Problems and threats to the Caucasus forest ecosystems on the example of Castanea sativa


  • Berika Beridze Institute of Dendrology PAS
  • Monika Dering Institute of Dendrology PAS



The Caucasus ecoregion is located between the Black and the Caspian Sea and extends from southern Russia, throughout Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan up to Iran. The prominent feature of the region is high biodiversity and endemism. The outstanding biological richness made the Caucasus one of the 36 global hotspots of biodiversity. The Caucasian forest is concentrated mainly in Georgia, where the most diverse forest ecosystems are found. In the Colchis forest, Tertiary relicts are present and this area formed glacial refugium for flora and fauna. However, the region and its wildlife are now under threat. Uncontrolled logging, urban and agricultural development, and climate changes bring about the great risk for many species and unique plant assemblages. The massive decline of Castanea sativa (sweet chestnut) exemplifies the problems of the alien parasite invasions and ineffective forest management and nature conservation. Biodiversity of the Caucasus is being lost at an alarming rate that calls for urgent action and intensification of investigations aiming at better understanding of the evolutionary history of the region.


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