High Mountain Ecology Program


The study of alpine ecosystem is one of the most important elements of the global scientific and political programme. Special attention is paid to species and ecosystem diversity, structural and functional organization of ecosystems, water management, global changes (climate, land use), ecological prospects, mountain landscape use, biological resources, ecosystem protection and restoration measures, sustainable management ecological education issues, etc.

  • The Programme of Exploration of Alpine Ecosystem aims to conduct detailed research into Georgia’s high mountain ecosystems to include the:  
  • Study of high mountain flora and plant diversity;
  •  Exploration of structural and functional organization of ecosystems;
  • Study of strategies and mechanisms of plant adaptation to high mountain stress-dominant environment; 
  • Detection of ecological prospects of global changes (climate, land use)
  •  Provision of ecological expertise in cases of the use of mountain landscapes;
  •  Provision of scientific framework for the protection and restoration of ecosystems and protection and rehabilitation of species;
  •  Training of young science staff;
  •  Raising environmental awareness and ecological education.

Apart from supporting the solution of purely scientific issues and attracting and training young researchers, the Programme promotes the protection of socioeconomic and cultural resources of Georgia’s alpine regions, their sustainable use and restoration as necessary. It is noteworthy that similar institutes exist in the USA, Spain, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and in other countries in which the study of alpine ecosystems has a long history. The work is carried out in close cooperation with the partners listed below:

The Institute of Ecology of The University of Innsbruck (Austria), the University of Vienna (Austria), The Botanical Institute of Basel University (Switzerland), Justus-Liebig University of Giessen (Germany), Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum (Germany), Wake Forest University (USA), Missouri Botanical Garden (USA),  IUCN-The World Conservation Union (Switzerland), Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment – GMBA (Switzerland), Global Observation Research Initiative in AlpinEnviroments - GLORIA-EUROPE (Austria).

Current Research

Within the programme, several projects are now being implemented with the involvement of the ISU professors and foreign partners, as well as undergraduate and graduate students:

1) Determining the effect of global change of climate on alpine plants of the Central Caucasus the EU Fifth framework programme Network GLORIA-EUROPE (Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments), Austria, since 2001.
2) Sensitive ecosystems of the Central Greater Caucasus. Dates: 1.05. 2013-30.04. 2014 Donor: Committee for Research and Exploration of the National Geographic Society.
3) Sustainable management of ecosystems in the South Caucasus. Dates: 1.06.2013-31.05.2015 Donor: GIZ.
4) Diversity and Ecology of Alpine Environments. 2014. Donor: Ilia State University


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