Due to the diversity of altitudes, climates and landscapes found in the country, Armenia supports a surprisingly high diversity of plants and animals, including many endemic, relict and rare species. Armenia is botanically diverse; some 3,500 species of vascular plants have been recorded, giving a density of higher plants (100 spp./km2) that is one of the highest in the world. In addition, tens of thousands of lower plants and bacteria species have been recorded from Armenia. More than 17,500 species of animals have been recorded from Armenia, including 500 vertebrate species.
Agricultural species are of particular importance in Armenia. Armenia is considered one of the most important centers for agrobiodiversity in the world, and represents a relatively large area supporting wild relatives of crops and agricultural varieties. The people of Armenia have used these natural resources for over 5000 years, and have built important relationships between human society and agrobiodiversity, both through breeding and through use of agricultural lands. Indeed, natural pastures and meadows represent a crucial natural resource for Armenia, occupying a third of the area of the country.
In general, the biological resources of Armenia are recognized as being the basis for effective economic and social development, and are seen to have a role in creating a healthy environment. Forest habitats, in particular, have important ecological roles, although they cover less than 11% of the country. As well as being an important source for industrial, agricultural and food resources, forests are responsible for regulation of climate, water balance, and heat circulation.
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