TEXT ONLY             CONTACT             FAQ             SEARCH             SITE MAP




CEPF in the News

E-News Subscribe

In Focus Features

Press Releases




Support for Georgia’s Newest National Park

Sept. 1, 2007

An effort to better manage the area surrounding a new national park in the Republic of Georgia recently received a funding boost from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).

Situated high in the Caucasus Mountains, Mtirala National Park, which was officially designated in June, will help safeguard diverse plants and animals that live within its borders. While the designation is an exciting development for conservation, people living outside the park also face the challenge of balancing a potential influx of tourists with the need to sustain their natural resources.

Support from CEPF for the Association for Nature Protection and Sustainable Use, or Mta-Bari, will help the more than 12,000 local residents meet these challenges.

Of the 35,000-hectare buffer zone, 20,000 hectares are forests that provide a home for species such as the Vulnerable Caucasian salamander (Mertensiella caucasica) and the endemic Caucasian snowcock (Tetraogallus caucasicus). The area is part of the larger Caucasus biodiversity hotspot, a fragile region wedged between the Black and Caspian seas where people face growing pressures to clear forests for fuel wood.

“Because villages are scattered among forested areas in the buffer zone, local communities heavily depend on forest resources (both wood and non-wood) for their livelihoods,” said Zurab Manvelidze, chairman of Mta-Bari and coordinator of the project.

Mta-Bari will implement the project as part of the CEPF strategic direction in the hotspot of implementing models demonstrating sustainable resource use in five target corridors. The aim is to help the residents living in the buffer zone more effectively manage their natural resources.

The funding will help Mta-Bari raise community awareness of the importance of buffer zone protection, and also work with communities to develop a management plan for the area around the park.

Additionally, the organization is working to gain legal recognition of the buffer zone. CEPF support is expected to continue beyond the scope of this initial project to help implement community-run sustainable resource projects in the future.

CEPF investment in the Mtirala area also complements the work of several partners working within the national park itself, including the government of Norway and WWF.

For more information, contact , Chairman, Mta-Bari.

Subscribe to the Newsletter or View more top stories Tell a Friend About CEPF

© Zurab Manvelidze, Mta-Bari
The Mtirala National Park will protect a unique ecosystem of forests and wildlife in the western part of Georgia's Lesser Caucasus mountain range.

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.

Visit the News & Feature Archive for this hotspot.

© 2007 Conservation International        Privacy Policy      Terms of Use

Photo credits for banner images: (Frog) © CI, Haroldo Castro; (Chameleon) © CI, Russell A. Mittermeier