July 31, 2003
(Updated September 2004)
A fundamental purpose of CEPF is to ensure that civil society is engaged in efforts to conserve biodiversity in the hotspots. An additional purpose is to ensure that those efforts complement existing strategies and frameworks established by local, regional and national governments.
CEPF aims to promote working alliances among community groups, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), government, academic institutions and the private sector, combining unique capacities and eliminating duplication of efforts for a comprehensive approach to conservation. CEPF is unique among funding mechanisms in that it focuses on biological areas rather than political boundaries and examines conservation threats on a corridor-wide basis to identify and support a regional, rather than a national, approach to achieving conservation outcomes. Corridors are determined through a process of identifying important species, site and corridor-level conservation outcomes for the hotspot. CEPF targets transboundary cooperation when areas rich in biological value straddle national borders, or in areas where a regional approach will be more effective than a national approach.
The Ecosystem Profile
One of the most biologically rich regions on Earth, the Caucasus is among the planet's 25 most diverse and endangered hotspots. The Caucasus is one of WWF's Global 200 Ecoregions, identified as globally outstanding for biodiversity. The Caucasus has also been named a large herbivore hotspot by WWF's Large Herbivore Initiative. Eleven species of large herbivores, as well as five large carnivores, are found over a relatively small area. The 2002 IUCN Red List identifies 50 species of globally threatened animals and one plant in the Caucasus. Among the IUCN species, 18 have restricted ranges or are endemics. The Caucasus Mountains harbor a wealth of highly sought-after medicinal and decorative plants, as well as unique relic and endemic plant communities.
Spanning the borders of six countries, the Caucasus hotspot is a globally significant center of cultural diversity, where a multitude of ethnic groups, languages and religions intermingle over a relatively small area. Close cooperation across borders will be required for conservation of unique and threatened ecosystems, while helping to foster peace and understanding in an ethnically diverse region.
The purpose of the ecosystem profile is to provide a rapid assessment of underlying causes of biodiversity loss, define measurable outcomes for conservation of species, sites and corridors, understand the existing institutional framework and identify funding gaps and opportunities for investment. The ecosystem profile recommends strategic funding directions that will contribute to the conservation of biodiversity in this globally significant region.
Civil society organizations will propose projects and actions that fit into these strategic directions and contribute to the conservation of biodiversity in the targeted region. Applicants propose specific projects consistent with these funding directions and investment criteria. The ecosystem profile does not define the specific activities that prospective implementers may propose, but outlines the conservation strategy that will guide those activities. Applicants for CEPF grants will be required to prepare detailed proposals identifying and describing the interventions and performance indicators that will be used to measure the success of the project.
This ecosystem profile, together with profiles under development for CEPF in other regions at this time, includes a new commitment and emphasis on using conservation outcomes-targets against which the success of investments can be measured-as the scientific underpinning for determining CEPF's geographic and thematic focus for investment. Conservation outcomes are the full set of quantitative and justifiable conservation targets in a hotspot that need to be achieved in order to prevent biodiversity loss. These targets are defined at three levels: species (extinctions avoided), sites (areas protected) and landscapes (corridors created). As conservation in the field succeeds in achieving these targets, these targets become demonstrable results or outcomes. While CEPF cannot achieve all of the outcomes identified for a region on its own, the partnership is trying to ensure that its conservation investments are working toward preventing biodiversity loss and that its success can be monitored and measured.
Species, site and corridor outcomes for the Caucasus were defined in cooperation with scientists at CI's Center for Applied Biodiversity Science (CABS). Based on the results of these analyses, experts identified 10 corridors that encompass the vast majority of outcomes defined for the Caucasus hotspot.
In parallel to this work, WWF coordinated the development of a long-term vision for conservation of the Caucasus Ecoregion. About 60 priority areas for achieving the vision were identified based on biological and socioeconomic analyses and identification of focal species, processes and habitats. Corridors and CEPF strategies for this profile were determined taking into account the conservation vision and identified priority areas, the conservation site outcomes determined for 51 globally threatened species and the existing network of protected areas in the region.
WWF Caucasus prepared this profile in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, the German Bank for Reconstruction and Development (KfW) and BirdLife International. The Biodiversity and Landscape Conservation Union of Armenia, CABS, the Center for Sustainable Development of Iran, the Ecological Union of Azerbaijan and AHT International provided technical support.
More than 6,500 species of vascular plants are found in the Caucasus. A quarter of these plants are found nowhere else on Earth—the highest level of endemism in the temperate world. At least 153 mammals inhabit the Caucasus; one-fifth of these are endemic to the region. As many as 400 species of birds are found in the Caucasus, four of which are endemic to this hotspot. The coasts of the Black and Caspian seas are important stop over sites for millions of migrating birds, which fly over the isthmus each spring and autumn between their summer and winter homes. Twenty-two of the 77 reptiles in the Caucasus are endemic to the region. Fourteen species of amphibians are found in the region, of which four are endemics. More than 200 species of fish are found in the rivers and seas of the region, more than a third of which are found nowhere else.
Globally Threatened Species
Globally threatened birds in the Caucasus include the critically endangered Siberian crane that migrates along the Caspian Sea coast; the vulnerable great bustard, found in open plains in northern Iran and Turkey during migration and in the North Caucasus of Russia; the endangered white-headed duck; and vulnerable red-breasted goose that winters in wetlands in Azerbaijan, Russia and northern Iran and Turkey. In all, 11 bird species in the Caucasus are listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered according to IUCN.
The 10 globally threatened reptiles in the region include the Caucasian viper, meadow viper and Dinnik's viper. These vipers are endemic to the Caucasus and occupy total ranges of only a few thousand square kilometers. The endemic Caucasian salamander, one of the four vulnerable species of amphibians, is found only in western Georgia and Turkey.
Six species of sturgeon and the beluga are endangered by overfishing and habitat degradation in the Black and Caspian seas. The Baltic (Atlantic) sturgeon, which spawns only in rivers in the Kolkheti Lowlands in Georgia, is critically endangered.
Additionally, the Caucasus has a number of important flagship and locally threatened species. Perhaps the best known is the highly endangered Caucasian leopard, celebrated in local folklore. The leopard used to be widespread throughout the Caucasus, but now it is found only in remote parts of the Greater Caucasus Range, southern Armenia, the Nakhichevan Republic (Azerbaijan), the Talysh Mountains and in bordering areas of northeastern Turkey and northwestern Iran. The main reasons for the leopard's decline are habitat loss, poaching and decline of prey species.
