Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Biogeography

Caucasus - Project goals

Our main goals in the Caucasus Project are:

  1. Ecological and conservation research: Assessing habitat distribution, quality, and connectivity, as well as population viability for large carnivores and herbivores in the Caucasus from landscape to ecoregional scale are among the major scientific goals of the Caucasus Project. Particularly interesting species are the Persian leopard, its prey species (e.g. Gmelin´s mouflon, bezoar goat Capra aegagrus), and ungulates of conservation concern such as Maral red deer (Cervus elaphus), goitered gazelle, eastern and western Caucasian tur (Capra cylindricornis and Capra caucasica), and European bison. We investigate effects of socioeconomic and political shocks on the responses of different wildlife species and habitats. Moreover, using new satellite remote sensing approaches, we map changes land cover at fine scale consistently across the ecoregion and link them to ecological processes.
  2. Capacity building: Fostering exchange among academic and conservation organizations active in the Caucasus on the one hand, and HU Berlin is a central goal of our Caucasus work. This includes, for example, internships and/or training visits, particularly in the context of GIS, remote sensing, spatial ecology, and conservation planning.
  3. Conservation planning: Developing evidence-based decision support for conservation planning is also one of our main goals of the Caucasus Project. We currently develop, together with conservation organizations and local partners, a systematic wildlife monitoring framework that would homogenize and link to the existing monitoring program to evaluate the success of conservation interventions in the southern Caucasus.