a preserve located on the southern spurs of the Main Caucasian Range at elevations from 300 to 2,200 m (the highest elevations are 2,543 and 3,263 m). Area, 16,167 hectares (1974).
Established in 1947 as the Ritsa-Avadkhara Preserve, the preserve was reorganized in 1957 to protect Lake Bol’shaia Ritsa, Lake Malaia Ritsa, and the most important natural land-forms. The terrain is dissected by many canyons. On slopes with elevations from 300 to 600 m, hornbeam, linden (Tilia caucasica), Imeretian oak, smooth-leaved elm, chestnut, and box (Buxus colchica) predominate. Nordmann fir and the pine Pinus caucasica are found at elevations from 600 to 1,800 m; oriental beech and oriental spruce are also encountered at these elevations. Slopes at elevations from 1,800 to 2,200 m are covered with Nordmann fir, oriental beech, oriental spruce, and the pine Pinus hamata. The forests border the subalpine zone.
Animals commonly found in the preserve include the Caucasian red deer, roe deer, chamois, wild boar, pine marten, Caucasian snow pheasant (Tetraogallus caucasicus), and black grouse. Lake Bol’shaia Ritsa is inhabited by trout and by acclimatized whitefish (Coregonus).