasica Sat.), Radde’s shrew (Sorexreddei Sat), white-toothed shrew  Crociduragueldenstaedti Pall.) and others.

Also there are the Caucasian endemics: Caucasian Parsley frog (Pelodytescaucasicus) and Asia Minor Newt (Triturusvittatus).


Liakhvi Reserve


In Liakhvi Reserve mountain and high mountain plants characteristic for East Caucasus southern slopes are preserved: In the upper zone of the forest there are beech forests and in the lower zone –Georgian oak forests. In subalpine forests – Litvinov’s birch (Betulalitwinowii) dominates, andhigher there are high mountain maple trees and subalpine bushes, mostly rhododendrons.

Compared to  the big Liakhvi basin, in small Liakhvi valley fir trees are spread in a small territory. The main subalpine species are: ragwort, devil’s helmet, oriental aconite, large campanula, lovage and others.

Species from the “Red List” of Georgia – the information about rare and endangered species is very poor. Here can be found yew  (Taxusbaccata) and azarole.


Common mammals in thias area are: rabbits, foxes, wolves, rock and forest martens, weasels. The real king of Liakhvi Reserve is brown bear (Ursusarctos), whose traces can be found everywhere in the forests and in alpine pastures. Here are alos boar (Susscrofa) and roe (Capreoluscapreolus). And in Alpine pastures there are rare and endangered chamois (Rupicaprarupicapra).

Small Liakhviornithofauna is very rich. In the reserve rare golden eagle  (Aquila chrysaetos) nests. Other predators found in the valley are: buzzard, hawk, falcon, kestrel, nocturnal predators: forest owl, little owl, and horned owl. In the forests of small Liakhvi there are several species of woodpeckers, in the riversides blackbirds and wagtails can be found. The representatives of Reserve ornithofauna are: swallow, goldfinch, wren, blackbird, raven, white-hearted trush and many other small or large birds. 

Species from the “Red List’ of Georgia

From rare and endamgered species 17 species of animals inhabit here. From mammals there are: brown bear (Ursusarctos), chamois (Rupicaprarupicapra), lynx (Lynx lynx) and red deer  (Cervuselaphus).

From birds here cnabe found such species as: bearded vulture, golden eagle, vulture, black-eyed falcon, peregrine, Caucasian Snowcock, gray crane, long-eared owl and blackcap tit. From reptiles here can be found Mediterranean tortoise.

In the reserve rivers – Small Liakhvi and its tributaries there is a lot of trout (Salmofariotrutta).

Endemic animals

According to the existing information, 6 Caucasian and Georgian endemic small mammals are spread in Liakhvi State Reserve: Small forest mouse (Sylvamusuralensis), Pontic mouse (Sylvaemusponticus), common vole (Microtusarvalis), Dagestan’s vole (Terricoladaghestanicus) and others.