CIVICS/Lake Arpi Case Study

The case study area Lake Arpi is located in the north-western part of Armenia, in the province of Shirak bordering Georgia and Turkey.

Impressions from Lake Arpi National Park
The Village Ardenis
Herd of Sheep at the Arpi Lake


The national park Lake Arpi is located in the province of Shirak in the north-western part of Armenia. The national park was established in 2009. The lake lays 2 023 m above sea level and the total area is about 22 km². In the 1950s, the lake was artificially increased by the government up to 4.5 km² and became the second important water source of the country next to Lake Sevan. The lake used for hydropower production as well as for irrigation, belongs to the Ramsar Convention. The region struggles with extreme and inhospitable climate conditions. The overall ranging is from 1500 to 3100 m above sea level and the mean temperature from -13 up to +13°C with a vegetation period of 160 days, 2400 hours of sunshine a year and 550 mm of mean annual precipitation. Biogeographically the region is represented by steppes, meadow-steppes, alpine meadows, sub-alpines and wetlands. Steppes are located mostly between 1800 and 2500 m and grow on chernozem soils. Field steppes just occur along northern slopes and are dominated by Stipa tirsa. The region of Lake Arpi is treeless.

People of the buffer zoneEdit

18 villages are located at the buffer zone of the Lake Arpi national park. In total 1150 households are living here.The most important economic activity of the region is livestock production. Relatively low range productivity, found along slopes of north extern exposure over-grazing and poor range control is responsible for the visible range deterioration in some areas. The communal grazing areas are leased of by the communities to livestock owners on a 25-year lease basis. Prestudy visits to the region have shown that the region is also suffering by bad infrastructure, poverty and very bad utility supply (mostly of gas). Furthermore mobility, job opportunities and market connections are insufficient. Especially during winter period the region is isolated from the rest of the country.