Protected areas in Turkey

In terms of biodiversity, Turkey is one of the richest countries in Europe and the Middle East, and ranks the ninth on the European Continent in this respect. There are a number of different ecological regions each with its own endemic species and natural ecosystems. The richness of biodiversity in Turkey is expressed in its 120 mammals, more than 400 bird species, 130 reptiles, and nearly 500 fish species. The diversity of the geographic formations of Turkey and its location at the intersection of two important Vavilovian gene centers (the Mediterranean and the Near Eastern) are the reasons for high endemism and genetic diversity (Ministry of Environment, 2002).

There have been various types of habitats formed in the earth since the beginning of the world and existence of the living beings. Human beings, animals, plants and microorganisms have been surviving in the ecosystems together for many years together with the non-living beings, like water, air, soil, rock and climatologically factors. However, due to technological developments starting from 1960’s, there have been significant adverse impacts on the nature. Man can survive less dependent on the surrounding factors and has the ability to easily change the environmental factors with his technological power. The ecological balances have been greatly degraded due to increase in populations and rapidly developing technologies. In this regard, Turkey is relatively lucky when compared to the most of the countries in Europe and America. In Turkey, there are still number of ecosystems where natural balance has not been completely degraded and we still have a rich biodiversity throughout Turkey.

Turkey is home to 75% of the plant species that exist on the European continent, and one third of these species are endemic plants. The rich flora of Turkey includes more than 9,000 plant species and more than 500 bulbous plants. This flora, with a high endemism ratio, is also rich in medicinal and aromatic plants (Ministry of Environment, 2002). Most of the endemic plant species are found in the Taurus Mountains, the Nur Mountains and the Eastern Black Sea Coast (Ministry of Environment, 2001).

Located on the migration routes of many birds, Turkey is a key country for many bird species. 454 bird species have been sited. Several of its species are globally under threat (Ministry of Environment, 2002). Turkish wetlands are of crucial importance for many breeding species of birds.

There are 472 fish species in Turkey and 50 of these are at risk of extinction. Some 192 freshwater fish species belonging to 26 different families have been identified (Ministry of Environment,2002).

Approximately 3,000 plant and animal species have been identified in Turkey’s seas (Ministry of Environment, 2001). There are about 20 species of mammals including the Mediterranean monk seal, whales and dolphins with mostly decreasing populations. The Turkish Straits and the Sea of Marmara form a special ecosystem (an ecotone) between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The Aegean Sea is especially important for the endangered Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus), which is considered to be one of the 12 most endangered species in the world. Less than 50 specimens inhabit the coasts of Turkey (Ministry of Environment, 2001). The Aegean Sea and its islands contain numerous microhabitats (Posidonia oceanica and Cystoseira species) that play an important role in the sustainability of the ecosystem (Ministry of Environment, 2002).

Turkey has accepted the Action Plan (1989 and 1999) for the conservation of Mediterranean marine turtles within the framework of the Barcelona Convention. Several breeding habitats of marine turtles, including Dalyan, Fethiye, Patara, Goksu Delta, and Belek, were declared as Specially Protected Areas in 1988 and 1990. The Ministry of Environment established the Marine Turtles National Commission and the Marine Turtles Scientific Commission for the coordination of activities towards the protection of the two species. Turkey also accepted the action plan for the conservation of the Mediterranean monk seal, again developed in the framework of the Barcelona Convention (Ministry of Environment, 2002). In this context, Turkey has signed many international conventions and agreements.

In this context, Turkey has signed many international conventions. These conventions are; International Conventions and Protocols on Nature Protection Ratified by Turkey

• Convention on Biodiversity Conservation (Rio Convention) (1997)

• Cartagena Protocol (2004)

• CITES (1996)

• Barcelona Convention (1988)

• Bucharest Convention (1994)

• Protection of Cultural and National Heritage (1983)

• Convention on Combating Erosion (1998)

• European Landscape Convention (2000)

• Bern Convention(1984)

• Ramsar Convention (1994)

• Kyoto Protocol (2009)

Depending on these conventions, by 2011, nearly 1800 sites had been identified by the Ministry of Forest and Water as warranted protection under the 1983 law (Table 1), by 2003, nearly 6 400 sites had been identified by the Ministry of Culture as warranted protection under the 1983 law (Table 2).

