The existing system for protected areas in Armenia was established in 1958, and the network currently covers around 311,000ha, or 10% of the total area of the country. At least 60% of the species of fauna and flora found in Armenia are represented within the protected areas system. Four types of protected areas are recognised under existing laws: state reserves, state conservation areas, national parks and natural monuments.
The recent Law on Specially Protected Territories defines the following categories of protected areas:
Despite the size and history of the protected areas network, there are a number of problems with the design and management of protected areas which reduces their effectiveness for biodiversity conservation.
Prior to the collapse of the former Soviet Union a number of laws regulated biodiversity conservation outside protected areas, including human activities around rivers, water catchments and resorts, use of pastures, and collection of species. However, many of these regulations are now out of date, and do not take account of the new economic situation. Three regulations are implemented by the Ministry of Nature Protection: (1) licensing of hunting and fisheries; (2) licensing for the collection and storage of wild medicinal plants; and (3) ecological assessment of any new business activity.
By law, hunting and fisheries can only be conducted under licence and with a special contract. Each season a range of expert bodies are consulted for guidance on populations, hunting methods and likely impacts. On the basis of his information the Ministry of Nature Protection issues the appropriate number and size of permits for hunting or fisheries. Similar assessments are made of populations of wild medicinal plants before permits are issued.
Map - State Reserves
Five State Reserves covering a total area of approximately 685 km2 (or 1.5% of the national territory) have been established in Armenia:
Today regulation and administrative structure are set up only for three State Reserves (Dilijan, Sev Lich and Khosrov).
|Located||Central Armenia, Southern part of Gheghama mountains, close to the hills of Arax valley. Basin of Azat and Khosrov rivers, at the altitude of 1400-2250 m|
|Conservation Objects||Meadow, montain-meadow, soils of chestnut color. Dry, thick forest, mountain dry vegetation (frigana) and semi-desert landscapes, unique plant and animal communities. Contains >50% of all Armenian flora and 171 animal species (60 endemic species)|
|Primary conservation problems||One of the most important Protected Areas in Armenia. Conservation situation relatively good. Lack of equipment and human resources to ensure basic conservation activities|
|Located||North-Eastern Armenia, Mountain ranges of Pambak, Areguni, Ghugark. The basins of Agstev and Getik rivers at altitude of 1000-2300 m|
|Conservation Objects||Beech and Oak Mesophyl Forests typical to Caucasus Region. Unique natural, historical & architectural monuments (Church of Aghpat ), forest fauna mainly consists of (Bear, Wolf, Wild Cat, Roe Deer, etc.)|
|Primary conservation problems||Uncontrolled urban and industrial development inside the reserve. Boundary & Zoning Scheme to be revised. Proposed Timber Extraction|
|Located||Southern Armenia, Basins of Tzav and Shikahogh rivers at altitude of 700-2400 m.|
|Conservation objects||Oak and Horn-beam forests with typical wildlife communities|
|Primary Conservation Problems||Conservation of habitats currently not ensured due to (a) lack of legal framework and adequate management structure (b) lack of resources|
|Located||Southern Armenia, Crater of Great Ishkhanakar mountain, in the volcanic plateau of Sunik, Mountain-Meadow soils, Glaciers|
|Conservation objects||Unique communities of volcanic lake ecosystem. Endemic plants and animals|
|Primary conservation problems||Critical conservation status; lack of adequate baseline ecological research|
|Located||Vicinities of Yerevan. Depleted slopes of Arax mountain ranges, Abovian district.|
|Conservation objects||Semi-desert, soils of chestnut color. Endemic xerophitic and unique natural mountain vegetation in Central Armenia. Significant populations of wild crops.|
|Primary conservation problems||Lack of a Buffer Zone and limited area results in disturbance to natural habitat caused by the urban development on boundaries.|
Map - State Reservations
It was projected to found Twenty-two State Reservations in Armenia.The projected area covers approximately 870 km2 (or 3.5% of the national territory). However, these reservations have not been established yet, since there should be developed some legislation defining the boundaries, management responsibilities and organisational structure for each reserve. 16 of the 22 State Reservations are managed directly by the Ministry of Nature Protection, 6 are currently under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture. The Ministry of Nature Protection is responsible to foster and regulate the legal basis of each reserve, in close collaboration with local authorities and other involved ministries. "State reservations are established to protect areas with unique natural habitats, ecosystems, and species. The difference between the reserves and the reservations concerns the objectives: a strictly regulated economic and sustainable use of natural resources is among the management objectives of state reservations" (MoNP).
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