Other large mammal species include the striped hyena, which is now on the verge of extinction, and the Caucasian red deer, one of the most endangered species of wildlife in the southern Caucasus. Chamois and goitred gazelle are also important flagship species in the region.
Endemic species of birds in the Caucasus include the Caucasian black grouse and the Caucasian snowcock. The Caucasian black grouse occurs in all the high mountains of the Caucasus, while the Caucasian snowcock is found only in the Greater Caucasus Range.
About 700 species of higher plants are listed in regional Red Books of Rare and Endangered Species, including at least 20 species of bellflower and 18 species of iris. Five species of lichens and 11 species of fungi are also locally endangered. Tigran's elder is the only globally threatened plant included in the IUCN Red List and considered in this Ecosystem Profile as a conservation target at the species level. This vulnerable shrub is an endemic found sporadically in the Shirak, Aparan, Yerevan and Darelegis regions of Armenia, in lower and middle mountain belts on dry rocky and clay soils. It is threatened by habitat loss to development and overgrazing.
Forests are the most important biome for biodiversity conservation in the Caucasus, covering nearly one-fifth of the region. Forests in the Caucasus are highly diverse, consisting of broadleaf, dark coniferous, pine, arid open woodland and lowland forests, which are dispersed according to elevation, soil conditions and climate in the region.
Broadleaf forests, consisting of Oriental beech, oak, hornbeam and chestnut, make up most of the forested landscape of the Caucasus. Beech forests play the leading role in the region's timber industry. Careless clearcutting of mountain beech stands has permanently damaged a significant portion of valuable beech forests in the Northern Caucasus. Most oak species in the hotspot are endemic to the region. Oak forests, largely cleared for farmlands and pastures, have been spared mostly in remote canyons and on relatively poor soils. Chestnut forests in the Colchic foothills and in the northwestern Caucasus have also been logged intensively. In northeastern Turkey, broadleaf forests are cleared for tea and hazelnut plantations. In northwestern Iran, only 12 percent Arasbaran broadleaf forests remain, noted for their high number of endemic species.
Dark coniferous forests, made up mainly of Oriental spruce and Caucasian fir, are found in the western part of the Lesser Caucasus Range and on both sides of the western and central Greater Caucasus Range. Coniferous forests are logged for paper production and timber, resulting in severe depletion of these reserves. Pine forests occur in the North Caucasus, though they are also found in the southern Caucasus, especially in the Kura River watershed in Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Arid open woodlands form on dry, rocky slopes in the eastern and southern Caucasus, made up of juniper and pistachio species. Lowland forests are found in floodplains and on low river terraces, generally growing on alluvial, swampy, or moist soils. Very few lowland forests have been preserved to this day; some stands remain only in the Lenkoran and Kolkheti lowlands and in the Kura, Iori, Samur and Alazan-Agrichay river valleys.
High mountain meadows are dominated by herbaceous species. About 1,000 vascular plant species are found in the Greater Caucasus high mountains and half of these are endemics. Caucasian rhododendron thickets grow on slopes with northern exposure in the Greater Caucasus Range and in the northern part of the Lesser Caucasus Mountain Chain. Alpine mats, formed by dense low-lying perennial plants, cover the terrain on the upper belts of these two mountain systems. Alpine meadows and grasslands are used intensively for livestock grazing in the summer throughout the region, resulting in decline in plant species diversity. Unique communities of cliff and rock vegetation are distributed throughout the high mountains of the Caucasus. Approximately 80 percent of the plant species found in rock and scree communities on Colchic limestone ridges in the Greater Caucasus are endemic to the hotspot.
Mediterranean and Anatolian-Iranian shrublands occur in arid mountains of the Caucasus where continental climate prevails, particularly in the foothills of the Araks River watershed.
Steppe vegetation used to be widespread on the Caucasus Isthmus, but today only fragments of primary steppe communities have survived on slopes that are unsuitable for agriculture. Steppe communities are found in the plains and foothills of the eastern and southern Caucasus. Highland steppe communities, primarily found in dry mountain regions of the southern Caucasus, are diverse in species composition and have a number of endemic plants.
Until recently, semi-deserts with elements of desert vegetation were widespread in the lowlands and foothills of the eastern part of the Caucasus Isthmus. In the past few decades, agricultural development, irrigation and winter grazing practices have significantly altered the landscape in this area. The few semi-deserts and deserts that have been preserved are made up of either predominately wormwood or salt habitat species.
Wetland ecosystems are found throughout the Caucasus and include estuaries and river deltas, marshes, swamps, lakes and streams in alpine regions. Wetland vegetation covers large areas along the lower Terek, Sulak, Kuban, Kura, Samur and Rioni rivers and the coastal zones of the Black, Azov and Caspian seas. Flora in wetlands ranges from aquatic vegetation in lakes, to swampy floodplain, brush and forest ecosystems, to sphagnum-sedge swamps in the Kolkheti Lowlands. The marshes along the Caspian coast in northwestern Iran are particularly important for waterfowl. A variety of lakes are scattered throughout the Caucasus from small alpine lakes to significant bodies of water such as Lake Sevan with highly specific fish fauna.
Today, there are 55 strict nature reserves and national parks in the Caucasus hotspot. Combined, nature reserves (IUCN categories I and II) protect a total land area of 1.2 million hectares or 2.1 percent of the Caucasus Region. Besides these protected areas, there are a large number of multiple-use sanctuaries, refuges, nature parks, hunting reserves and protected forests in the Caucasus (IUCN categories IV to VI). Altogether, approximately 8 percent of the Caucasus Region is afforded some sort of protection.
Most strict nature reserves and national parks, particularly in the southern Caucasus, are too small to guarantee long-term biodiversity conservation. Economic problems have resulted in an increase in poaching, illegal forest cutting and grazing in protected areas where the protection regime is not always enforced. Reserve employees are underpaid and equipment and transportation are lacking. Buffer zones are often non-existent, so consequences of resource use and human pressures outside reserves spill over the borders and impact protected ecosystems. Furthermore, the existing protected areas system is not entirely representative of the full range of biodiversity in the hotspot.
New protected areas need to be created in certain regions where there are none and corridors need to be created between existing protected areas. The protected status of sanctuaries with low levels of protection need to be increased in areas that are important for conservation of biodiversity and endangered species and ecosystems. Management and planning in nature reserves needs to be improved by increasing the qualifications of nature reserve staff and elaborating and implementing management plans.
In order to determine species outcomes for the Caucasus, WWF Caucasus synthesized available information on globally threatened birds for the hotspot, based on data provided by BirdLife International. Next we included all other globally threatened species in the hotspot, based on recent IUCN Red Lists. Local scientists assisted in determining whether or not each species actually occurs in the Caucasus. WWF Caucasus then compiled a database on threatened species including the status, distribution, conservation needs and major threats for each species based on surveys of scientists in the field.
A total of 51 species representing six taxa (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and plants) were included in the species outcomes as a result of this process (Table 1, Appendix 1*). Eighteen mammal species, 11 bird species, 10 reptile species, four amphibian species, seven fish species and one plant species were selected as targets for conservation. Two species of mammals are listed as critically endangered: the saiga antelope, found only in the Russian part of the Caucasus, and the Armenian birch mouse, found only in Armenia. Four mammals are endangered, including the West Caucasian tur and Dahl's jird. Eleven of the 18 mammal species are found in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, while 14 species are found in Russia, 10 in Iran and nine in Turkey. The vulnerable giant mole rat is found only in Russia. Six of the threatened mammals are endemics or restricted-range species.
Eleven bird species were identified as conservation outcomes, including one critically endangered species—the Siberian crane—which migrates along the Caspian coast. The white-headed duck is endangered, while the remaining nine species are considered vulnerable. Three of the avian species outcomes are found in Georgia and four in Armenia. Eight birds are found in Azerbaijan and 10 in the Turkish Caucasus. The Russian and Iranian Caucasus both have all 11 bird species. Three additional bird species, used by BirdLife International to delineate Important Bird Areas (IBAs), are local endemics with restricted ranges: Caucasian black grouse, Caucasian snowcock and Caucasian chiffchaff.
Ten species of reptiles and four species of amphibians were targeted in the species outcomes. Two reptiles-Darevsky's and pontic vipers-are critically endangered. The large-headed water snake is found only in the Russian Caucasus. All four species of amphibians are vulnerable. The Persian brook salamander is found only in the Iranian Caucasus. Seven of the 10 threatened reptiles and all of the threatened amphibians in the hotspot are restricted-range species or local endemics.
Seven species of fish are included in the species outcomes, six of which are from the sturgeon genus. Five of the seven fish are endangered. The critically endangered Baltic sturgeon is found only in the Black Sea and rivers of the Kolkheti Lowlands in Georgia. Overfishing and pollution in the Caspian and Black seas threaten all of these fish species.
Only one plant—Tigran's elder—is included in the species outcomes as a vulnerable species. This endemic species is sporadically found on lower and middle mountain slopes in Armenia and is threatened by habitat loss to development and overgrazing.
In sum, six species of the 51 are critically endangered, 14 are endangered and 31 are vulnerable. The 51 threatened species were the basis for determining site-level outcomes for the Caucasus hotspot and will be important indicators of the success of future conservation activities. Among them, critically endangered, restricted-range and landscape species with large ranges that cannot be saved at the site-level were taken into account as important conservation priorities at the species level (Appendix 2). CEPF and the conservation community should monitor the status of these species closely to prevent further extinctions and biodiversity loss.
* September 2004 update: The global conservation status of one of the amphibian species outcomes has since been determined to be near threatened, rather than vulnerable as originally indicated. As a result of this new information, the species can no longer be considered a species outcome or a priority for CEPF investment. The CEPF investment strategy below and the appendices of this profile available in the PDF download have been updated with this change.
In order to define the site-level outcomes, WWF Caucasus analyzed point data on the distribution of globally threatened and endemic species (species outcomes). It mapped the data according to the six taxa (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and plants) to determine sites where these species are found. Since BirdLife International has already determined IBAs for bird fauna, these were automatically included as site outcomes in the hotspot. Existing protected areas in the region where globally threatened species (species outcomes) occur were also included in the list of sites. Much of the work involved resolving overlaps between the IBAs, existing protected areas and other site outcomes for non-bird taxa, since IBAs were not always delineated with regard to protected area boundaries. Important habitats for threatened species that are not currently protected but could be managed as a single unit were also included. Additional factors considered in determining site outcomes were: a) important habitats for endemics (restricted-range species) and b) sites important for large congregations of waterfowl and fish, particularly those that hold more than 1 percent of the global population of a single species at a particular time (according to BirdLife International criteria).
WWF Caucasus identified 205 site outcomes for the Caucasus, covering 19 percent of the hotspot. It compiled a database on these site outcomes including the site name, major habitat, threatened species occurring there, protected status, threats and proposed conservation actions. Table 2 shows how the outcomes are distributed across countries and taxonomic groups. In Armenia, 20 sites were identified, covering an area of more than 0.91 million hectares. Azerbaijan has 61 site outcomes covering more than 1.29 million hectares. Georgia has 49 site outcomes across an area of 2.17 million hectares. In northwestern Iran, 15 site outcomes have been identified across 1.65 million hectares. The Russian Caucasus includes 42 site outcomes with a combined area of 2.29 million hectares. Northeastern Turkey has 18 site outcomes with an area of 2.25 million hectares. These sites are described in Appendix 3 and depicted in Figure 2.
In all, 115 of the sites identified in the site outcomes harbor mammals listed as threatened by IUCN. Globally threatened birds and IBAs are represented in 100 of the sites, while reptiles and amphibians are found in 59 and 21 of the sites, respectively. Threatened fish species are found in 20 of the 205 sites and the Tigran's elder—the only globally threatened plant species—is found in three sites.
Ten conservation corridors were identified for the Caucasus hotspot as important for biodiversity conservation (Appendix 4 and Figure 3). Of these, five were determined to be priority (target) corridors for conservation. Below we describe all 10 corridors in brief, including significant biodiversity features, threatened species and habitats, institutional factors and potential for expansion of protected areas. An explanation of the ranking of the five priority corridors is given below under CEPF Niche for Investment.
Greater Caucasus Corridor
West Lesser Caucasus Corridor
East Lesser Caucasus Corridor
Southern Uplands Corridor
Thirty-three sites with a combined area of 675,341 hectares were not included in any of the corridors. These sites should be targeted for investment by other funding sources since they do not fall under the corridor outcomes that will be supported by CEPF investment. The majority of these sites are IBAs that are distributed along bird migratory routes. White-headed duck, otter and several species of bats are just a few of the globally threatened species that need protection in these individual sites. Two sites in Armenia are crucial for protection of the Tigran's elder plant. Additionally, there were several site outcomes that were only partially covered by corridors. Threats to these sites include infrastructure development (urban expansion), overgrazing, overfishing, poaching and water pollution. These sites should be targeted for investment by other funding sources since they do not fall under the corridor outcomes that will be supported by CEPF investment.
