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ENG GEO
GREEN COVER

The green cover protects people from three stimuli: 1) noise, 2) absorbs carbon dioxide and produces oxygen 3) the green color, generally, is a good stress-coping means. Currently 30% of the land is covered with forest. According to National Geographic, more than 80 thousand m² of green cover is exterminated every year. This is 12 thousand m² more, than Georgia’s total area. More than 60% of oxygen is produced to biosphere by land plants and the forest – its basic component. 1 hectare of mixed forest absorbs yearly 13-17 tons of carbo dioxide and produces 10-15 tons of oxygen. It is a rich source of many different resources (timber-wood, bark, branches, fruit, seeds, mushrooms etc.). About 39,9% of Georgia’s territory is covered with forest (2,77 million hectares) of which about 0,5 million ha is occupied by so called virgin forests, 2,2 million ha – reshaped natural forests and 0,06 million ha – artificially cultivated forests. It should be mentioned that forest is unevenly distributed on the territory of Georgia – alongside with rich forest areas, there are forest-poor areas, where forest specific value is not more than 10 percent.
Forest cover of Georgia is very diverse due to climate differences between its western and eastern parts. It is noteworthy that in the mountain forests, and even in the alpine zone fragments of plants, typical of semi-desert ecosystems can be found.
Georgian forests are represented by following species:
Deciduous forest - beech, hornbeam, oak, alder, chestnut;
Coniferous forest - fir, spruce and pine.

Forests of Georgia are the most important biomes in terms of both the protection and preservation of biodiversity - forests include many indigenous and relict wood/ grass covered areas and is the habitat of rare and endangered animal species.
Currently Georgian forests are fully owned by the state. By the types of institutional governance Georgian state forest fund is divided into:
  1. Protected areas of state forest fund, comprising the areas defined under the law of Georgia “On the System of Protected Areas”;
  2. State usable forest fund, comprising local forest fund.
  3.  
Authorized forest fund management bodies are: LEPL National Forest Agency under the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, and LEPL Agency for Protected Areas under the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. Forests, located in Abkhaz and Ajar Autonomous Republics are managed by appropriate Ajar and Abkhaz authorities.
Green areas within Tbilisi limits (former state forest fund territories) are managed by Tbilisi City Hall.

Certain territories of Georgian state forest fund are managed by private entities on the basis of long-term use permits, granted to them by the state.
Designated areas of the State Forest Fund are managed by the Patriarchy of Georgia.
Though Georgia is among the rich in forest countries, average density of significant part of the forests has reached its critical limit. It is noteworthy that forests with lower density limits are characterized with reduced protective function, and practically lost self-healing and self-renewal abilities, which in a long term may become a cause of irreversible degradation of forest ecosystem. Unsustainable methods of forest use today – excessive (unsystematic) grazing and imperfect, in terms of environment protection, forestry system – also adversely effect Georgian forests.

The situation in Tbilisi is also difficult. In 2010 about 8600 hectares of Tbilisi and surroundings forests, belonging to the state forest fund, were taken over by Tbilisi City Hall and were granted the status of landscape and recreation area. However, proceeding from the fact that some of these areas are uninhabited, and the green cover of Tbilisi center is still very small, these arrangements will not help to increasing green area per capita. According to the latest version of Tbilisi master plan green cover per capita is 5,6 m², which is much less than that of the 80-ies last century – 13,0 m², and the international standards – 10-15 m². The worldwide accepted efficient urban indicator of green space per capita is as follows: people living in towns and cities should have an accessible natural greenspace less than 10 minutes’ walk from home in order to meet the acceptable standard.

Keeping greenspace becomes even more topical against the background of increasing number of transport in the country, which is the main source of air pollution.
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