Conservation Status

Number

Related Law

National park

41

Law on National Parks

Nature conservation area

31

Law on National Parks

Natural monument

106

Law on National Parks

Nature park

41

Law on National Parks

Wild life reserve areas

79

Law on Terrestrial Hunting

Conservation forest

57

Law on Forest

Genetic conservation areas

214

Law on Forest

Seed stands

339

Law on Forest

Specially protected areas (SPAs)

14

Law on Environment

Natural sites

947

Law on Conservation of Cultural And Natural Heritage

Ramsar sites

13

Ramsar Convention

By-law on Conservation of Wetlands

Biosphere Reserve

1

Law on National Parks – Law on Forest

Table 1. Protected areas which identified by the Ministry of Forest and Water.

Conservation Staus

Number

Archaeological Site

4,920

Natural Site

787

Urban Archaeological Site

182

Historical Site

121

Other Sites

371

Total Number

6,381

Table 2. Protected areas (especially cultural areas) which identified by the Ministry of Forest and Water.

National Parks

A national park refers to an plot of land set aside by a national government and usually designated as an area free of development. Often, national parks include pristine wilderness areas or other pieces of environmental heritage which the nation has deemed worthy of preservation. In the United States, national parks also include historic areas and monuments to scientific achievement.

Prepared by the IUCN classification of protected areas, national parks are in Categories 2. Definition of this category is below;

‘Natural area of land and/or sea, designated to (a) protect the ecological integrity of one or more ecosystems for present and future generations, (b) exclude exploitation or occupation inimical to the purposes of designation of the area and (c) provide a foundation for spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor opportunities, all of which must be environmentally and culturally compatible.

Management Objectives of This Category

• To protect natural and scenic areas of national and international significance for spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational or tourist purposes

• To perpetuate, in as natural a state as possible, representative examples of physiographic regions, biotic communities, genetic resources, and species, to provide ecological stability and diversity;

• To manage visitor use for inspirational, educational, cultural and recreational purposes at a level which will maintain the area in a natural or near natural state

• To eliminate and thereafter prevent exploitation or occupation inimical to the purposes of designation;

• To maintain respect for the ecological, geomorphological, sacred o aesthetic attributes which warranted designation; and

• To take into account the needs of indigenous people, including subsistence resource use, in so far as these will not adversely affect the other objectives of management.

Guidance for Selection

• The area should contain a representative sample of major natural regions, features or scenery, where plant and animal species, habitats and geomorphological sites are of special spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and touristic significance

• The area should be large enough to contain one or more entire ecosystems materially altered by current human occupation or exploitation.

National parks are natural areas that provide transcendental, adventure and educational experiences. One management goal, however, is to take into account the needs of indigenous people. In this way, parks serve multiple constituencies that have sometimes been at loggerheads (Weeks and Mehta, 2004).

National Parks Law in Turkey, scientific and aesthetic terms, national and international rare, natural and cultural resource values and conservation, recreation and tourism will have the values of nature.

The purpose of this Law is specified as the "identification of areas which possess values of national and international importance, as national park, nature park, nature monument, and nature protection area, and the protection, enhancement and management of these areas without degrading their values and characteristics" There are 43 national parks in Turkey (Figure 2)

image2

Fig. 2. National parks in Turkey.

The first national park in Turkey was established in 1958 (The Yozgat Pine Grove National Park) (Figure 3). Some of these parks, which were initially established for archaeological and historical purposes, are at the same time rich habitats where biological diversity is being protected.

image3

Fig. 3. The Yozgat Pine Grove National Park, Turkey (www. milliparklar. gov. tr).

