In spite of Georgia’s relatively small area, as a result of a variety of geographical and climatic zones the country possesses an unusually diverse flora.
Georgia has 5,000 types of wild vegetation and approximately 8,300 types of cryptogamous vegetation.
The floras of eastern and western parts are quite different, mostly due to the fact that the arid and semi-arid vegetation of the unforested fractions
Floraof eastern Georgia is absent from the densely forested west, where forestation begins at sea level.
Western Georgia is distinguished by four main zones: forest, sub-alpine, alpine and nival. Starting from the sea level, alder and wing nut trees thrive in the swampy Colchian lowlands. In less moist areas ample numbers of oak, chestnut, hornbeam, and liana grow.
Eastern Georgia is divided into six zones: semi-desert dominated by dry steppes and sparse tree growth, forest, sub-alpine, alpine, sub-nival, and nival. The lowlands and
foothills are forested along the Mtkvari, Iori, and Alazani
rivers, with oak, poplar, several types of willows, and occasionally mulberry. The Alazani valley forests are rich with liana. Eastern Georgia’s dry valleys support wormwood and Russian thistle. A little higher, where the climate is more humid, bear grass steppes are dotted with pistachio, juniper, maple, and pomegranate.
Over hundred mammals, 330 birds, 48 reptiles, 11 amphibians, and 160 fish species have been recorded in Georgia. The country’s fauna combines European, Central Asian, and North African elements and includes a large variety of invertebrates: insects, arachnids, myriapods, crustaceans, and worms.
The alpine and sub-alpine zones are populated with two species of wild ox, Daghestanian and Caucasian, both of which are indigenous to the Caucasus.
The birds found in the alpine and forested zones include the Caucasian jackdaw, black grouse, pheasant, pigeon, woodcock, curlew, cuckoo, kingfisher and etc. The rivers are homes to trout, barbell, sazan (a type of carp) and occasionally pike and river perch.
The endangered goitered gazelles, wild boar, roe and other deer roam the lowlands of eastern Georgia. The dwarf shrew (also endangered) lives in Tbilisi area. The Iorian plateau supports a population of partridges and pheasants.
FaunaThe lowlands of Western Georgia feature extremely diverse fauna. Mammals include the hedgehog, mole shrew, horseshoe bat and various other rodents.
The common and bottle-nosed dolphin and the porpoise populate the Black Sea coast, while its fish includes shark, ray beluga, Russian and Atlantic sturgeon, Black Sea salmon, khamsa, herring, dogfish, flounder, and swordfish.
Georgians have started protecting their rare and indigenous fauna. Game reserves have been opened in Lagodekhi, Borjomi, Saguramo, Ritsa, and Kintrishi.