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The Georgian Forests

Forty percent of Georgia is still covered by forests, from lowland beech to alpine conifers.

Georgia is bordered by the High Caucasus Range to the north, Europe's highest mountains.

The past comes alive in Georgia's churches, fortresses, ancient capitals and today's people.



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All images courtesy of Pat O'Hara.

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Temperate Rain forest
An old growth maple luxuriates in the moist atmosphere of Lagodekhi Nature Reserve, in the Eastern Caucasus. The high rainfall of certain parts of Lagodekhi create a temperate rain forest like that of British Columbia.
The groves of Lagodekhi's spring lowland forests create a verdant atmosphere of expectation. This was the first Georgian forest to gain protection in the 20th century, becoming a nature reserve in 1912.
First light of morning illuminates the misty forests of Borjomi, a nature reserve created in 1929 and made a national park in 1995 in the wake of Georgia's independence.
Old-growth Pistachio
Looking down from the crown of an old-growth pistachio, Pistacia mutica, known as the incense tree in Georgia. The pistachio and native junipers comprise the open forest of Vashlovanis Nature Reserve, in the driest part of Georgia.
A fern's symmetrical heart in the lowland forests of Lagodekhi. Over 70 fern species have been recorded in Georgia, where large tracts of old growth forest have escaped the juggernaut of progress.
Gurgeniani Waterfall
Gurgeniani Waterfall is one of the secret pleasures of Lagodekhi Nature Reserve, set in a small fern-festooned canyon deep in old-growth deciduous forest.
Ancient Fortress
Rising like a guardian out of the climax conifer forests of Borjomi, an ancient fortress is a reminder that natural history and human history are intertwined in the old kingdom of Sakartvelo, today's Georgia.
Lagodekhi River Valley
Eerie evening light saturates Lagodekhi River Valley in the Eastern Caucasus Mountains.