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New book celebrates Turkey’s biodiversity, sustainable agriculture

Turkey is home to a great variety of biodiversity and ecosystems. The country’s diverse geographic features range from the Black Sea Mountains to the Mediterranean plains, from eastern highlands to Aegean coastline, with three biogeographical regions. For centuries, Turkey’s ecosystems and biodiversity have been the basis of sustainable agricultural practices and food security in Anatolia.

Celebrating the country’s genetic treasure and its contribution to sustainable development, a new joint publication of FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Turkey was launched today in Izmir.

The book, titled “Biodiversity of Turkey: Contribution of Genetic Resources to Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems”, summarizes general information on geographical features and agro-ecological zones, diversity of genetic resources, agriculture and biodiversity, conservation and utilization of genetic resources in crop production and livestock husbandry, forestry, fisheries, and pharmaceutic and aromatic industries in Turkey.

The country’s vast biodiversity and long history of sustainable agricultural practices proved in some ways to be challenges to the book’s editors.

“Selecting certain genetic resources and traditional management practices out of the many for inclusion in this book was a challenging task,” said Hafiz Muminjanov, FAO agricultural officer, one of the editors of the book. “These are just samples; many others could also have been covered.”

Take the walnut, for example: One can learn about the climatic preferences of the tree, its geographic distribution, and how it adds to Turkey’s economy and plant genetic resources, not to mention its role in the country’s culinary traditions.

Each chapter of the book was prepared through a careful search and review of literature available on the topic and with the valuable contributions of renowned scientists. Many vivid photos, mostly from the archive of the “Agriculture and People” photo contest run by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, go hand in hand with the text to illustrate concepts.

Biological diversity has been declining worldwide at an alarming rate. Habitats have been fragmented; land, water and air have been steadily polluted. Since biodiversity is key for sustainable development in Turkey and elsewhere, it is no coincidence that biodiversity and ecosystems are featured prominently in many of the Sustainable Development Goals and associated targets. These call for urgent action to preserve and protect biodiversity to reverse the negative trend of degradation and, ultimately, to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth for everyone without harming the environment.

Turkey’s long commitment to the conservation of biodiversity continues through this publication, which aims to create greater public awareness about the value of biodiversity by bringing it to the attention of a broader public audience, including decision-makers, officials and educators worldwide.

The aim to create greater public awareness about the value of biodiversity by bringing it to the attention of a broader public audience, including decision-makers, officials and educators worldwide.

The book is available online in English and Turkish.

29 April 2019, Izmir, Turkey 

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