The Caucasus is located between the Black and Caspian seas, and encompasses Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia and Iran. Among its 6,500 known plant species this 'biological crossroads' hosts over 2,000 endemic species. Since 2006, in partnership with project partners in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, we have safeguarded 2,482 species.
The Caucasus has a huge tapestry of different habitats and is internationally recognised as one of the world's 34 biodiversity hotspots.
Many of the plants are still used by local people for medicines, food, fire wood, building materials, and cultural practices. Wild relatives of agricultural crops, such as apples and wheat, are also found here, making it an important source of genetic material to farmers and economic botanists (Vincent et al., 2013).
The region faces significant threats from illegal logging, over-grazing, poaching, urban development and climate change.
The Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) and its regional partners have been working to collect and conserve seeds within the Caucasus with the ultimate objective of safeguarding the whole flora of the region.
Partners prioritise the most important species, which are generally endemic, threatened and useful, including those with cultural significance.
The MSB supports partners in staff training as well as resource and capacity development.
This programme aims to develop a sustainable network of plant conservation personnel with the skills and facilities to carry out this vital work both today and into the future.
Current projects (click project titles for details)
Past projects (click project titles for details)
Recent publications from seed conservation projects in the Caucasus include:
- Faruk, A., Papikyan, A. and Nersesyan, A. (2021) Exploring effective conservation of charismatic flora: Orchids of Armenia as a case study. Diversity. 13: 624. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/d13120624.
|Armenia||Institute of Botany, National Academy of Science of the Republic of Armenia|
|Azerbaijan||Institute of Botany, Azerbaijan National Academy of Science|
|Azerbaijan||Genetic Resource Institute, Azerbaijan National Academy of Science|
|Georgia||National Botanical Gardens of Georgia (NBGG)|
|Georgia||Institute of Botany, Ilia University of Georgia|
For further information please contact Ian Willey, Country Project Officer (Caucasus and Indonesia).