Western Caucasus

Western Caucasus

:" This article concerns the World Heritage Site. For other meanings, see Caucasus (disambiguation) and Caucasia (disambiguation).The Western Caucasus is a western region of Caucasus from the Black Sea to Mount Elbrus. It includes a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site situated 50 km to the north from the Russian resort of Sochi, comprising the extreme western edge of the Caucasus Mountains. As stated by the UNESCO specialists, it is the only large mountain area in Europe that has not experienced significant human impact. Its habitats are exceptionally varied for such a small area, ranging from lowlands to glaciers.

The area contains the Caucasian State Nature Biosphere Reserve ( _ru. Кавказский государственный природный биосферный заповедник), nature reserve (IUCN management category Ia [ [http://www.unesco.org/mabdb/br/brdir/directory/biores.asp?code=RUS+01&mode=all Kavkazskiy Bisophere Reserve] profile at UNESCO website] ) set up by the Soviet government in Krasnodar Krai, Adygea and Karachay-Cherkessia in 1924 to preserve some 85 m-high specimens of the Nordmann Fir ("Abies nordmanniana"), thought to be the tallest trees in Europe, and a unique forest formed by English Yew ("Taxus baccata") and European Box ("Buxus sempervirens") within the city of Sochi. About a third of its high mountain species of plants are recognized as endemic. The area also includes the Sochi National Park (IUCN management category II).

The Western Caucasus is also the place of origin and of reintroduction of the Caucasian Wisent. The last wild wisent in the world was killed by poachers here in 1927. The wisents were reintroduced several decades later.


Further reading

*Алтухов Михаил Данилович, Литвинская Светлана Анатольевна. "Охрана растительного мира на Северо-Западном Кавказе". Krasnodar: Краснодарское книжное издательство, 1989.
*Кавказский заповедник. In "Заповедники СССР. Заповедники Кавказа". Moscow: Мысль, 1990. P. 69-100. ISBN 5244004328

External links

* [http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/900 Western Caucasus as a World Heritage Site]
* [http://www.nhpfund.org/nominations/western_caucasus.html Western Caucasus] at [http://www.nhpfund.org/ Natural Heritage Protection Fund]
* [http://sws.sochi.ru/sochi/siti/bio-zap-eng.htm Russian page about the Western Caucasus]
* [http://www.kgpbz.ru/ Caucasian Reserve Website]

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