Wildlife and Nature

“It is simply in the nature of Armenian to study, to learn, to question, to speculate, to discover, to invent, to revise, to restore, to preserve, to make, and to give.”

William Saroyan

 

Armenian nature is so rich and plentiful, that there is always something remaining to discover. Armenia is located in the Southern Caucasus. The country has great altitudinal variation (from 375 meters to the 4,095 m) and great range of climatic zones. The various climatic zones resulted in a diversity of landscapes and ecosystems with high value of endemism.

The largest lake of Armenia is Sevan Lake, the location of which is at 1916 m a.s.l., between mountain ranges of Gegham, Vardenis, Sevan and Areguni.

Being situated in one of the world’s “hotspots” for biodiversity small by its area Armenia (about 30,000 km²) is notable for an incredibly rich and diverse world of plants. Here, on the area, that forms only 6.7% of the territory of Caucasus, almost a half of the Caucasian flora is found – about 3600 vascular plant species!

Almost all the habitat types typical for the region may be found in Armenia. Semi-deserts, juniper and arid open forests, steppes, forests, meadows, subalpine high herbaceous communities and alpine carpets, also miniature deserts, wetlands and various wide-spread plant communities of rocks and screes change each other on a distance of just about a few tens km.

The territory of Armenia is the one of the most ancient areas of origin and development of agriculture. This is a place, where donors and progenitors of many cultivated plants, which are represented with great number of forms, have survived till now. There are more than 100 forms of wild wheat in Armenia. Very high diversity is also observed for fruit trees as almond (Amygdalus fenzliana, A.nairica), apricot (Armeniaca vulgaris), walnut (Juglans regia), pomegranate (Punica granatum) and others. Big number of species is used in various areas of industry; local population uses many plants for medicinal proposes, as a food and other.

There are many endemic plants in Armenia including local endemics that are known only from one location in the country. Certain species and unique plant communities of regional and global conservation concern are the subjects of special interest in Armenia.

Amazing fauna of the country includes about 17500 animal species (including 330 endemic species). The largest group of vertebrates is birds. 359 bird species are recorded for Armenia, when in whole Europe you can find 700 species! The mammals are the second largest group of vertebrates with 83 species. The symbols of the wildlife of the country are wild goat (Capra aegagrus), Armenian mouflon (Ovis orientalis gmelini) and Persian leopard (Panthera pardus). One of the most magnificent creatures of nature is reptiles. The endemic reptile such as parthenogenetic (unisexual breeding) Armenian lizard (Darevskia armeniaca) or Armenian mountain viper (Vipera raddei) are beauties of our nature. The number of invertebrate species is about 17,000.

The biodiversity is preserved through Nature Specially Protected Areas Network. Armenian NSPA’s consist of three state reserves, four national parks, 230 natural monuments, and 26 state sanctuaries.