Map of Georgia

Georgia is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The landscape within the nation's boundaries is quite varied. Western Georgia's landscape ranges from low-land marsh-forests, swamps, and temperate rainforests to eternal snows and glaciers, while the eastern part of the country even contains a small segment of semi-arid plains. Out of the 2,100 glaciers that exist in the Caucasus today, approximately 30% are located within Georgia. Forests cover around 40% of Georgia's territory while the alpine/subalpine zone accounts for roughly around 10% of the land. The overall region can be characterized as being made up of various, interconnected mountain ranges (largely of volcanic origin) and plateaus that do not exceed 3,400 meters (11,155 ft) in elevation. Much of the natural habitat in the low-lying areas of western Georgia has disappeared during the past 100 years because of the agricultural development of the land and urbanization. The large majority of the forests that covered the Colchis plain are now virtually non-existent, with the exception of the regions that are included in the national parks and reserves. At present, the forest cover generally remains outside of the low-lying areas and is mainly located along the foothills and the mountains. Western Georgia's forests consist mainly of deciduous trees below 600 meters (1,969 ft) above sea level and contain species such as oak, hornbeam, beech, elm, ash, and chestnut. Evergreen species such as box may also be found in many areas. Eastern Georgia's landscape is considerably different from that of the west, although nearly all of the low-lying areas of eastern Georgia have been deforested for agricultural purposes. In addition, because of the region's relatively drier climate, some of the low-lying plains were never covered by forests in the first place. In contrast with western Georgia, nearly 85 percent of the forests of the region are deciduous. Because of its high landscape diversity and low latitude, Georgia is home to about 5,601 species of animals, including 648 species of vertebrates (more than 1% of the species found worldwide) and many of these species are endemics. About 1,000 of all 4,000 higher plants of Georgia are endemic to Western Georgia. (Wikipedia)

Quick Facts

Land use

Total land area
6,949,000 hectares
Area of forest
40.6% of land area
Area of agriculture
36.8% of land area
Area of permanent cropland
2.3% of land area

