Adaptation to Climate Change Impacts in Mountain Forest Ecosystems of Armenia
Armenia’s forests have been identified as a global conservation priority inasmuch as they fall under the Caucasus-Anatolian-Hyrcanian Temperate Forests Ecoregion that has been listed by WWF as a Global 200 Ecoregion, and by Conservation International as a biodiversity hotspot.
Climate aridation is already evidenced in Armenia resulting in altitudinal shifts of forests, especially in the mountainous parts of the south-east. The semi-desert and steppe vegetation belts have expanded and the alpine vegetation belt has reduced. Over the last 80 years the average annual precipitation has decreased by 6% and temperature has increased by 0.85°C in Armenia. This is expected to worsen in light of anticipated climate change scenarios. According to the Initial and the Second National Communication, climate aridation has accelerated due to climate change, with the southern forests particularly vulnerable. Almost all the tree species in the southern forests of Armenia are vulnerable.
In addition to natural arid conditions, climate aridation creates more favorable conditions for pest reproduction. At present, the forest area damaged annually by insects is approximately 20,000 ha. It is estimated that in southern Armenia, more than 2,000 ha of valuable oak forests have already died. Also the frequency of forest fires is increasing due to climate aridation. The success of natural regeneration is significantly reduced under the changing climate conditions leading to further degradation of the disturbed forests.
Project goal and objective:
The goal of the project is to improve climate change resilience of forest ecosystems in Armenia. The project’s specific objective is to enhance national capacities to adapt to anticipated climate change impacts in the affected south-eastern forests of Armenia.
- The enabling environment for integrating climate change risks into management of forest ecosystems is in place;
- Forest and protected area management in the South-Eastern Syunik region integrates pilot adaptation measures to enhance adaptive capacity of mountain forest ecosystems;
- Capacities for adaptive management, monitoring and evaluation, learning, and replication of project lessons are developed.