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Development of the Protected Area Network in Georiga

WWF-Caucasus Programme Office is dedicated to strengthening and supporting existing protected areas (PAs) while assisting with the creation of news ones. We are increasing awareness about the range of ecosystem services that PAs provide and using collaboration and transboundary cooperation to enhance the biodiversity protection in Georgia’s PAs. 
As of 2020, Georgia’s protected areas expanded up to 793 351 hectares, covering 11.38% of the country’s territory. 
WWF-Caucasus Programme Office has also been involved in the development of the following protected areas in Georgia: Asa Managed Reserve, Bughdasheni Managed Reserve, Kartsakhi Managed Reserve, Khanchali Managed Reserve, Ktsia-Tabatskuri Managed Reserve, Machakhela National Park, Madatapa Managed Reserve, Nedzvi Managed Reserve, Roshka Natural Monument, Sulda Managed Reserve, and Tetrobi Managed Reserve.
WWF-Caucasus is working to develop new PAs and connect existing PAs, creating migration paths for birds and animals while simultaneously supporting the development of ecotourism. Javakheti National Park in southern Georgia is of special interest because it is the first ever transboundary protected area in the South Caucasus, bordering Turkey to the south west and Armenia to the east. It is recognized as a globally important staging and breeding ground for migratory and resident bird species. 

Colchis rainforests and wetlands are also an area of focus within Georgia’s PA system. This landscape is a source of natural and ecological heritage, home to globally significant peatlands and mires. Mtirala National Park is located just 35 km outside of Batumi, and covers almost 15,700 hectares, including the nearly intact Colchic forests, home to rare species of flora and fauna, many of which are endangered and endemic to the region. The Colchic rainforests and wetlands of Kolkheti National Park inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List and home to rare species of flora and fauna as a glacial refugia. 

In 1995, Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park became the first national park in Georgia to comply with international national park standards. Since establishment, it has contributed to the protection of biodiversity in Georgia while simultaneously enabling ecotourism opportunities, like the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park Visitor Center which was renovated by WWF within the Transboundary Joint Secretariat (TJS) project in 2021.
The recently established Erusheti National Park is home to many globally threatened species and contributes substantially to strengthening transboundary cooperation in the South Caucasus as the park borders Turkey. As part of the same initiative, Racha National Park is also planned and is expected to be established after the approval from the Government of Georgia. WWF-Caucasus is also involved in the process of establishing Guria National Park, which aims at conserving the rich biodiversity of Guria mountain landscapes while maintaining ecosystem services of the region for the benefit of the both the wildlife and the people who live in the landscape.