Armenia’s biodiversity is threatened by overexploitation of biodiversity, unregulated tourism activity, habitat loss and climate change. The cumulative impacts include the accelerated loss of vulnerable habitats and associated species and the growing insecurity of ecosystem services. Hence, opportunities for communities to realize the potential social and economic benefits accruing from biodiversity are lost.
The project was aimed at integration of ecological corridors and their expansion, as well as protection of globally significant species through establishment of Gnishik community-managed Protected Area in Southern Armenia.
The main activities of the project were related to participatory planning of the Protected Area, enforcement of protection regime, development of tourism related infrastructure, and last but not least creation of alternative livelihoods for communities located in the support zone of the proposed Protected Area.
Long-term perspectives of development objectives and impacts were set as follows:
- Contribution to establishment of Gnishik Protected Area
- Promotion of nature-based tourism development in the area
- Further development of a national protected area system
- Protection of under-represented ecosystems and associated species
- Improvement of management of productive landscapes while helping to promote connectivity and alleviate poverty
- Establishment of a model for community-led protected area management
Project efforts resulted in a national protected area system better equipped including and conserving under-represented ecosystems (mountain meadows steppe, high mountain sub-Alpine, high mountain Alpine) and associated species. Project investment was in community areas improving management of productive landscapes while helping to promote connectivity and alleviate poverty.
The project resulted in:
- The a management plan, a land use plan and a support zone economic development plan for supporting the establishment and management of the Gnishik Protected Area
- Established Gnishik community-managed Protected Landscape
- Improved human and technical capacities for Protected Landscape management
- Improved livelihoods of communities through participatory planning processes
- Reduced human impact on natural resources