According to the Law of the Republic of Armenia on "Specially Protected Nature Areas" (December 17, 1991), "Specially protected areas are those territories of surface and ground waters, underground resources, flora and fauna, which are designated by the order defined by law and have special ecological, scientific, medical, cultural, esthetic value and entirely or partially, temporarily or permanently are not subject to commercial exploitation".
According to the law, the specially protected nature areas in Armenia can have four statuses: state reserve
, national park
and nature monument
There are 28 protected areas established by the state in Armenia: 3 reserves, 2 national parks and 23 reservations. Their total area covers about 10% (total 311,000 ha) of the country territory. Nature monuments (live and dead) are also considered protected areas by law, though they have not yet been singled out and approved by the Government.
The first specially protected nature areas of Armenia - Dilijan, Khosrov Forest and Shikahogh Reserves were established almost at the same time in 1958. In the same year 6 reservations were established. All of them have the forest protection significance.
"Erebuni Reserve" was established in 1981in the vicinity of Yerevan to protect wild-growing cereals. Being the smallest reserve (89 ha) of Armenia, it is exceptionally significant for the mankind. "Sev Lich" ("Black Lake" in English) was the fifth reserve established in 1987 to protect the natural complex of the relict volcanic lake.
"Sevan National Park" was established in 1978 based on the extremely important task to conserve fresh-water resources of Lake Sevan for the whole Transcaucasus, as well as on the national significance of fish resources.
At present, the number of protected areas in Armenia (28) is the same, although the statuses of two reserves were changed in 2001. Sev Lich is a reservation now and Dilijan is a national park.
Until 2002 state reserves and national parks were under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia as separate subdivisions - legal entities. In 2002 according to the Law of the Republic of Armenia on "State Non-Commercial Organizations" (SNCO) they were given the status of SNCOs with charters approved by the Government. "Erebuni Reserve" is the only exception which has no own management system and stays under "Reserve-Park Complex" SNCO of the Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia.
The activities of specially protected nature areas in Armenia are regulated by the above mentioned Law of the Republic of Armenia on "Specially Protected Nature Areas", "Legislative Bases for Nature Protection in the Republic of Armenia" (July 9, 1991), "Law on Flora" (November 23, 1999), "Law on Fauna" (April 3, 2000), "Law on Lake Sevan" (May 15, 2001), Law of the Republic of Armenia on "Rehabilitation of Lake Sevan Ecosystem, its Maintenance, Reproduction and Utilization" (December 14, 2001) as well as other laws of the Republic of Armenia and statutes of protected areas.
Here the establishment dates of the protected areas of Armenia and their territories are quoted from the Annex 1 of the Governmental Decree of the Republic of Armenia No. 472 as of July 6, 1995.
Conservation outside protected areas
Prior to the collapse of the former Soviet Union a number of laws regulated biodiversity conservation outside protected areas, including human activities around rivers, water catchments and resorts, use of pastures, and collection of species. However, many of these regulations are now out of date, and do not conform to the new economic situation.
Three regulations are implemented by the Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia:
| (1) licensing of hunting and fisheries;|
| (2) licensing for the collection and storage of wild medicinal plants;|
| and (3) ecological assessment of any new business activity.|
State reserves are established in allocated areas to protect the natural course of dynamic processes and rare species of flora and fauna. These are scientific research entities where human activity is restricted. Here a strict protection regime is applied; human intervention is entirely prohibited (logging of trees, hay-making, hunting and introduction of animals, plant gathering etc.) in favor of natural development. . State reserves are protected areas of I a category by the IUCN international classification(1994).
Khosrov (established in 1958, surface 29,196 ha) to protect the water resources of the River Azat, as well as relict juniper (Juniper) forests, oak stands, mountainous dry landscapes as well as rare plants and animals |
Erebuni (1981, 89 ha) to protect oak (Quercus), beech (Fagus) forests, as well as Oriental Hornbeam (Carpinus orientalis), Yew (Taxus baccata) and Oriental Plane (Platanus orientalis) trees and rare animals
Shikahogh (1958, 10,000 ha) to protect a unique genetic pool of wild relatives of crops
National parks are areas of ecological, historical-cultural, aesthetic significance and in contrast with state reserves they have protection regimes defined by functional zoning. Usually special zones are designated in national parks: protection zone with strict regime of protection, as well as recreational and economic zones. National parks of Armenia are close to category II of protected areas by the IUCN classification. International practice with national parks proves that protected areas of this status are highly viable.
Sevan (1978, 150,100 ha) to protect Lake Sevan and its ecosystem|
Dilijan (1958, reorgan. 2002, 28,002 ha), to protect mesophyl forests typical to Caucasus Region
Reservations can be protected areas of national or local significance with protection regime established in accordance with their purpose. Reservations of Armenia are close to category IV of protected areas by the IUCN classification.
| Her-her (1958, 6139 ha) || Huzel Nut (1958, 40 ha) || Jermuk Forest (1958, 3865 ha) |
| Juniper Forest (1958, 3312 ha) || Pine of Giulagarak (1958, 2586 ha) || Yew of Akhnabat (1958, 25 ha) |
| Pine of Banx (1959, 4 ha) || Sands of Goravan (1959, 200 ha) || Park of Plane Tree (1958, 60 ha) |
| Aragats (1959, 300 ha) || Rose Bay Rhododendron (1959, 10000 ha) || Arzakan and Meghradzor (1971, 14500 ha) |
| Gandzakar (1971, 6800 ha) || Getik (1971, 6000 ha) || Goris (1971, 1900 ha) |
| Ijevan (1971, 7800 ha) || Yeghegnadzor (1971, 4200 ha) || Hankavan (1981, 9350 ha) |
| Jermuk Mineral Water (1981, 18000 ha) || Vordan Karmir (1987, 200 ha) || Boghakar (1989, 2728 ha) |
| Sev Lich (1987, reorgan. 2003, 240 ha) || Margahovit (1971, 5000 ha) |
By law nature monuments (live and dead) are also considered as protected areas, though they have not yet been singled out and approved by the Government. Nature monuments are exceptional natural objects having special scientific or historical-cultural significance; they correspond to category III of the IUCN classification.
The activities of specially protected nature areas in Armenia are regulated by the above mentioned Law of the Republic of Armenia on "Specially Protected Nature Areas", "Legislative Bases for Nature Protection in the Republic of Armenia" (1991), " Law on Flora" (1999), "Law on Fauna" (2000), "Law on Lake Sevan" (2001), Law of the Republic of Armenia on "Rehabilitation of Lake Sevan Ecosystem, its Maintenance, Reproduction and Utilization" (2001) as well as other laws of the Republic of Armenia and statuses of protected areas.
|Name of PA
||Covered area (ha)
||% from total area
|State Reserves (Ia category)|
|National Parks (category II)|
|Reservation (category IV)
|Natural Monuments (category III)