In summary, the area of the 10 corridor outcomes is 20.8 million hectares, making up 35.5 percent of the hotspot. Corridor outcomes contain the majority of the globally threatened species and are important areas of congregations of waterfowl and Caucasian endemics. Corridors are generally the most intact areas in the Caucasus, partly because they are located along political borders, furthest from administrative centers and development pressures. The majority of the protected areas in the hotspot fall within the boundaries of the 10 corridors. Corridors include 84 percent of the total number of sites identified in site outcomes, or 94 percent of the total area of site outcomes (Figure 4). The remaining sites, shown in Figure 4 and listed in Appendix 3, must be targeted for individual conservation programs from other funding sources to prevent extinctions of globally threatened species.
In Turkey, the Ministry of Forestry deals with biodiversity conservation issues in forests. Turkey's Ministry of Environment also plays an important role, dealing with pollution, marine and wetland ecosystems, climate change, sustainable resource use and other issues. Iran's Department of the Environment is in charge of environmental protection in that country.
Universities, scientific academies and specialized institutes on forestry, soils, biology and marine resources play an important role in research and inventory of biodiversity in the hotspot. Scientists and students participate in reserve planning and fieldwork in protected areas.
The NGO movement has gained momentum over the past decade in each of the Caucasus countries. National and local NGOs speak out on environmental issues, impact public opinion and conduct scientific studies on environmental and social issues. NGOs provide independent information on important topics, often filling in gaps where scientific and governmental institutions fall short. NGOs play a crucial role in bringing a variety of stakeholders together, holding meetings among decisionmakers, local communities, businesses and international organizations. Fourteen national NGOs, such as the Environment Foundation of Turkey and the SOS Environment Volunteers and eight local NGOs, such as the Black Sea Environmentalists, are active in the Turkish Caucasus. The Center for Sustainable Development (CENESTA) is one of many environmental NGOs active in Iran. Some of the more notable of the over 20 NGOs in Armenia are the Biodiversity and Landscape Conservation Union, Khazer Ecological and Cultural NGO and the Center for Environmental Rights. Azerbaijan has the Ecological Union, Green Wave and the Green Movement of Azerbaijan among 40 others. At least 50 environmental NGOs are active in Georgia, such as the Noah's Ark Center for Recovery of Endangered Species (NACRES), Georgian Center for Conservation of Wildlife (GCCW) and the Green Movement of Georgia. NGOs promoting conservation in the Russian Caucasus include the Socio-Ecological Union and other regional divisions of Russian NGOs and the North Caucasus Association of Protected Areas.
International NGOs such as Birdlife International, Eurasia Foundation, Fauna and Flora International, Greenpeace, MacArthur Foundation, Wetlands International and WWF are important catalysts for biodiversity conservation in the Caucasus.
Nature Conservation Legislation
In Turkey, articles in the 1982 Constitution guarantee the right to a clean environment and lay out principles for protection of cultural and natural areas. A number of other laws on allocation of forests for protection, hunting and fishing, water use, tourism, coastal areas, export of animal species and national parks have come into force in the past two decades.
Iran's constitution proclaims the need to prevent pollution and environmental degradation. Laws governing management of game, forest and rangeland resources have been in effect since 1967. Laws and acts dealing with environmental protection, air pollution and water use were put in place beginning in the 1970s and 1980s. Deficiencies in existing regulations are related to the lack of correct environmental data, lack of enforcement by environmental inspection agencies and the scarcity of experienced environmental professionals in the country.
Gaps and contradictions in conservation legislation and overlapping jurisdictions plague each of the countries in the Caucasus. Transboundary cooperation on environmental issues is limited, though a memorandum of understanding is under consideration between Georgia and Turkey to promote cooperation on biodiversity conservation and sustainable resource use in the globally important Colchic Region. Bilateral agreements on environmental cooperation also exist between Georgia and Azerbaijan and between Georgia and Armenia, yet detailed work plans have yet to be elaborated.
All six countries have signed the majority of international conventions, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, Wetlands of International Importance, International trade of plant and animal species (CITES) and World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Not all of the countries, however, have the capacity and finances to fulfill their international obligations. Countries are implementing other multilateral strategies and programs such as the Caspian Environment Program and Regional Seas Project.
Agriculture was the leading sector of the economy for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and the Russian Caucasus during Soviet times. Fertile soils and favorable climate conditions allowed a broad range of production. Goods shipped to the USSR included grapes, wine, tobacco, cotton, fruit, vegetables, tea and citrus fruits. Since 1990, production and distribution patterns were disrupted. In Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, total production of previously exported crops such as citrus fruits and grapes is only a third of pre-1990 levels. Today most of the rural population depends on subsistence farming, growing basic food crops for consumption. Livestock farming (cattle, sheep, goats) is the primary source of income in mountain regions. Cattle and sheep provide leather, wool, meat, milk and other products. Livestock production has decreased in the former Soviet republics in the past ten years.
Fishing in rivers, lakes and seas has been an important part of regional economic development for centuries. The demand for caviar, sturgeon and other fish on global markets encourages overfishing and poaching. Sturgeon is the most sought after fish, with seven species living in the Caspian and Black seas and swimming up rivers to spawn. The Caspian Sea holds 90 percent of the world's sturgeon. Overfishing in the Black and Caspian seas has brought about the demise of sturgeon and other fish - 13 species of fish in the Black Sea are endangered or nearly extinct. Fishing in freshwater rivers and lakes plays an important role in local economies and for supplementing low incomes in rural areas. Poaching in important rivers and streams for spawning sturgeon is widespread.
Agriculture is also the leading industry in the Turkish Caucasus. Major crops include grains, vegetables, industrial crops, fruit and seeds for oil. All of the tea produced in Turkey comes from the Caucasus provinces. Livestock and bee-keeping are also important sources of income in rural areas. The bulk of fish production in the country comes from the Turkish Caucasus. Yet the economic situation in the Turkish Caucasus lags behind economic indicators for Turkey.
The Iranian Caucasus has grasslands favorable for livestock breeding and agriculture. Craft-making and fruit orchards are also important sources of income in rural areas. Dairy products from this region such as Leghvan cheese are world-renowned.
