Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Biogeography

SoMo – Developing and testing a socio-ecological monitoring system for protecting large mammals in the southern Caucasus

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Project summary

Large mammals are declining dramatically in many regions of the world. How these species can be effectively protected in our landscapes, which are increasingly being shaped by humans, is therefore an important but largely unanswered question for nature conservation research and practice. The biggest obstacle in this respect is the often-insufficient data on the distribution and population development of these species, on the potential threats, as well as on possible conflicts between humans and large mammals. Therefore, approaches to enable efficient monitoring of the relevant socio-ecological parameters across large spaces are extremely important.

The overarching goal of the SoMo project is to develop, implement and test an efficient monitoring system for the protection of large mammals in the South Caucasus together with local scientists and nature conservation organizations. To achieve this goal, scientific partners and nature conservation organizations from Germany, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan will work together in a transdisciplinary approach.


  • In a first step, a uniform monitoring guideline for the collection of socio-ecological data is to be developed and a spatial data infrastructure for the structured storage of the data is to be set up.
  • In a second step, existing datasets, which were previously largely analogue and sporadic, are to be digitized, homogenized and made available.
  • Third, the scientific and practical benefits of the new monitoring system are to be demonstrated using pilot studies.


Each of these three steps, as well as the consortium as a whole, is inherently transdisciplinary and includes measures for the mutual transfer of knowledge and the development of expertise in all three countries of the South Caucasus. With the help of targeted training workshops, the scientific and technical expertise for setting up and maintaining a socio-ecological monitoring system is guaranteed. At the same time, an accompanying qualification program will support promising young professionals from the region, develop perspectives and know-how, and contribute to the internationalization of the research landscape in the region.


For more information, please contact Dr. Arash Ghoddousi


Funding and support

This project receives funding from Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF; 01DK21003) (01.05.2021 – 30.04.2024) 

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Project partners


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Yerevan State University  WWF Caucasus and WWF Germany
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Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences  Ilia State University