New national park to be set up in Guria province in Georgia's west

Forested areas of Guria are part of international plans for ecological conservation. Photo: Guram Guntadze/Facebook., 04 Mar 2021 - 16:41, Tbilisi,Georgia

A new national park will be set up in western Georgia's Guria province to safeguard biodiversity and ecosystems of local forests and promote tourism in the area.

Plans for establishing the new protected area were revealed by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture on Thursday with the goal of "counter the challenges in forested landscapes" of the province.

The ministry said adverse effects of human activity were present in the location and the initiative for the new protected area would involve "various types of studies" by local and foreign experts as a preparatory phase.

Through the move the ministry also said it envisioned potential for attracting tourists to the area and create employment opportunities for the locals.

The forested areas found in Guria are recognised for their environmental importance through their inclusion in the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)'s Ecoregional Conservation Plan for the Caucasus and are also considered a Key  Biodiversity Area of the region.

The project for the new national park sees participation from the Agency of Protected Areas - part of the ministry - the WWF and the Embassy of Sweden in Georgia.