Ecosystem – The Caucasian Biosphere Reserve

The region surrounding Sochi is part of the Caucasus mountain range, a 3,000 km2 biodiversity hotspot. Many of the plant species found in the Sochi region are listed in the IUCN Red List.

At least 153 mammals, of which 20% are endemic and as many as 400 species of birds, of which 25% are endemic, inhabit the region.

About 22 of the 77 species of reptiles, 4 of the 14 species of amphibians and more than one third of the 200 species of fish are also endemic to this region. In a separate project, UNEP is faciltating a process of consultation among the countries comprising the Caucasus mountain range to protect its unique environment.

The Western Caucasus is home to threatened species such as the Persian leopard, which is celebrated in the Caucasus culture and was recently elected as one of the mascots of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games

Characteristic to region’s landscape are the ecosystems of the Mzymta river basin and the mountain and riparian forests. which are part of the area being developed in the context of the Sochi 2014 Olympics. Wetlands located close to the sea coast provide key stop-over areas for millions of migratory birds, every year.

Further Resources:
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/900

Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund
http://www.cepf.net/where_we_work/regions/europe_central_asia/caucasus/Pages/default.aspx