In Georgia, the area covered by forests is approximately 2.8 million hectares which is about 40% of the country’s territory. Forest plays an essential role in the economic and social life of the country. The relationship between people and the natural resources of a landscape, they live in, is a complex one. People can depend heavily on their surrounding resources for subsistence aspects of their daily life.
The IUCN Caucasus Cooperation Center started the Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) project in January 2012. The main aim of the FLR study is to closely define the level and scope of such dependency and to identify and evaluate the factors that contribute to whether communities are functioning efficiently in relationship to their natural resource base.
In this context the following activities were carried out:
- The FLR project was implemented through field surveys among the local population. Pilot sites were selected based on previous work carried out in the framework of the IUCN/ENPI-FLEG Program, as well as based on their specific characteristics. The field survey took place in three regions: Village Jebota (Tianeti Municipality), Village Zemo Alvani (Akhmeta Municipality) and Village Tsagveri (Borjomi municipality).
- 140 households were interviewed to see various models and scales of the dependency of local population on forest resources.
The field survey revealed the following usage of forest resources by the local population:
The villages located in the low land area, with relatively mild climate and availability of diverse agricultural products are less dependent on forest resources. The villages located on a higher altitude, with less arable land and less favorable climatic conditions are more dependent on forest resources. The dependency includes intensive usage of timber forest resources mainly as fire-wood and usage of non-timber forest resources, but in relatively low scales. Natural gas as an alternative energy supply is available in two (out of three) pilot villages, but due to high cost it is used only for cooking. The main source for heating still remains fire-wood.
Within the second phase of the ENPI-FLEG Program, IUCN plans to follow up on this FLR pilot project.
Project Donor: GIZ
Project Duration: 01/2012-11/2012
Contact person: Marika Kavtarishvili