The Western Caucasus is a western region of the Caucasus in Southern Russia, extending from the Black Sea to Mount Elbrus.
World Heritage Site
The Western Caucasus includes a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising the extreme western edge of the Caucasus Mountains. As stated by the UNESCO specialists, it is the only large mountain area in Europe that has not experienced significant human impact. Its habitats are exceptionally varied for such a small area, ranging from lowlands to glaciers. The site is situated 50 km to the north from the Russian resort of Sochi.
The Western Caucasus also contains the Caucasian State Nature Biosphere Reserve (Russian Кавказский государственный природный биосферный заповедник), nature reserve (IUCN management category Ia ) set up by the Soviet government in Krasnodar Krai, Adygea and Karachay–Cherkessia in 1924 to preserve some 85 m-high specimens of the Nordmann Fir (Abies nordmanniana), thought to be the tallest trees in Europe, and a unique forest formed by English Yew (Taxus baccata) and European Box (Buxus sempervirens) within the city of Sochi.
About a third of its high mountain species of plants are recognized as endemic. The area also includes the Sochi National Park (IUCN management category II).
The Markotkh Range
, one of the westernmost offspurs of the Greater Caucasus.
The Western Caucasus is also the place of origin and of reintroduction of the Caucasian Wisent. The last wild wisent in the world was killed by poachers here in 1927. The wisents were reintroduced several decades later.
- Алтухов Михаил Данилович, Литвинская Светлана Анатольевна. Охрана растительного мира на Северо-Западном Кавказе. Krasnodar: Краснодарское книжное издательство, 1989.
- Кавказский заповедник. In Заповедники СССР. Заповедники Кавказа. Moscow: Мысль, 1990. P. 69-100. ISBN 5-244-00432-8
Coordinates: 44°00′00″N 40°00′00″E / 44.00000°N 40.00000°E