People

Population
3.7 million
Population growth
-1.3% annually
Rural population
46.0%

Economics and development

GDP from agriculture
9.3%
GDP per person
3796.00 USD

Climate change and biodiversity

CO2 emissions
2.00 metric tonnes per person
Threatened animal and plant species
120
National Restoration Targets
Total restoration target
52,500 hectares
UNFCCC NC5 and NC6
Restoration target
52,500 hectares
Georgia’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution Submission to the UNFCCC (2015)
  • Forests: The last nationwide forest inventory was conducted in early 1990s. The Georgian Government prioritizes three options for climate change mitigation activities in forestry sector: (a) establish Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) practices; (b) conduct afforestation/reforestation and assist natural regeneration; and (c) expand the protected area.
  • Unconditional commitment: Georgia is committed to:
    • Strongly support CO2 reduction in one pilot area, the Borjomi-Bakuriani Forest district (currently the only forest district where carbon emissions have been quantified) by at least 70% between 2020 and 2030, by strengthening law enforcement and introducing SFM practices covering 45,000 ha;
    • Implement afforestation/reforestation activities on already identified 1,500 ha of degraded lands by 2030;
    • Assist natural regeneration of forests through different silvicultural methods on 7,500 ha by 2030 in order to restore natural forest cover.
  • Conditional commitment
    • Afforest/reforest up to a total of 35,000 ha, as well as supporting relevant activities to assist natural regeneration in identified areas needing afforestation / reforestation until 2030;
    • SFM and carbon monitoring for identified forest districts covering up to 250,000 ha - commits itself to support the sustainable management of forests. The objective is to gain relevant expertise for further development of the C&I for SFM in the rest of identified forest lands to achieve nation-wide development of SFM practices
    • Expand protected areas from 520,000 ha to 1,300,000 ha (about 20% of Georgia’s territory) comprising at least 1 million ha of forests.
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Country Profiles – NBSAPs, National Reports (5th)
National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan of Georgia 2014 – 2020 (2014)
  • Strategic Approaches (pg. 36): The establishment of fast-growing forest plantations in open areas (as opposed to naturally forested areas) would contribute to meeting the demand in timber. It is very important to give priority to native species in these plantations (potential areas for forest plantations include the lower forest zones of western Georgia where forests were cleared for tea and citrus plantations during the soviet times—most of the tea plantations have now been abandoned) (pg. 37).
  • In the next few years, net forest clearance should be brought to zero, while the levels of degradation of forest habitats should be substantially reduced. If effective silvicultural interventions are implemented, substantial reductions in the rates of forest habitat degradation can be achieved in the observable future (pg. 37).
  • Sustainable forestry would also contribute to mitigation of climate change and adaptation to its negative impacts. Specifically, forest ecosystem resilience to climate change should be enhanced. Healthy forest ecosystems are able to absorb and store more atmospheric carbon
  • Community forest schemes should be developed that would fully consider the role and rights of local communities—including those of women—in respect of access to non-timber forest products.
  • National Targets:
    • By 2020, negative factors directly affecting threatened natural habitats have been significantly reduced through the sustainable management of at least 60% of these habitats, including at least 60% of forests, 80% of wetlands and 70% of grasslands (pg. 70)
      • Reduce pressures on forest ecosystems
      • Establish fast growing forest plantations in forest clearances so that timber and fuel wood can be produced and provided primarily to local communities
Georgia’s Fifth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity (2014)
  • Progress towards the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets and contributions to the relevant 2015 Targets of the Millennium Development Goals
    • Target 5: Overall, within the period of 2003-2013, 639 ha area of forests was restored, which constitutes 0.02% of the gross forest area (pg. 61)
    • Target 15: Restoration of 87 ha of degraded arid forests with local species (Ash, PinusEldarica) was carried out in the former pasture area, under the Project for “Climate Tolerant Rehabilitation of Degraded Landscapes” (GIZ) (pg. 65)
      • For increasing resilience to climate change, restoration of the 150 ha monoculture forest area is ongoing in Tsavkisi and Khashuri on initiative of the WWF – Caucasus Program Office, the project is backed by the EU (pg. 66)
      • Within the framework of preparation of the Third Communication to National Climate Change Framework Convention (UNFCCC) of Georgia, project proposals were elaborated for reforestation activities in various regions of Georgia, which inter alia includes: - restoration of degraded sub-alpine forests and enhancement of carbon dioxide storage by forests in Ajara; - Cultivation of soil protecting forests on the eroded slopes and establishment of forest nurseries in ZemoSvaneti.
United Nation Forum on Forests (UNFF) National Reports
Voluntary National Report to the 11th Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (2014)
  • Does your government’s national forest policy/strategy or national forest programme contain time-bound and quantified targets related to the forest area? NO
  • Since 2007, what activities has your government undertaken to reverse the loss of forest cover and/or to enhance the area and quality of forests?
    • Afforestation: 250 ha
    • Restoration: 1,000 ha
  • UNFF10 National Report – No Submission
National Forest and/or Climate Strategy and/or Low Carbon Development Strategy
National Forestry Agency – Goals, Objectives, and tasks (in Georgian)
