Protecting Nature's Hotspots for people and prosperity


Tab 1

Borjomi National Park, Republic of Georgia

CEPF is no longer active in this region.

The Caucasus biodiversity hotspot spans 500,000 square kilometers of mountains in Eurasia between the Black and Caspian seas, including Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, and small parts of Russia, Iran and Turkey.

Its deserts, savannas, swamp forests and arid woodlands are home to more than twice the animal diversity found in adjacent regions of Europe and Asia. The hotspot boasts 6,500 species of vascular plants, a quarter of which are found nowhere else.

The Caucasus Hotspot is also a globally significant center of cultural diversity, where a multitude of ethnic groups, languages and religions intermingle over a relatively small area. Indeed, humans have inhabited the Caucasus for millennia. Legions of rulers and government regimes have vied for control of the region and its rich natural and cultural resources. About 27 percent of the area remains as natural habitat but only about 12 percent of the original vegetation is considered pristine.

Our investment focuses on five major landscapes covering 14.2 million hectares of this biologically rich region.​

Tab 2


Our investment in the Caucasus Hotspot began in August 2003. Based an on ecosystem profile developed with stakeholders, our support to civil society conservation efforts in this region focuses on five landscapes.

These landscapes -- the Caspian, East Lesser Caucasus, Greater Caucasus, West Lesser Caucasus and Hyrcan biodiversity conservation corridors -- represent all major habitats in the hotspot and shelter 90 percent of the region’s globally threatened species.

They also provide unprecedented opportunities for promoting trans-boundary cooperation. Each one crosses the boundaries of two or more of the six countries in this hotspot.

Investments are targeted to conserve the hotspot's globally threatened species, most of which are found in specific sites within these corridors. We also focus on addressing the socioeconomic, political and institutional root causes of threats to biodiversity, which include overgrazing, poaching, illegal logging, fuel wood harvesting, overfishing and infrastructure development.

Four strategic directions guide our approach:

  1. Support civil society efforts to promote trans-boundary cooperation and improve protected area systems in five target corridors.
  2. Strengthen mechanisms to conserve biodiversity of the Caucasus Hotspot with emphasis on species, site and corridor outcomes.
  3. Implement models demonstrating sustainable resource use in five target corridors.
  4. Increase the awareness and commitment of decisionmakers to biodiversity. conservation in five target corridors.

Tab 3

1.  Support civil society efforts to promote transboundary cooperation and improve protected area systems in five target corridors 1.1  Promote transboundary cooperation by carrying out joint initiatives and harmonizing existing projects to conserve border ecosystems and species and site outcomes
1.2  Support existing efforts to create new protected areas and wildlife corridors through planning processes and co-financing efforts
1.3  Develop and implement management plans for model protected areas with broad participation of stakeholders
2.  Strengthen mechanisms to conserve biodiversity of the Caucasus hotspot with emphasis on species, site and corridor outcomes 2.1  Provide funding for research and implementation of the Caucasus Red List re-assessments, particularly for poorly represented taxas such as plants, invertebrates, reptiles and fish
2.2  Under one CEPF/Small Grant mechanism, focus small grant efforts on supporting efforts to conserve 50 globally threatened species in the hotspot
2.3  Provide support to conservation agencies specifically to improve implementation of international conventions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
3.  Implement models demonstrating sustainable resource use in five target corridors 3.1  Evaluate and implement models for sustainable forestry, water use and range management
3.2  Under one CEPF/Small Grant mechanism, focus small grant efforts on supporting existing NGOs to undertake projects focused on developing alternative livelihoods, such as ecotourism, collection of non-timber forest products and sustainable hunting and fishing
3.3  Support civil society efforts to mitigate, participate in and monitor development projects
4.  Increase the awareness and commitment of decisionmakers to biodiversity conservation in five target corridors 4.1  Develop local capacity to train environmental journalists and develop incentives to write on environmental issues, targeting decisionmakers in particular
4.2  Develop a communications campaign to increase environmental awareness in the Caucasus hotspot

