Overgrazing and uncontrolled livestock grazing threatens steppe, subalpine and alpine ecosystems. A third of pasturelands in the region are subject to erosion. Sheep grazing in the winter ranges and the steppes and semi-deserts of the eastern Caucasus has nearly tripled in the past decade. Intensive grazing has resulted in reduced species diversity and habitat degradation. Secondary plant communities now occupy 80% of grasslands in the subalpine belt. The alpine belt is slightly better preserved. Grazing of cattle in forested areas disturbs undergrowth and creates competition for wild ungulates. Overgrazing is causing environmental damage in much of the hotspot, particularly in the Kuma-Manych, Greater Caucasus, Javakheti, East Lesser Caucasus, Iori-Mingechaur and Southern Uplands corridors.
From collection: Caucasus ecoregion - Environment and human development issues
WWF-Caucasus, design Manana Kurtubadze