  • Sustainable forest management - that ensures maintenance of its functions to the public and the maximum benefits;
  • Forest restoration measures; 
  • Multipurpose, efficient and sustainable forest use planning
Government Resolution 241: Forest Protection and Restoration (in Georgian) (2010)
  • This rule is designed to forests in the ecological balance of the forest age structure, species composition, and the state of preservation, sustainable and highly productive stands formation, forest management capacity, weather conditions for the conservation and climate change are negative factors that prevent the provision of the State Forest Fund for forest protection and restoration activities In carrying out the legal regulation of relations.
  • Forest Care: Forest Tending:
    • Carrying out thinnings
    • Fire prevention measures
  • Forest Restoration
    • Forest recovery plan: Restoration of the State Forest Fund, the sources, the forest fund accounting and monitoring of materials and research based on the plan of the Forest Code in Articles 15 and 16 of the authorized bodies.
  • Forest restoration: Forest restoration implies the following:
    • Thinning or removing underbrush, forest edges, and subalpine open woodlands, planting crops
    • Promotion of natural regeneration
    • Reconstruction
  • Subject to restoration - areas to be restored:
    • Burnt and destroyed by other causes, whether natural or artificial forest occupied areas;
    • Areas without forests, but which have the natural and climatic conditions to enable the restoration of the forest
    • Thinned and sparse stands of natural origin that needs artificial restoration
    • Degraded stands, which needs reconstruction
The National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP-2) of Georgia 2012-2016 (2012)
  • Long-term goals (20 year) – Forestry: Improve the functional state of forests through the development of sustainable forestry
  • Forestry – Targets and Measures:
    • Target 1: Establishment of prerequisites for sustainable forest management system 
      • Measure: Develop long term (10-15 years) National Programmes for implementation of necessary measures in a) integrated forest pest control; b) fire prevention and control; c) forest restoration (including climate change mitigation and adaptation measures); and d) fastgrowing forest plantations for fuel-wood production (pg. 51) 
      • Perform urgent forest restoration, pest control and forest fire prevention related activities in priority hot-spot areas
National Forest Concept for Georgia (2013)
  • Aimed at establishment of a system of sustainable forest management that will ensure protection of biological diversity, effective use of the economic potential of forests taking into account their ecological value, public participation in forest management related issues, and fair distribution of derived benefits. The overarching guiding principle of the Concept is sustainable management of forests, priority shall also be given to meeting the needs of the local population, and everybody’s principally free access to forest resources. Restoration of degraded forests and afforestation are identified as priority areas of forestry policy (summary taken from 5 th National Report to CBD, pg. 52)
  • Forest Management Planning:
    • Restoration of degraded forests and reforestation (pg. 7)
      • A large area of the forest fund is severely degraded as a result of inadequate forest use practiced during long period of time. Degraded forest landscapes are more prone to landslides and avalanches. It is the conviction of the Government that the problem is serious and needs immediate action to maintain ecological balance in Georgia and ensure the growth of the area of forested lands. 
    • Actions: Ensure that forest management is based on up-to-date management plans that reflect current principles of sustainable forest management, including by (pg. 8):
      • Elaborate and implement a plan for restoring degraded forest landscapes to full ecosystem health, including by:
        • Carrying out assessments of the condition of degraded forests and the feasibility of restoring them;
        • Elaborating a forest landscape restoration strategy, including targets, cost estimates, and a business plan for implementing the strategy.
    • Adaption to the impacts of climate change – Actions - Elaborate and implement activities aimed at mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change on forests, including by (pg. 11):
      • Preparing and implementing mitigation and adaptation plans for forest stands that are vulnerable to climate change;
      • Reforestation – forest planting, greening urban areas, forest plantations
National Programme for Regional Development – Action Plan 2015-2017 (2015)
  • Priority: The physical infrastructure and environmental protection
    • Forest Inventory and sustainable forestry strategy
    • Goals: promote sustainable forest management and the use of local communities for the benefit of fair and equitable distribution of funds.
    • Activities:
      • Effective forest management system in the field of forestry, the legislative and methodological frameworks; 
      • Management of forest resources for the further development of the electronic system;
      • Forest protection and restoration measures; 
      • Effective management of forests and to improve physical protection, legal - institutional strengthening of the National Environmental Agency necessary measures
Global Environment Facility (GEF) projects
5825 (Request for CEO Approval): Applying Landscape and Sustainable Land Management (L-SLM) for mitigating land degradation and contributing to poverty reduction in rural areas (CEO approved 02/16/2016; duration: 36 months; Cost: $4,622,114)
  • Policy, regulatory and institutional reforms to mainstream L-SLM practices
    • Expected Outcomes: Adequate legal, policy and institutional framework on LSLM at national level – Evidenced by an amended legislation framework in the agroforestry (wind break management), soil protection and pasturelands management and, National Integrated Landscape Management Strategy (NILMS) paper validated by all stakeholders and submitted to the government of Georgia for approval
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