The peculiarities in the development and changes in the subtropical agricultural landscapes (in western Georgia)

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IAR Journal of Agriculture Research and Life Sciences
The article points out natural and anthropogenic factors contributing to the formation, development and alteration of agricultural landscapes in western Georgia, specifically, in the Colkheti coastal plain and the adjacent hilly foothill zone, where subtropical agriculture used to be heavily developed (tea and citrus plantations, etc.). The former state-owned tea farm zone in the borough of Laituri, Ozurgeti municipality, Guria was selected as the study location. GIS technologies were applied to digitalize the 1960 landscape map of the zone and create its new version (1:50 000) as of 2017 based on the topographical map of 1960 (1:50 000), satellite images and field observations (2010-2017). The analysis of the Laituri 1960 and 2017 landscape showed that 66% of tea plantations have been amortized and degraded: they have gone wild and are overtaken by weeds. Due to high costs involved, only 10% of the area was cleared to cultivate hazel nuts, blue huckleberry and persimmon. 24% of tea plantations survive to varying degrees and are currently harvested.
Agricultural landscapes, western Georgia, subtropical agriculture, tea culture, GIS technology.