Knowledge for Sustainability in Greater Caucasus Villages Essay

Knowledge for Sustainability in Greater Caucasus Villages Essay

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The Şahdağ region – named after the, with its 4243m, highest mountain of Azerbaijan – is located in the northern part of Azerbaijan at the border with Russia (Dagestan). The region forms part of the Greater Caucasus Mountains. The villages of the project region are considered the highest inhabited places in Azerbaijan (with altitudes up to 2000m a.s.l.) that since ancient times are indwelled by ethnic/ linguistic minorities such as Qrız, Xınalıq, Budugh (that linguistically are referred to the Şahdağ language group) and Lezgi (Clifton et al., 2005; Cavadov, 2007).
Until about 1900 m a.s.l. the potential natural vegetation (mountain forests) is highly degraded due to anthropogenic influence and forests, except for hard to reach locations, are cut down completely. The subalpine and alpine mats of the higher altitudes have a high rate of biodiversity. These areas are also used as summer-pastures by transhumant ethnic Azeri from the lowlands. Consequently, these areas are prone to overgrazing (Krever et al., 2001; cited in PUGASMAOS 2006) and some of which are on the edge of their carrying capacity. Especially with respect to the livestock sector (which is the most important source of income for the local population (ZAHLEN!!!) of the region, climate delineates the most decisive factor.
The investigated village is located at around 2000 m a.s.l. and is inhabited by ethnic Qrɪz. Before World War II the village was constituted by 700 households, today only 32 households are left. Although the date of the village foundation is unclear the 10th century mosque gives an indication about the long-time existence of the village and the religious beliefs of its inhabitants. Agricultural and livestock breeding traditions date back to Pre-so...


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