Azerbaijan is at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, in the Southern Caucasus region. Forests cover approximately 12% of the country, and are situated primarily in the mountainous regions with only 15% of the forests in the lowland.
Three teenagers studying under a tree

Forests are considered one of the most valuable natural resources in Azerbaijan because they fulfill important functions such as: soil protection, water catchment and storage, climate buffering and habitat for biodiversity. However, forests are vulnerable, and sustainable forest management is a prerequisite to their continued existence. For this reason, IUCN supports Azerbaijani institutions and communities to develop effective forest governance and administration strategies.  

Since the beginning of the first phase of the FLEG Program in 2009, IUCN has engaged in constructive dialogues with Azerbaijani authorities, local communities, forest sector stakeholders and academic institutions to identify the most critical environmental challenges and address them in a collaborative manner. The IUCN-FLEG team has been working with these entities on three main themes:

  • effective forest restoration in the arid regions of the country;
  • assessment of the use of forest resources by rural Azerbaijani communities; and
  • technical support for the development of local climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in rural communities.


Azerbaijani Rural Communities and Forests: A Profound Connection

We will certainly take into careful consideration the data provided by the FLEG team in the formulation and implementation of effective measures to manage forest resources sustainably. Maintaining and implementing development based on the principles of sustainable natural resource management can and does contribute to the diversification of the economy and the creation of new job positions.” Shamil Huseynov, Chair of NPAC and member of the national Parliament

Ready or not, climate change will have serious impacts on forest communities in Azerbaijan 

“Even climbing the highest peaks begins with the first step. This report gives Azerbaijani officials a solid understanding of the challenges and importance of addressing climate change in Azerbaijan’s forest landscapes so they can make wise decisions when taking the necessary next steps.” Azer Garayev, FLEG II Country Program Coordinator for IUCN Azerbaijan

Are Azerbaijan’s Ancient Forest Communities Ready for Climate Change?

“Forest communities and forest beneficiaries should understand both the economic and social aspects of climate change impacts such as how long lasting hot days during the summer season can lead to ‘heat stresses’ and increase the incidence of fire. We hope this project will give us a better understanding of what people in Azerbaijan’s forest communities know and don’t yet know about how climate change could impact them and what they can do about it.” Azer Garayev, FLEG II Country Program Coordinator for IUCN Azerbaijan

Forest Heroes: Ayla Alieva, Azerbaijan 


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