Protected Areas of Georgia cover 11.5% of the entire country
One of the priority directions of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture is the establishment, expansion and development of protected areas in accordance with international best practices.
For the last 10 years, the area of protected areas was increased by almost 300,000 hectares and as of 2021 the total area represents 800,000 hectares, which is 11.5% of the country's territory. In 2012-2021, 31 new protected areas were created and 3 protected areas were expanded. Today, there area 94 protected areas of 5 different categories in Georgia.
"Georgia is distinguished by its unique biodiversity and landscapes. Establishment and management of protected areas in accordance with international standards is crucial for the protection of biodiversity. In recent years, we have shown significant progress in creating new protected areas and expanding existing ones, which will continue to be active in the years to come. We are planning to establish new protected areas, our plan is to establish protected areas in Racha and Shida Kartli. In order to create new protected areas, an appropriate technical researches will be conducted in Guria, Svaneti, Samegrelo and Adjara regions,’’ stated the Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, Otar Shamugia.
2012-2021, was quite significant in the direction of conservation and reintroduction projects. With the support of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), gazelle reintroduction project in Vashlovani Protected Areas is successfully implementing- their number is constantly growing and by 2021 it will reach up to 200 individuals. Telemetric monitoring of East Caucasian goats has been successfully introduced in Lagodekhi protected areas. The project is funded by the non-governmental organization NACRES with the financial support of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Transboundary Joint Secretariat (TJS)[AA1] . In 2021, a specimen of a leopard was recorded on protected areas of Tusheti, for the first time in the last 40 years. Leopard research has started onTusheti and Pshav-Khevsureti protected areas.
To improve the management of protected areas, in 2012-2021, new management plans were elaborated and the existing ones were updated. As of 2021, out of 21 territorial administrations under the management of protected areas, 14 administrations are managing protected areas according to the management plan. An intensive work is underway to develop a management plan for 7 protected area administrations.
To improve the protection, monitoring and patrolling of protected areas, modern technologies are being actively introduced, in particular, a modern SMART patrolling system is being introduced in 12 protected areas.