The forestry and wood manufacturing industry in the Caucasus has felt the impacts of the economic crisis more acutely than other areas of production, despite relatively large forest reserves, particularly in the North Caucasus. Wood processing plants produce boards for construction, furniture, parquet flooring and other products. Forests provide firewood for heat and cooking in rural areas. Due to the chronic lack of energy resources in Georgia and Armenia, the public sector now consumes two to three times more firewood than in the 1980s. Illegal logging and timber export put at risk some of the last remnants of forests in the Caucasus.
A once flourishing tourism industry based on spas and mineral baths, beaches of the Black and Caspian seas and mountain sports has diminished to next to nothing. Today, many tourists prefer to travel to more exotic destinations with higher standards, resulting in serious losses to local economies. Facilities to support tourists in the former Soviet region of the Caucasus are decaying or lacking altogether, suggesting that either large investments would be required to boost this sector of the economy or local people would need to become more active in providing diversifying services to tourists (bed and breakfasts, restaurants, souvenirs) to reach a different market segment.
Infrastructure and Regional Development
Roads are generally under-developed and poorly maintained due to the complicated mountainous terrain in the region and lack of finances. Railroads follow the major roads and are connected by ferries to Ukraine and Europe, offering potential for connection to the European railway network. Water transportation is accessible from ports on the Black Sea, handling some freight and insignificant numbers of passengers. The Caspian Sea is landlocked and connections between ports of adjacent countries are limited.
Most of the Caucasus Region is electrified. The Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant, the only atomic power station in the Caucasus, produces the bulk of the energy in Armenia. In Azerbaijan, thermal power plants produce 85 percent of the energy and hydropower provides the rest. Most of the energy in Georgia is generated by hydropower.
Since infrastructure and regional development is mostly concentrated near urban centers, many of the outlying regions of the countries are largely unscathed by large-scale infrastructure projects and development. Border regions of the countries, which are usually the most distant areas from administrative centers, harbor large swaths of intact natural habitats. As a result, much of the biodiversity in the Caucasus has been preserved in these outlying regions and many of the corridor outcomes are situated in border regions.
Demography and Social Trends
The majority of the population in rural areas of the former Soviet Union lives below the poverty level. Most have low disposable incomes, limited access to health care, poor housing and shortages of fuel and electricity. Health care is more accessible in the Turkish Caucasus and some other areas. Many people in rural villages supplement their income with food from vegetable gardens, livestock, fishing and hunting.
The Caucasus is a mosaic of ethnic, religious and cultural diversity. A multitude of languages can be heard in the region. Christianity and Islam are practiced side by side and while differences in religious beliefs are generally tolerated, historically religion has been the reason behind many ethnic skirmishes.
Many people are aware of environmental issues due to the generally high level of education in the region (literacy is near 100 percent in most areas). Rural populations, however, are generally less informed and competent environmental journalists in these areas are lacking. The desire to take action to improve the environmental situation among the general public is very low, since most people are more concerned with meeting basic needs such as food, drinking water, or employment.
In conclusion, a rapid assessment of the socioeconomic situation assists in identifying the niche for CEPF in the region. Clearly, civil society—NGOs, scientific institutes, universities and other groups—is established in the region, providing a basis for conservation action, though finances and capacity are limited. Governmental institutions are generally supportive of conservation and a number of laws are in place, but agencies often lack financial and technical capabilities to enforce them. Cooperation on the environment between countries is limited but the potential exists, particularly where protected areas and migrating species are concerned. Most of the counties in the region are experiencing economic difficulties. The rural population is especially poor, where people are largely dependent on the land to meet their basic needs. New models of alternative income generation and sustainable resource use are needed to help the rural population emerge from economic depression and become less dependent on natural resources. The general public in corridor areas is largely uninformed on environmental issues and lacks incentive to participate in conservation programs.
Synopsis of Current Threats
Numbers of large herbivores have dropped dramatically in the past century. Red deer numbers have plummeted from 800 in the Lagodekhi Nature Reserve of Georgia to fewer than 100 today. In Azerbaijan, only 500 of the animals remain, while fewer than 1,500 red deer are left in Russia. Saiga antelope numbers in the North Caucasus Plain have dropped from several hundred thousand at the middle of the 20th century to fewer than 20,000 today.
Participants of the second stakeholder workshop, facilitated through CEPF investment, held in January 2003 determined proximate threats and their root causes in the Caucasus hotspot. The major threats to biodiversity in the region are: illegal logging, fuel wood harvesting and the timber trade; overgrazing; poaching and the illegal wildlife trade; overfishing; infrastructure development; and pollution of rivers and wetlands. These threats lead to habitat degradation, decline of species populations and disruption of ecological processes - all contributing to overall loss of biodiversity.
Illegal Logging, Fuel Wood Harvesting and the Timber Trade
Illegal timber export is a serious problem, particularly for Georgia and Russia, but official estimates of exports are not available. Illegal logging leads to decline in species composition, forest degradation and overall habitat loss, impacting a number of plant and animal species. Fuel wood harvesting and consumption lead to forest degradation and disappearance of certain species and contribute to forest fires and global warming. The Greater Caucasus, West Lesser Caucasus, East Lesser Caucasus and Hyrcan corridors are the most impacted by illegal or unsustainable logging and fuel wood harvesting.
In order to halt illegal logging, independent assessments of the level of illegal logging and timber exports need to be made. Possible measures to combat illegal logging and trade include increasing the capacity of customs and forest inspection agencies to stop illegal trade and monitor logging in forestry enterprises. Information exchange between importing and exporting countries, as well as transboundary cooperation and NGO participation in monitoring the timber trade would help curb illegal logging. Fines for violators could be increased, while increasing the sale price of timber would mean that fewer trees would have to be cut to turn a profit. At the same time, processing wood in the region into construction materials, wood flooring, furniture and other goods would fetch a higher price on regional and international markets, eventually leading to lower levels of timber extraction from forests. Measures to reduce unsustainable fuel wood harvesting include enforcing restrictions on fuel wood harvesting near villages and reducing dependence on fuel wood by providing energy alternatives such as natural gas.
Measures to reduce the impacts of overgrazing include developing sustainable rangeland management plans, enforcing restrictions on grazing in protected areas and prohibiting grazing in damaged fields near rivers and on steep slopes. Furthermore, developing opportunities for alternative sources of income would reduce the need to keep large numbers of livestock in some rural communities.