National Parks are defined as recreation and tourism areas which are rare in terms of scientific and scenic perspective in nature and are important for the conservation of the natural and cultural resource values (Yucel, 1995). These areas are in different regions of Turkey and were assigned as national parks at various dates and with various purposes; they are now under protective control and are kept open for public use (Guglu and Karahan, 2008).

Some information and resource values of these national parks are given below (Table 1).

National Park

Area

(ha)

Date

Resource Value

The Yozgat Pine Grove National Park

264

1958

Natural Finns sp. (residual forest)

Karatepe Aslantaf National Park

7715

1958

Flora, visual landscape, historical value

Soguksu National Park

1195

1959

Geological and geomorphologic value, thermal water

Bird Paradise National Park

24047

1959

Fauna, especially bird species

Uludag National Park

12372

1961

Flora and fauna

Yedigoller (Sevenlakes) National Park

2019

1965

Lakes, flora, recreation

Dilek Peninsula National Park

27675

1966

Flora, fauna, wetlands

Spil Mountain National Park

6693,5

1968

Geological value, flora, historic and mythological value

Kizildag National Park

59400

1969

Geological value, flora

Termessos National Park

6702

1970

Ancient city, geological value, biodiversity

Kovada Lake National Park

6534

1970

Geological value, flora, karstic lake

Ilgaz Mountain National Park

1088

1976

Flora, winter sports, alpine flora

Munzur Valley National Park

42000

1971

Streams, flora, fauna, geomorphologic value

Olympos National Park

34425

1972

Archeological residual, flora

Gelibolu Peninsula Historical National Park

33000

1973

Historical war, geological and geomorphologic value

Koprulu Canyon National Park

36614

1973

Archeological residual, geological value

Bafkomutan Historical National Park

40742

1981

Cultural and geological value

Goreme Historical National Park

9572

1986

Historical settlement, geomorphologic value

Altindere Valley National Park

4800

1987

Cultural value, landscape,

Bogazkoy-Alacahoyuk Historical National Park

2634

1988

Archeological residual

Nemrut Mountain National Park

13850

1988

Historical open air museum, landscape

Beyfehir Lake National Park

88750

1993

Historical residual, geomorphologic value, wetlands, fauna especially bird species

Kazdaglari National Park

21463

1993

Flora, fauna, biodiversity,

Ka^kar Mountain National Park

51550

1994

Geological and geomorphologic value, flora and fauna

Hattila Valley National Park

16988

1994

Geological and geomorphologic value, flora and fauna

Altinbefik Cavern National Park

1156

1994

Geological and geomorphologic value

Karagol – Sahara National Park

3766

1994

Hydrographic structure, vegetation

Aladaglar National Park

54 524

1995

Landscape, waterfall

Honaz Mountain National Park

9616

1995

Geological and geomorphologic value, flora

Troya Historical National Park

13350

1996

Geomorphologic value, historical residual

Marmaris National Park

33350

1996

Geomorphologic value, flora and fauna

Saklikent National Park

12390

1996

Flora, fauna, hydrological geomorphologic value

Kure Mountain National Park

37000

2000

Natural forest, biodiversity, geological and geomorphologic value

Sarikamif-Allahuekber Mountain National Park

22980

2004

Historical value, fauna

Agri Mountain National Park

87 380

2004

Geomorphologic value

Gala Lake National Park

6090

2005

Wetland and forest ecosystem, bird species

Sultan Sazligi National Park

24523

2006

Wetland ecosystem, bird species

Tek Tek Mountain National Park

19335

2007

Geomorphologic and historical value, fauna

Igneada Longos Forest National Park

3155

2007

Wetland and alluvial forest ecosystem, lagoon, flora, fauna

Yumurtalik Lagoon National Park

16 430

2008

Lagoon, swamp, sand dune

Nenehatun National Park

387

2009

Historical value

Table 3. National Parks in Turkey.