Tab 4

Caucasus Biodiversity Hotspot



Biodiversity Conservation Corridors



More Maps

Conservation Outcomes and Priority Areas for CEPF Investment. Map (PDF - 2.4 MB)

Tab 5

Core Documents
  • Caucasus Biodiversity Hotspot Program for Consolidation, December 2010
    English (PDF - 115 KB) 
    Logical Framework for Consolidation, English (PDF - 46 KB)

  • Ecosystem Profile, July 2003
    English (PDF - 3.7 MB) | Russian (PDF - 5.0 MB)

  • Fact Sheet, September 2007
    English (PDF - 38 KB) | Russian (PDF - 146 KB)

Monitoring & Evaluation

  • Annual Portfolio Overview, November 2013
    English (PDF - 369 KB)

  • Annual Portfolio Overview, November 2012
    English (PDF - ​352 KB)

  • Assessing Five Years of CEPF Investment in the Caucasus Biodiversity Hotspot, January 2010, English (PDF - 984 KB) / Русский (PDF - 1.2 MB)

  • CEPF and Poverty Reduction: A Review of the CEPF Portfolio in the Caucasus Hotspot, January 2008
    English (PDF 237 KB)

  • Portfolio Overview, as of June 2005
    English (PDF - 224 KB)
    - Full related briefing book
    English (PDF - 5.4 MB)

  • Project Final Reports
    Compiled by project leaders detailing final results and lessons learned
    View reports

  • Winged News, American Society for the Protection of Birds
    • No. 18, January-June 2013, English (PDF - 1.9 MB)


  • Armenia Tree Project Newslettter
    • Spring 2009, English (PDF - 1.5 MB)
    • Spring 2008, English (PDF - 592 KB)
    • Spring 2007, English (PDF - 1 MB)

  • WWF Caucasus Ecoregion Newsletter
  • WWF Caucasus and CEPF newsletter
    • Jan.-Mar. 2009
      English (PDF - 660 KB)
    • Oct.-Dec. 2008
      English (PDF - 395 KB)
    • July-September 2008
      English (PDF - 643 KB)
    • May-June 2008
      English (PDF - 548KB)
    • March-April 2008
      English (PDF - 544 KB)
    • January-February 2008
      English (PDF - 476 KB)
    • November-December 2007
      English (PDF - 589 KB)
    • September-October 2007
      English (PDF - 486 KB)
    • July-August 2007
      English (PDF - 464 KB)

Other Publications
  • CEPF Footprints Across the Caucasus Hotspot, 2009, English (PDF - 4 MB)

  • Caucasus Ecoregion 2007-2008, Caucasus Biodiversity Council, English (PDF - 4.6 MB)

  • Bats Conservation Action Plan for the Caucasus, English (PDF - 610 KB)
    An action plan drafted by regional specialists of the Caucasus as a guiding paper in the field of bat conservation.

  • Saving Europe's Last Wilderness, English (PDF - 2.9 MB)
    Brochure from the Caucasus Protected Areas Fund

  • Caucasus Biodiversity Council annual reports
    - 2006
    English (PDF - 6.98 MB)
    - 2005
    English (PDF - 27 MB)

  • An Ecoregional Conservation Plan for the Caucasus
    - Full document
    English (PDF - 4.77 MB)
    - Brochure
    English (PDF - 2.09 MB)

  • Sustainable Forestry Manual, Republic of Armenia,  English  (PDF –  16 MB)

Tab 6


Fast Facts

Status: Closed

Initial investment:
  • $8.5 million
  • 2003-2008
  • 129 grants
  • $1 million
  • 2010-2013
  • 5 grants​

Regional Resources
See Also
Document: Caucasus Biodiversity Hotspot Program for Consolidation, December 2010
English (PDF - 115 KB) 

Logical Framework for ConsolidationEnglish (PDF - 46 KB)

Document: Assessing Five Years of CEPF Investment in the Caucasus Biodiversity Hotspot, January 2010
English (PDF - 984 KB)

Document: GEF Focal Point Endorsements, English (PDF - 2.5 MB)

Grants: Learn which regions are open for applications and how to apply