Khosrov Forest State Reserve is one of the oldest protected areas in the world having a history of about 1700 years. The forest was founded in 334-338 by the order of Armenian King Khosrov III Kotak. According to the chronicler Movses Khorenatsi during the king’s reign forest plantings were carried out on the territory of the present reserve. In addition, on the same territory the king established special hunting grounds for bird and animal hunting. The King Khosrov’s forest remained during the centuries to become a reserve.
Khosrov Forest State Reserve was established in 1958. It is located in the province of Ararat, Rpublic of Armenia, in the neighborhood of Ararat valley, on the mountainous ridges Geghama, Yeranos and Yerakh. It occupies a territory of 23,213,5 ha at the altitudes from 700 to 2,800 m above sea level.
The climate of the reserve is dry continental. Winter is cold with lots of snow and with low temperatures down to -25˚C. Summer is dry and hot with the temperatures up to 38˚C.
Flora of the reserve numbers 1948 species of vascular plants. More than 80 species are listed in the Red Data Book of Armenia and 24 species are endemic. Forest coverage is 16%. Glades, scrubs and shrubs occupy 20% and the remaining 64% is represented by different types of symbiosis of high-mountainous zone.
Fauna includes 44 species of mammals, 192 birds, 33 reptiles, 5 amphibians and 9 fish. Stony, rocky, steep slopes of the reserve are habitats for brown bear (Ursus arctos syriacus), bezoar goat (Capra aegagrus) and Caucasian leopard (Panthera pardus ciscaucasica) which are registered in the Red Data Book of Armenia.
The next peculiarity of the reserve is its rich historical and cultural heritage. The area is closely linked with the history of Armenian nation and glorious episodes of historical past starting from the periods of polytheistic pagan and Hellenistic culture. The reserve preserves ancient cultural amenities, historical-architectural monuments, unique plant and animal species, splendid diversity of scientific landscapes.
Since 2002, administrative, scientific, practical and organizational activities in the reserve have been implemented by the “Khosrov Forest” State Reserve” State Non-Commercial Organization (SNCO) of the Bioresources Management Agency under the aegis of the Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia.
According to the reserve charter (RA Governmental decision N 925 from 30.05.2002, Annex 1) the main goals of the reserve establishment are to ensure natural development of water and terrestrial ecosystems of the Revers Azat and Vedi basins, to protect the landscapes and biological diversity including the genetic fund of rare and endangered plants and animals as well as their habitats, to implement scientific research and to create prerequisites for the development of scientific-educational tourism, environmental education and responsibility.
The following protected areas are under the subordination of the “Khosrov Forest” State Reserve” SNCO:
- Khosrov Forest state reserve, which at present is divided into 4 districts- Garni (4253 ha), Kaqavaberd (4745 ha), Khosrov (6860.8 ha), and Khachadzor (7354.7 ha).
- Goravan Sands state sanctuary (95.99 ha)
- Khor Virap state sanctuary (50.28 ha)
Realizing the importance of the reserve, on August 26 in 2013 “Khosrov Forest” State Reserve SNCO was awarded with European Diploma of Protected Areas.
The reserve has wonderful landscapes, rich biological diversity, huge variety of interesting and important untouched forests that are the result of long-term preservation, proper management plan and structure.
Khosrov Forest State Reserve thanks to its numerous peculiarities is unique not only in Armenia but also in the whole Caucasus ecoregion