Poaching and the Illegal Wildlife Trade
Leopard, brown bear, Caucasian red deer, bezoar goat and turs are heavily poached in the Caucasus. There are no more than 25 leopards left in the entire Caucasus region. Tur populations, hunted for their horns and meat, have declined in recent years and there are fewer than 200 Caucasian chamois in the Lesser Caucasus Range. Red deer numbers have fallen in the past few decades as well, particularly in the southern part of the hotspot.
Lynx, otter, wild cat, fox and jackal are killed for their fur. Rare species of falcons are captured and sold abroad. Reptiles and amphibians like common tortoise, Transcaucasian agama and Caucasian salamander have been collected for decades, both for laboratory use and the pet trade. Vipers have long been exploited for their venom. Use of animal parts, such as saiga horns for oriental medicines and leopard skins for decoration, threatens several endangered species. Poaching and unsustainable hunting are rampant in nearly all the corridors.
Measures to reduce poaching include building capacity (training, equipment, transportation) of existing ranger services, inspection agencies and NGO groups to patrol areas where poaching is prevalent. Anti-poaching units within governmental inspection agencies and civil groups could be created to monitor territories outside protected areas. Fines for poachers should be increased and prosecution of violators enforced. New opportunities for providing income to local communities through ecotourism and sustainable resource use should be developed to reduce the need for poaching. Illegal export of animal derivatives should be halted by working with customs agencies across borders and through the TRAFFIC network to reduce demand on world markets.
Measures to halt overfishing include enacting and enforcing bans on threatened fish species and decreasing demand for threatened species on international markets through public awareness campaigns. Fines for illegal fishing should be increased and violators prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Capacity (training, equipment, transportation) of marine and freshwater inspection agencies should be strengthened. Fishing quotas should be established based on independent scientific studies of reproductive capacity of fish populations. Alternative sources of income should be provided for fishermen.
Measures to mitigate impacts of infrastructure development include carrying out independent environmental impact assessments and monitoring, bringing public attention to the environmental consequences of development projects and encouraging development companies to provide funds for protected areas and other conservation measures in areas that will be disturbed by infrastructure projects.
Pollution of Rivers and Wetlands
Large-scale industrial production has decreased dramatically in the last decade as a result of the economic crisis, leading to lower levels of pollution. However, smaller factories generally do not have the means to install effective waste management mechanisms and equipment and runoff waters are highly polluted. Pollution of wetlands and rivers impacts breeding birds and fish populations. Pesticides and fertilizers kill large numbers of invertebrates and make their way up the food chain to birds and even humans. Pollution has impacted freshwater systems in the Kuma-Manych, Arasbaran and Iori-Mingechaur corridors. Pollution from oil extraction, run off and other sources has compromised the integrity of marine ecosystems in the Caspian, Azov and Black seas. Ineffective water management is a serious problem for water conservation in the East Lesser Caucasus and Javakheti corridors.
Measures to reduce pollution of rivers and wetlands include increasing fines for dumping polluted wastewater into rivers and prosecuting violators. Civil society should be involved in monitoring pollution levels in rivers and lakes to determine sources. Dumping of manure and other waste into rivers should be prohibited. Use of pesticides and other chemicals near waterways should be closely monitored by independent groups. Conversion of lands adjacent to rivers and lakes for agriculture should be prohibited.
Political root causes of biodiversity degradation stem from gaps and contradictions in legislation and the lack of a clear delineation of jurisdiction for enforcement agencies. Political and civil conflicts hinder cooperation on nature conservation and military conflicts often result in increased forest fires, logging, poaching and pollution. The lack of transboundary cooperation between countries hinders control of overfishing, illegal trade of timber and wildlife and pollution of waterways.
Institutional root causes include ineffective administrative institutions and enforcement of legislation. Limited coordination among institutions and lack of communication results in duplication of efforts and misunderstandings. Insufficient knowledge of conservation issues among key stakeholders hinders environmental protection efforts. Gaps in protected areas networks and poor protected areas management leads to poaching, illegal logging, overgrazing and other threats. Insufficient research and monitoring means that the extent of illegal logging, overfishing and poaching is unknown and long-term impacts on biodiversity are poorly understood.
Assessment of proximate threats and root causes helps to determine the thematic focus of the CEPF niche. Strategies should aim to address the root causes in order to mitigate threats in the corridors. Targeted programs that empower civil society to improve management of protected areas and capabilities of state conservation agencies and increase transboundary coordination will be important strategic directions for CEPF investment. Programs to create alternative incomes for local communities will be important to reduce the public's dependence on natural resource consumption. Strategies to increase awareness among decisionmakers and the public will promote involvement in and support of conservation activities. Training and support of NGOs and key stakeholders will help them carry out important conservation projects more efficiently and in coordination with existing government efforts, thereby maximizing the effectiveness of all efforts. Tightly defined monitoring and research activities will help us gain a better understanding of the extent of threats to biodiversity and what measures are needed to halt biodiversity loss.
Synopsis of Current Investments
The Russian Government spent more than $13 million on nature conservation in the North Caucasus in 2002, four times more than in 2000. Russia also committed significant funds toward developing a strategy for sustainable development in the mountains of the Adygeya Republic. The Georgian Government recently made a commitment to preserve 15 percent of the country's forests in protected areas (IUCN I-IV) as part of WWF's Gifts to the Earth initiative. The Government of Azerbaijan contributed $1 million to creation of the Shakhdag National Park. The government is developing a program for protection and expansion of forests and for environmentally sustainable socioeconomic development. In the framework of the Caspian Environment Program, the Azerbaijan government is developing a national Caspian Action Plan. The Ministry of Nature Protection in Armenia carried out several projects with support of the GEF and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on combating desertification, climate change and building capacity for implementing the Convention on Biodiversity. The Ministry developed an action plan for Lake Sevan, as well as forest and biodiversity conservation strategies. The Turkish Government has supported biodiversity and natural resource management in the Turkish Caucasus. The Department of Environment in Iran carried out several biological assessment projects in the Caucasus, including in the Ghorigol wetlands, as well as studies of rare flora and fauna in the Caucasus region. In 1995, the Iranian government funded a study and management plan for the Sabalan protected area.
Bilateral and Multilateral Donors
The European Union's Technical Assistance for the Commonwealth of Independent States (EU-TACIS) supported an environmental program on the Black Sea ($5.5 million), as well as projects on improving nature conservation policy and environmental awareness in the region.
