Ecotourism or “green tourism” is currently gaining popularity worldwide. Let’s learn what prospects are for this type of tourism in Armenia.
Reserves and ecozones of Armenia
Endemic plants and animals, which are listed in the Red book, and their significance in terms of ecotourism.
What is “ecotourism”?
Ecotourism or so-called green tourism is a relatively young type of tourism that appeared just a few decades ago. The main principle of this type of tourism is to travel and rest in harmony with nature, without prejudice, and as much as possible interfering in the natural course of life of wild flora and fauna. Ecotourism may be cognitive or scientific. Often, the routes of eco-tourists pass through a man-untouched natural zones or reserves, where you can meet rare and disappearing species of animals and plants. So it is quite clear why it is very important to do not violate their natural habitat and treat it carefully.
Prospects for ecotourism in Armenia
There are many prospects and opportunities for ecotourism development. Despite the fact that the country occupies a relatively small territory, there are a variety of natural systems and landscapes from Rocky mountains to open steppes and thick, impassable forests. A separate interest is the freshwater high mountain Lake Sevan, where endemic species of fish and land fauna dwell.
The largest reserves of Armenia
The largest Reserve in Armenia is considered the Khosrov state Reserve or the Khosrov forest. It is located in Ararat region. The Reserve was founded in 1958, but the existing animal ecosystem and plants has been built for several hundred years. For example, in the territory of the Khosrov forest you can meet Juniper and Oak forests, the age of some of which exceeds 1700 years. The Shikakhokhsky Nature Reserve is located in the Syunik region in the south of Armenia. Here you can find unique virgin oak-hornbeam forests growing at an altitude of 1000 to 2200 meters above sea level. Among the major nature reserves of Armenia, Dilijan National Park, which stretches for kilometers around the resort town of Dilijan, Erebuniysky Reserve, Arevik National Park, Sevan National Park can also be noted.
The unique nature of Lake Sevan
Sevan National Park represents a rich fauna and flora of the high-altitude freshwater Lake Sevan and its coastal zone. Among the local endemics, the Sevan trout can be noted, several subspecies of which live only in the waters of Sevan. Here you can also see Armenian gulls – an endemic species of gulls that lives near Sevan and nests here on the “island of gulls”.
Rare and endemic species that can be found in Armenia
A large number of rare animal species listed in the Red Book of Armenia may also be of interest to eco-tourists. Among them are the Caucasian leopard, manul, bezoar goats, curly pelican, several species from the hawk family. All these species of animals are strictly protected. For example, Caucasian leopards were not uncommon in the last century, but now there are less than a dozen of them in the wild. Manuls were considered extinct on the territory of Armenia, but they were recently rediscovered.
The endemics of the local flora can be of no less interest for scientific and educational tourism. Also, only here you can find several types of wild wheat at once, which is the direct ancestor of modern wheat species. In general, 108 species of endemic plants grow in natural conditions in Armenia.