Peatlands in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is quite as big as Austria. Nevertheless the small country at the south-eastern border to Europe has the highest biodiversity of the European continent. About 4300 plant- species are growing here (270 of them are endemic). Moreover one can sight a vast mammal- fauna which exists in its natural compostition and a particular bird- occurrence with many worldwide endangered species. 

Nestled in the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, the Talish Mountain and the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan boasts a surprising diversity of pristine habitats. Part of the Eastern-Mediterranean climatic region, the country’s natural features include high mountains, forests, steppe, semi-desert, coast, floodplain and wetland ecosystems. Due to its highly diverse relief a tremendous biological diversity can be found within a very confined area.


However, occurrence of peatlands in the Caucasus has been hitherto hardly known. Because of this, an intensive fieldwork within the frame of a small project and in close cooperation with junior scientists of the University Greifswald took place. The result was a first overview about the so far known peatlands of Azerbaijan.

Due to the semi-humid to semi-arid climate conditions the percentage of fens of the land-area is under 1 %. In the mountain regions sloping mires, bogs and degraded terrestrialisation mires are dominant. In the low land some bogs and degraded paludification mires can be found. Especially the last ones are highly endangered. Based on literature and our own fieldwork a systematic recording of peatlands of Azerbaijan was achieved in the last years. Thereby 21 peatlands were investigated as well as the different peatland types, their allocation in the country, their area percentage and their endangerment.

The results were published several times, such as in TELMA (2007) & Peatlands International (2008). They are an important contribution to the basic research of nature studies in Azerbaijan.


                        Mava Foundation                  Michael Otto Foundation