The Germany Ministry for Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has supported a project on erosion control in Turkey. The German government funded development of a vision for biodiversity conservation in the Caucasus Ecoregion that also served as a foundation for defining CEPF's proposed investments and will support implementation of selected projects under the Caucasus Initiative of the Government of Germany. The German Bank for Reconstruction and Development (KfW) is funding a $10 million project in Georgia to create the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park and develop communal infrastructure in its support zone.
The Swiss government, in partnership with the World Bank, is financing a Tourism Initiative project for South Caucasus and a WWF project on sustainable use of medicinal plants.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) invested $1.6 million to build disaster management capabilities and $2.3 million on sustainable resource management in Georgia. UNDP is also funding a program on rural development in the Turkish Caucasus.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is actively supporting building environmental awareness in the Caucasus. In the Russian Caucasus, USAID funded projects on promoting environmental education and ecotourism through nature reserves, the mass media and children's camps through the Institute for Sustainable Communities. USAID invested over $6 million in improving water management in the southern Caucasus. The Swiss Government, World Bank, EU and UNDP also contributed funds for that project.
The World Bank provided a $15 million loan to Georgia for establishing sound forest management systems. The World Bank also supported projects in Armenia on natural resources management and poverty reduction, in Azerbaijan on boosting sturgeon populations and creating a national park and on assessing forests on the Turkish-Georgian border. The World Bank/GEF is funding a large-scale protected areas development project in Georgia ($8.7 million), aiming to establish two new national parks and expand existing reserves, as well as provide assistance to the state department of protected areas. The World Bank/GEF is also supporting the creation of a national park in the Kolkheti Lowlands ($2.5 million).
International NGOs and Foundations
The Eurasia Foundation has contributed to rural development and poverty reduction projects in the region. The MacArthur Foundation actively supports civil society in the Caucasus. MacArthur supported creation of the Ecoregional Biodiversity Consultation Council for the Caucasus Ecoregion, as a follow up to its project with WWF on elaborating a portfolio for conserving the region's biodiversity. This portfolio served as a backdrop for deriving CEPF's investment priorities in the Caucasus. MacArthur also financed a conference on threats to the Caspian, as well as work to understand issues related to the changing level of the Azov Sea.
WWF has been working in the Caucasus for more than 10 years through its WWF Georgia (now WWF Caucasus), WWF Turkey and WWF Russia offices. WWF's projects are mainly related to creation of protected areas and improving management of existing reserves, developing ecotourism, promoting environmental education and environmentally sound policies and conserving endangered species.
The Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus (REC Caucasus) operates with core support from the EU and funding from Switzerland, the United States and other countries. REC assists Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in solving environmental problems, supports building civil society, promotes public participation in the decisionmaking process and helps develop the free exchange of information.
In Georgia, the Noah's Ark Center for Recovery of Endangered Species (NACRES) is one of the more active local NGOs. NACRES implements projects on research and monitoring of large carnivores and on protected areas. The Georgian Center for the Conservation of Wildlife (GCCW) carries out projects on environmental awareness and studies of migratory birds and raptors, among others. The Sacred Earth Network provided funding through the GCCW to support the Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN).
Today, CENN is an active nongovernmental organization that acts as a voluntary effort to foster regional cooperation by means of improving communication among environmental organizations of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Most projects run by NGOs in Armenia and Azerbaijan are funded by international donors, such as the GEF, TACIS and USAID. The "Chevre" NGO in Azerbaijan promotes sustainable development and conservation of the southeastern Caucasus.
Opportunities differ from corridor to corridor. Protected areas systems consisting of strict nature reserves are well developed in the Greater Caucasus and West Lesser Caucasus corridors, where efforts are needed to connect existing reserves with wildlife corridors. Protected areas in the Caspian, East Lesser Caucasus and Hyrcan corridors are mostly sanctuaries with low protected status and require strengthening. Support for promoting transboundary cooperation is needed in all five corridors. Nearly all corridors require funding for increasing public awareness and support from decisionmakers for biodiversity conservation in the region. Support for introducing sustainable means of resource use and promoting alternative livelihoods in local communities is virtually non-existent in all corridors.
CEPF Niche for Investment in the Region
The biological basis for the CEPF niche is determined by the species outcomes - globally threatened species found in the Caucasus according to the 2002 IUCN Red List. These species are the primary basis for conservation action in the region and the foundation upon which all other priorities—site and corridor outcomes—were determined. It is important to note that investment will be concentrated in the corridors that contain the majority of these species. Additional funding should be sought to cover species located outside of these corridors. Monitoring of populations of globally threatened species over the long term will help ascertain whether or not conservation programs are successful. Over time, the list of globally threatened species for the Caucasus should be updated, as more information on restricted-range and threatened species is gathered in the region.
The geographical basis for the CEPF niche in the Caucasus hotspot was elaborated during the process of determining conservation outcomes. The globally threatened species (species outcomes) were found to be concentrated in 205 sites throughout the hotspot (site outcomes). These sites were grouped where possible into 10 broad corridors (corridor outcomes). Thirty-three sites, that contain globally threatened species, did not fall under any of the corridors and should be targeted individually through additional funding opportunities. Wide-ranging species (landscape species) are not limited to specific corridors and should be targeted separately where necessary. While the corridors are not targeted for protection as entire blocks, they indicate priority areas where precise measures can be taken to complement existing conservation programs.
In order to narrow the geographical niche to account for limited CEPF funding, five priority corridors were delineated from the original 10, taking into account representativeness, level of biodiversity, threats, current investments and other factors. These target corridors are the Greater Caucasus, Caspian, West Lesser Caucasus, East Lesser Caucasus and Hyrcan corridors. The five corridors, covering 14.2 million hectares, account for 68 percent of the total area and 66 percent of the site outcomes of all 10 corridors. Ninety percent (46) of the species outcomes are found in these five corridors, including all six critically endangered species. All 18 landscape species are represented within the five target corridors. Fourteen of the 17 restricted-range species found in all 10 corridors are in the selected five. Over half of the bird congregation areas are concentrated in the five corridors. Nearly 90 percent of the protected areas found in the 10 corridors are located within the five priority corridors. All major habitats are represented in the target corridors.
