Forest ecosystems cover about 38%of territory of Georgia. Forests are found throughout the country, with the exception of the Javakheti plateau. Khevi and mountainous Tusheti are relatively poor in forests.
Flood plane forest biome
In eastern Georgia flood plane forests* are only found along the rivers Mtkvari, Alazani, Iori and downstream Ktsia. These forests are dominated by oak (Quercus pedunculiflora) and poplar (Populus canesaeus, Populus hybrida), and are rich in creepers*. The poplar forests along the river Iori are noteworthy in term of plant diversity. There is a clear distinction in species composition of forests along the river* and in dry gullies*.
Flood plane forests in West Georgia are dominated by the alder Alnus barbata, although there are other tree species present (wingnut Pterocarpa pterocarpa, oak Quercus pedunculiflora, and willow Salix mican, and S. alba). Away from the water sea buckthorn Hippophae rhamnoides and dewberry Rubus anatolicus create dense communities.
Arid light woodland and hemi-xerophyte scrub biome
Arid light woodlands* are found in the semi-desert and steppe belt of eastern Georgia. This biome consists of hemi-xeropyte tree and drought tolerant grass species. The best example of arid woodlands is represented in the Vashlovani Reserve that covers around 5,000 ha. Arid light woodlands are found on grey-yellow soils where the climate is dry subtropical (Vashlovani) or temperate warm (Mtskheta). Celtis caucasica forests are less common.
Juniper woodlands* are found on northern slopes of foothills at Mtkheta and Vashlovani, often occupying previously deforested areas. These woodlands are dominated by Juniperus foutidissima (an eastern Mediterranean species) and J. polycarpus (a Middle Eastern species). Pistacia mutica communities are found on chernozem and yellow-brown soils.
Semi-xeropyte scrub* mainly occurs on southern foothills of east Georgia at the altitudes of 600-800 m in areas formerly occupied by Georgian oak (Quercus iberica). Xeromorphic shrubs and semi-shrubs, and ephemerals dominate this habitat type.
Forests are the most common habitat type in Georgia, covering 36.7% of the total area of the country. Oriental beech (Fagus orientalis) tends to be the dominant species, although there are many other tree species* present in the forests. Notable forest types include:
1 Georgian oak forest (Quercus iberica): Occurs at 600-700 m.a.s.l. in eastern Georgia.
2 Xerophilic oak forests*
4 Pine forests* : These often develop on the edges of mountain steppes or steppe-meadows (in southern Georgia), between 1,700-2,400 meters a.s.l. and are remarkably species rich.
5 Pine and oak woodland: This forest type is particularly noteworthy. It can be found in eastern Georgia at 800-1,100 m.a.s.l., but in Achara (western Georgia) from 300-1,200 m.a s.l.
6 Yew (Taxus baccata) forests: Found in the east of Georgia, these are relic forests, a fragment of which is preserved in the Batsara Reserve.
7 Zelcova* forest: These forests are found in east Georgia. The forest in Babaneuri is noteworthy due to its relict nature and distribution.
8 Maple (Acer velutinum) forests: These forests are found only in Alazani Valley. This species does not occur above 1,000 m. In east Georgia Acer laetun is usually found in mixed forests.
9 Colchic forests*: These are forest in the Kolkheti (Colcheti) Lowlands (West Georgia), rich in creepers.
10 Endemic pine (Pinus pitiunta)*: These forests are found on the Abkhazian coastline.
11 Chestnut forests: These are found both in east and west Georgia. In west Georgia they occur at 100-1,000 m. In east Georgia are found as high as 1,400-1,450 meters but typically occur from 400-500 meters up to 1,300 – 1,350 meters a.s.l.
The high mountain flora of the subalpine zone is generally very diverse. This is believed to be due to the biome’s geographical location, contrasting climatic conditions and its very disrupted and complex topography.
The flora of the upper tree line (2,400-2,750 m.a.s.l.) is especially complex and diverse in terms of species composition and community structure. It is rich in rare endemic and relic species. Major plant community types include light woodlands, crook-stem forests*, lying shrubs*, high grasslands, and broadleaf meadows. At about 1,800-1,900 m. sparse park-like forests replace closed canopy forests*. Sparse forests* are common on the Great Caucasus as well as on the Lesser Caucasus. Colcheti crook-stem forests* are remarkably rich in endemic and/or relic species.