Greens Movement of Georgia / Friends of the Earth Georgia

Replanting Georgia’s forests

Zurab Garchagodashvili, a member of the Greens Movement of Georgia / Friends of the Earth Georgia lives in the Kolkheti region of west Georgia with his wife and young son. Like many in his village, Zurab runs a small-scale family farm and, a self-taught naturalist, he has been instrumental in regenerating the biodiversity of his region.

Georgia has globally significant biodiversity; as part of the Caucasus ecoregion, it is considered one of 25 globally significant ‘biodiversity hotspots’. As a consequence of its location and physical and climatic diversity, Georgia has remarkably rich and diverse flora compared to other temperate countries. It contains more than 4,100 species of vascular plants, with 300 endemic to the country and 600 more that are endemic to the Caucasus region. In total, 30% of Georgia’s endemic flora is concentrated in the Kolkheti region.

Adverse socio-economic conditions have driven many in rural Georgia to overexploit their natural resources, and this is particularly the case in the Kolkheti region. This has resulted in a number of serious natural disasters and diminished natural resources and biodiversity. Zurab’s family is among those few in Georgia who try to keep traditional, sustainable means of land stewardship alive.

Zurab helps run tree nurseries around the region, where he grows species typical to local forests, such as firs, silver firs, chestnut trees, maple trees, oaks, beeches, box trees and hornbeams, and plants them in areas where forests have been partly degraded. So far, he has planted about 50,000 trees around the region.

When walking in villages in the area, he often asks families for permission to plant a tree in their gardens and he is always welcomed. In addition to this, he is involved in motivating youth to engage with biodiversity and organises collective planting events. For Zurab, it is vital that people gather collectively to green their surroundings in order to reinforce the holistic bond between humans and the environment.

“I realise I’m just one person, and there is not much I can change in a global world, but a river always starts with a single drop of water and I’m proud that I’m setting an example, and if just one person follows me, it’s already a great victory for me! My father was a nature’s keeper and I tried to follow in his steps. Together we planted more than 100,000 trees. I love nature, my father loved nature, and this is why I do this. I feel like it is my duty.”ZURAB GARCHAGODASHVILI

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!