February 2 - Wetlands Day

02 Feb 2021

February 2 - Wetlands Day

The South Caucasus region is located at the intersection of three geographical zones: the Mesophilic Caucasus, the Iranian desert-semi-desert, and the subtropical zones of the southern Mediterranean. The rich biodiversity of this region is due to wide climate variations, high zoning, as well as constant penetration, habitat and distribution of new species from the North, South, West and East.

The South Caucasus is considered a crossroads of mass bird migration.

The variety of bird species in this region is amazing, 352 species are known in Armenia, more than 393 species in Georgia. Both the economies of the former Soviet Union and the Caucasus are in a state of transition. At this new stage, it is necessary for human-nature relations in society to move to a new level. Today, more than ever, it is necessary to strengthen the protection mechanisms of the bird habitat of the South Caucasus, especially of the endangered species. In recent years, anthropogenic degradation of landscapes for socio-economic reasons has been a serious problem for the countries of the South Caucasus. The situation is especially aggravated due to the lack of public services, environmental deficiencies, lack of ecological education in large areas of society. Human activity has a particularly detrimental effect on wetland habitats. At the same time, it should be noted that the water resources of Transcaucasia are of world importance. Thus, for example, Lake Sevan and some other water areas in Armenia, in Georgia, the wetlands of the Colchis lowlands, the high lakes of Javakheti, are included in the Convention on Wet Landscapes of International Importance (Ramsar, 1992).

Wetlands of this region are part of the geographical chain, connecting the fauna of Caspian, Mediterranean and Caspian seas. All this, as well as strategically important freshwater resources, testify to the importance of preserving wetlands in the South Caucasus. Pollution of water resources, eutrophication, thinning of rivers reduce the number of wetland birds, worsen their living conditions.

In planning and carrying out such economic activities, less attention has been paid to their ecological consequences, as a result of which the bird world has suffered, and a potential threat to public health has arisen. To correct such an alarming environmental situation, we need the activation of all the countries of the South Caucasus.

The features of wetlands and their characteristic bird habitat  are conditioned to their dynamics, which have become especially evident in recent years due to the intensity of anthropogenic pressure on the environment. As an example, we can cite the artificial drying of Lake Gill,the process of installing artificial fish ponds for fish-eating birds that settle in the Araks river valley after the level of Lake Sevan in Armenia has decreased.

After 2/3 dried up of Lake Khanchal in Georgia, and the fall of small lakes in southern Georgia, waterfowl began to appear in the Tsalski Reservoir, which had not been found there before.

Thus, aquatic landscapes and wetland birds now need constant monitoring. The results of these observations will be of great value, and they can be a valuable indicator of the environment.

The extinction of viable populations from habitat indicates endangered ecological status․

The current state of the bird habitat of the wetland landscapes of the South Caucasus is a rather serious problem, it is also a migration crossroads of a number of seasonal birds. The problem of protection of bird biodiversity is still relevant in our country.

Active research in this region will have a positive impact on both the conservation of birds as an integral part of the environment and the preservation of wetland habitats as an important factor in climate regulation.                         

                                                            Author S. Adamyan, co-author N. Sahakyan


List of references

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