Shikahogh: Plane Grove Sanctuary

This sanctuary comprises the biggest in the Caucasus natural grove of the oriental plane Platanus orientalis. It was established in 1958 by a decree of the ArmSSR Council of Ministers (No. P-341 of 13 September 1958) and now covers the area of 64.2 ha. Before 2004, it was subordinated to the Kapan Forestry and then, in order to promote its conservation functions, was handed over to Shikahogh Reserve. The sanctuary is located near Shikahogh Reserve in close proximity to the Nerkin Hand village in the Tsav riverside at 700-800 m above sea level. To mitigate human impacts, the sanctuary is surrounded by a 100 m wide buffer zone which encompasses the lands of Nerkin Hand and the Kapan Forestry.

The lowland relief of the sanctuary makes its climate mild and warm. Snow cover forms occasionally and reaches the thickness of no more than 10 cm. Mean annual precipitation is 530 mm.

The plane grove has elongated shape of width 50-200 m and length 10 km stretched along the Tsav River. The grove’s core is composed of more than thousand 200-250 year old and 30-35 m high trees that have survived until today. There are also some sheer old and hollow trees. Apart from the plane, the other valuable and rare tree species growing in the sanctuary include the walnut Juglans regia, Arax oak Quercus araxina, silk vine Periploca graeca, euonymus Euonymus velutina and others. Among the endemics and rare species, the Voronov’s oxlip Primula woronowii and Komarov’s oxlip P. komarovii, as well as the Zangezur pear Pyrus zangezura should be mentioned.

Vertebrate fauna is quite rich in reptiles which include 7 species of lizards, 8 snakes and 2 tortoises. The rare species include the twin-striped skink Ablepharus bivittatus, cat snake Telescopus fallax and Transcaucasian rat snake Elaphe hohenackeri. The Trav River and its tributaries are inhabited by the brook trout Salmo trutta fario, Kura barbel Barbus lacerta cyri and other species.

Share Button

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *