Connecting Birds and People

Khosrov Forest

General Overview of Area and History of Assessment
The site is located at the slopes of Gegham Mountain Ridge and occupies an elevation range from about 1,000 to over 3,000 m a.s.l., and includes wide variety of landscapes in this span. During the first assessment in 2000, the site was including only Khosrov Forest State Reserve (Heath et al. 2000), however later, in 2013, the area was expanded to involve significant portion of Gegham Ridge and the Vedi Hills.

Ornithological Summary
Khosrov Reserve hosts 191 species of birds, including 146 breeding and 45 migratory and wintering species. The area is the only known spot in Armenia, where such species as Cinereous Vuture, Lanner Falcon, Trumpeter Finch, Mongolian Finch and Desert Finches are breeding. Also it hosts variety of other globally or nationally endangered raptors, such as Bearded and Egyptian Vultures, Lesser Spotted, Short-toed, and Booted Eagles, and others.

The 21% of the area is covered by Khosrov Forest State Reserve owned by State, while the rest of the area (79%) are located at community land.

The lower belt of the IBA is occupied by semi-deserts, which show great variation, hosting wormwood dominated, saltwort dominated, and scrubby semi-deserts. The belt is gradually changing into juniper woodland, an area dominated by Juniper trees. With the increase of altitude the next belt could be reached - the deciduous forest, dominated by oak and horn-beam trees. Above timberline the wet meadows area starts which quickly changes into subalpine carpets alternated with rocks and screes. The area is cut by two major canyons formed by Azat and Vedi rivers and number of smaller gorges. The area is reach by high cliffs, which provide breeding space for various raptors and other birds.

Land Use
The 21% of the area are managed by the State Reserve and are used for species protection, while the rest of the area is occupied for horticulture, pasture, and haymaking. .

Conservation Issues
While the Khosrov Forest State Reserve is well protected at current, the rest of the land is poorly managed for nature conservation purposes, though it is included in the Emerald Sites. This is especially critical for such sensitive habitat specialists like Trumpeter Finch, Mongolian Finch. Grey-necked Bunting and others. For protection of birds and their habitats it is important to develop and introduce the sustainable practices of pasture management including haymaking areas, as well as to apply careful assessment of all new orchard development projects. The proposed activities could be included in the upcoming management plan of the Emerald Site, which covers larger area than the State Reserve. 

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