Development of butterfly-watching in Gnishik community-managed protected area
Development of butterfly-watching in Gnishik community-managed protected area
Gnishik Community-Managed Protected Area of Armenia is a rangeland, important for conservation of biodiversity at species and ecosystem levels. It is represented by calcareous grasslands, inhabited by wide variety of plants and animals, including endemics of South Caucasus, and globally threatened species. The area is managed by three communities: Gnishik, Areni and Khachik. The primary income of the mentioned communities comes from various sectors of agriculture, in particular, livestock husbandry, horticulture, and apiculture. There is a growing tendency to extend cattle husbandry, leading to overgrazing and land erosion, affecting species habitats and eventually biodiversity.
In the meantime, the landscape is attractive for eco-tourism activities such as butterfly-watching, birdwatching, and mammal observation. Local communities can potentially benefit from providing hospitality and logistical services for the tourists. This alternative income opportunity can partly substitute intensive use of rangeland and support in development of sustainable, environmentally friendly practices of livestock husbandry. The project aims to enhance sustainability of the newly established Gnishik Community-Managed Protected Area (established by GEF Medium-Size Project in 2014) through strengthening local capacities to advance nature tourism activities in the PA communities. Current obstacles for tourism development in the area mainly relate to lack of elementary infrastructure and low local capacities to provide basic tourism services. Taking above mentioned into account, the project proposes (1) establishing the Nature Tourism Information and Accommodation Center in Amaghu site of Areni community, (2) enhancing local capacities for development of butterfly-watching and other nature tourism activities in the area, (3) disseminating information about new opportunities among tour operators and tourists, (4) helping the PA communities identify environmentally friendly grazing practices to mitigate pressure on habitats and biodiversity.
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Project Snapshot

“TSE Towards Sustainable Ecosystems” Environmental NGO
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 0.00
Co-Financing Cash:
Co-Financing in-Kind:
Project Number:
Project Terminated Before Completion
Project Characteristics and Results
Policy Influence
Although the project itself is not directly aimed at policy review and/or change, it may promote a broader application of the model of community-managed Protected Areas of Armenia, influencing the local policy-making processes. Also, the project supposes collection of a data on endemic species, which have not been yet evaluated for the Red Data Book of the Animals of Armenia or for the IUCN Red List. The collected data would lead to the missing assessments, and further inclusion of some of the species into the National and International Red Lists, which in its turn will influence the National Policy and would require development of Species Action Plans.
Notable Community Participation
At least 2 young local people are trained to operate the Tourism Information and Accommodation Center and other 2 are trained to serve as trail guides. There will be at least 2 young local team members involved in the project implementation. In addition, the project will open research and volunteering opportunities for students and environmentalists. Thus, at least 4 university students (from Yerevan State University, Russian-Armenian University, and American University of Armenia) can use the project resources for their research and Diploma work. Also the project has a potential of attraction of at least 10 young volunteers for its various activities – design and installation of the info boards, organization and implementation of the Visitor’s Center opening Ceremony, etc. For the purpose, the volunteer opportunities will be announced through Universities, Armenian Volunteer Corps, and our Facebook groups – Butterfly Conservation Armenia with over 250 young members (out of 473 members in total).
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Number of globally significant species protected by project 5
Hectares of globally significant biodiversity area protected or sustainably managed by project 2920
Number of women participated / involved in SGP project 130
Total monetary value (US dollars) of ecosystem goods sustainably produced and providing benefit to project participants and/or community as a whole (in the biodiversity, international waters, and land degradation focal areas as appropriate) 350

Grantee Contact

Mr. Karen Aghababyan
Phone: +37491 207751


87b Dimitrov St., Apt 14
Yerevan , 0020

SGP Country office contact

Mr. Hovhannes Ghazaryan
+374 60 530000+116
(+374 10) 543811
Ms. Svetlana Harutyunyan
+374 60 530000+117


14 Adamyan St.
Yerevan, 0010

Country Website