Geospatial information for sustainable food systems

Ecosystem based adaptation planning: ensuring continued food security in the Anatolian Steppe

The Republic of Turkey’s Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MFAL) is working on a detailed action plan to implement and monitor Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (EBA) in the Anatolian Steppe following April’s ‘study tour’ workshop at FAO Headquarters.

The workshop took place from 23-25 April in the framework of the project ‘Agricultural implications for Ecosystem Based Adaptation (EBA) to climate change in steppe ecosystems’.

Fatih Bozdemir, Chef Technical Advisor of the Project (FAOSEC), described how “the fragile steppe ecosystems are one of the least presented ecosystems in the legally protected area network in Turkey, this workshop has been invaluable in guiding us with examples of climate and crop yield projections, socio-economic vulnerability and much more…” 

During the three days, the eight participants including representatives from MFAL, the Directorate of the Turkish city of Konya and FAO, met with several experts from different units in FAO.

The workshop included an introduction to FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) and an overview of mapping Global Soil Organic Carbon. The participants were also given insights into the analysis of crop yield projections, water productivity and socio-economic vulnerability. The sessions were intended to support the participants in effectively planning the next steps of the project and to consider the possibility of developing new projects.

“Our first objective is to increase national capacity in preparation for the adoption of medium and long-term climate change ecosystem based adaptation plans…which will be gradually aligned with EU climate policy and legislation” explained Gianluca Franceschini, a FAO Geospatial data analyst facilitating the workshop.

Steppe ecosystems are today facing serious challenges - soil erosion, overgrazing, over-collection of valuable plant species, intensive farming, unplanned urbanization, and incorrect forestation practices. The steppe regions of Central and Eastern Anatolia host a rich variety of endemic plant species and globally threatened animal species. Agriculture has always been a major economic activity benefiting from these ecosystems but there is no overarching initiative to protect the biodiversity.

Responding to the threat to Anatolia’s natural resources depends on reliable and timely crop production information. In addition, monitoring of land use and land cover plays a significant role in formulating climate policies and international agreements (e.g. Post-Kyoto protocols). A systematic and objective way of using remote sensing and GIS techniques using different satellite imageries is essential.

FAO’s subregional Office for Central Asia is supporting the Republic of Turkey’s Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock and the Directorate of Konya, ensuring medium-term plans are in place to implement and monitor ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA) in the Anatolian Steppe.

Until the closure of the project in October 2018, the work continues with a workshop in Turkey on ecosystem services and vulnerability analysis at the end of May.