The threat of habitat degradation and irreversible biodiversity loss is also greatest in the five target corridors. Illegal and unsustainable logging and fuelwood collection threaten habitats in these five corridors, leading to forest degradation, deforestation and species extinctions. Poaching poses serious threats to biodiversity and endangered species in all five corridors. Overgrazing is impacting fragile mountain meadow habitats in the Greater Caucasus and East Lesser Caucasus corridors. Overfishing is wiping out fish populations and related biodiversity in the Caspian, West Lesser Caucasus and Hyrcan corridors. Infrastructure development and poor water management is a problem in three of the corridors. Thus, the five corridors have a representative array of problems to be resolved through investment in conservation programs. The Caspian and Hyrcan corridors in particular have received limited international assistance and government support. All six countries are represented in the target corridors, which is important for ensuring support from each of the national governments. Finally, these five corridors provide unprecedented opportunities for promoting transboundary cooperation, since each of the corridors crosses the boundaries of two or more countries in the hotspot. Additional sources of funding will need to be identified to resolve important conservation issues in the remaining five corridors and sites not covered by corridors.
The thematic basis for the CEPF niche was elaborated as a result of analysis of threats to biodiversity at the species, sites and corridor level. Major threats include overgrazing, poaching, illegal logging, fuel wood harvesting, overfishing and infrastructure development. The thematic niche for CEPF should address the socioeconomic, political and institutional root causes of these threats—lack of awareness, lack of economic opportunities, poor management of protected areas, etc.—while monitoring the status of globally threatened species and their habitats. The thematic niche—CEPF's strategic directions—includes targeted actions led by civil society actors, such as strengthening the protected areas network, for example, by developing management plans for protected areas in target corridors and linking existing protected areas into a continuous network of reserves (Econet). CEPF can support efforts of civil society to promote transboundary cooperation to ensure conservation of transborder ecosystems and threatened species. The thematic niche includes fighting poverty in local communities by implementing model projects on alternative income generation and sustainable resource use, reducing pressures on natural ecosystems. CEPF can play an important role in building capacity of civil society and conservation agencies through training and technical support and in promoting awareness and support of decisionmakers and the general public on biodiversity conservation issues in target corridor areas. Components of the strategic directions should be carried out in the corridors where they will have the greatest impact.
The institutional basis for the CEPF niche was determined as a result of the rapid socioeconomic analysis and assessment of institutional capacity. Legislation supporting nature conservation is generally in place in all the countries, though contradictions exist and enforcement capabilities are less than optimal. Governmental environmental agencies have representative branches in all five target corridors, but these are under funded and can only cover basic operational costs. NGOs are well established in the Greater Caucasus, Caspian and West Lesser Caucasus corridors, but have limited capacity and funding. International NGOs are active in most of the corridors. Protected areas with experienced scientific and administrative staff can serve as the basis for conservation projects related to species conservation and other areas in the target corridors. Target groups for funding-the institutional niche-are NGOs and other parts of civil society (universities, institutes, etc.) that can work with governmental agencies to fill in gaps where state funds fall short, as well as protected areas staff and individuals involved in conservation in the region. Governmental conservation agencies would also benefit from training programs and other capacity building measures facilitated by civil groups.
The funding niche was determined based on analysis of current investments in the Caucasus and taking into consideration that CEPF funds are limited and the timeframe is only five years. CEPF funding can help fill funding gaps in the protected areas system—the foundation—by supporting ongoing efforts to create new reserves and wildlife corridors. Improving reserve management through development and implementation of management plans will help ensure that existing reserves are effective in conserving biodiversity within the target corridors. Promoting transboundary cooperation in the target corridors would help governments realize programs on transboundary conservation set out in bilateral agreements. In order to ensure persistence of the globally threatened species, conservation mechanisms such as international conventions on biodiversity and the IUCN Red List need to be updated and enforced. State conservation agencies would benefit from training and support in implementing conventions. Small grants targeted at conservation of all globally threatened species would ensure that these species receive the attention of the conservation community and serve as indicators for conservation success in the region. Model projects on alternative income generation for local communities and sustainable resource use are good investments that will demonstrate the benefits of sustainable nature use and become self-financing in the long run.
To reiterate, the CEPF niche for investment was formulated based on five major parameters: evaluation of the most important biological factors, determination of priority geographical areas, potential impact of thematic directions, assessment of available institutional capacity and analysis of current funding gaps and opportunities. The outcome of this evaluation is that CEPF investment should be focused on conserving globally threatened species, the majority of which are found in five target corridors: Greater Caucasus, Caspian, West Lesser Caucasus, East Lesser Caucasus and Hyrcan. The main threats to biodiversity and species in these target corridors stem from illegal logging, overgrazing, poaching, overfishing and infrastructure development. Thus CEPF funding should focus primarily on mediating the root causes of these threats in the five corridors—lack of economic opportunities, lack of transboundary cooperation, lack of awareness, poor protected area management and others. Existing civil society institutions, protected areas and conservation agencies should be the target groups for CEPF funding, as they have the greatest potential to realize projects for mitigating threats and halting biodiversity loss in the Caucasus hotspot.
CEPF Investment Strategy and Program Focus
Table 4. CEPF strategic directions and investment priorities in the Caucasus hotspot
|Strategic Directions||Investment Priorities|
|1. Support civil society efforts to promote transboundary cooperation and improve protected area systems in five target corridors||1.1 Promote transboundary cooperation by carrying out joint initiatives and harmonizing existing projects to conserve border ecosystems and species and site outcomes|
|1.2 Support existing efforts to create new protected areas and wildlife corridors through planning processes and co-financing efforts|
|1.3 Develop and implement management plans for model protected areas with broad participation of stakeholders|
|2. Strengthen mechanisms to conserve biodiversity of the Caucasus hotspot with emphasis on species, site and corridor outcomes||2.1 Provide funding for research and implementation of the Caucasus Red List re-assessments, particularly for poorly represented taxas such as plants, invertebrates, reptiles and fish|
|2.2 Under one CEPF/Small Grant mechanism, focus small grant efforts on supporting efforts to conserve 50 globally threatened species in the hotspot|
|2.3 Provide support to conservation agencies specifically to improve implementation of international conventions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands|
|3. Implement models demonstrating sustainable resource use in five target corridors||3.1 Evaluate and implement models for sustainable forestry, water use and range management|
|3.2 Under one CEPF/Small Grant mechanism, focus small grant efforts on supporting existing NGOs to undertake projects focused on developing alternative livelihoods, such as ecotourism, collection of non-timber forest products and sustainable hunting and fishing|
|3.3 Support civil society efforts to mitigate, participate in and monitor development projects|
|4. Increase the awareness and commitment of decisionmakers to biodiversity conservation in five target corridors||4.1 Develop local capacity to train environmental journalists and develop incentives to write on environmental issues, targeting decisionmakers in particular|
|4.2 Develop a communications campaign to increase environmental awareness in the Caucasus hotspot|