Kolkheti National Park from now on is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
July 28, 2021
Georgia has been working for several years to offer a UNESCO World Heritage Site and finally, Colchic rainforests and Wetlands were nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage in 2019. The site proposed by Georgia for UNESCO was accepted on July 26, 2021. Kolkheti National Park is one of the main parts of this site. The above-mentioned site, which includes 4 protected areas – Mtirala National Park, Kolkheti National Park, Kintrishi, and Kobuleti Protected Areas – is presenting an important part of the Caucasus eco-region and the Black Sea Basin. The site comprises seven component parts, within an 80km long corridor along the warm-temperate and extremely humid eastern coast of the Black Sea. The main ecosystems are the ancient deciduous Colchis rain forests and wetlands, which are widely represented in the Kolkheti National Park. The site is home to approximately 1,100 species of vascular and non-vascular plants, including 44 threatened vascular plant species, and almost 500 species of vertebrates, and a high number of invertebrate species. The site also harbors 19 threatened animal species including sturgeon, notably the critically endangered Colchic Sturgeon. It is a key stopover for many globally threatened birds that migrate through the Batumi bottleneck. Granting the status of the World Heritage Site will enhance the recognition of protected areas of Georgia on a national, as well as on international level, which will ensure better conservation of these areas, development of eco-tourism in selected areas which, as a result, will be beneficial for improving social-economic conditions of local people living adjacent to protected areas. Kolkheti national park, which is the main part of this site, is also an important part of the project – “Joint Monitoring for Environmental Protection in BSB countries”- which aims to develop a methodology for identifying and addressing common problems within Protected Areas. The main result of the project will be the creation of an intelligent platform for environmental data collection, processing, and analysis, which will improve the monitoring and protection of biodiversity in protected areas, including the Kolkheti National Park.