FAO in Türkiye

FAO guideline offers roadmap to revitalise post-fire forests

Photo: © FAO

Changing climatic conditions and increasing temperatures are causing an increase in the frequency and size of forest fires in Turkiye as well as around the world. In 2021, Turkiye lost nearly 150 thousand hectares of forests in fires that burned the Aegean coast to ashes. In addition to the forest assets that are lost after large fires, plant and living biodiversity is also comes under serious threat.

In order to find a solution to this increasingly devastating problem, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the General Directorate of Forestry and the Nature Conservation Centre (DKM), implemented the 'Post-Fire Restoration Activities of Forest and Maquis Ecosystems in Mugla Province' project. After a long period of work, FAO and DKM experts prepared an Ecosystem Restoration and Guideline for Post-Fire Forestry Practices. Pilot trainings were also held in Muğla with the participation of the General Directorate of Forestry teams within the scope of the preparing the guideline.

Muğla Regional Director of Forestry Saim Karabulut, who made the opening speech of the workshop held in the meeting hall of Muğla Regional Directorate of Forestry, stated that as the General Directorate of Forestry, they value the project and its results, and that the project will shed light on the work to be done on the rehabilitation of forest fires in the future.

Şahismail Beyazıt, Head of the Biodiversity Branch of the Department of Ecosystem Services of the General Directorate of Forestry, stated in his speech that as the Ministry and the General Directorate, they place importance on the protection of biodiversity and that the budget for this issue, which was 400 thousand TL in 2019, increased to 40 million TL in 2024. Beyazıt noted that the identification of endangered species and plants as a result of this study will be the basis for the preparation of a road map for the work of the General Directorate. 

While DKM Deputy General Manager Yıldıray Lise gave information on biodiversity-based ecosystem restoration, Dr. Elif Deniz Ülker, Biodiversity Programme Project Manager from DKM, presented the objectives and scope of the project as well as the activities and studies carried out within the scope of the project and their results.

Prof. Dr. Ali Kavgacı, one of the consultants of the project, provided information about the effects of fires, tree species and regeneration processes in fire areas in his presentation.

In the second part of the workshop moderated by Prof.Dr. Çağatay Kasapoğlu from Hacettepe University, Prof. Dr. Can Bilgin from METU explained the species most affected by fires. Bilgin explained the current post-fire practices and gave examples of the works carried out for birds affected by fire within the scope of the project.

After the second part of the workshop, discussions were held with the chiefs and staff of the Regional Directorate of Forestry in charge in the fire area about the practices recommended in the 'Guideline'.

Within the scope of the project, FAO and DKM experts, together with the teams of the General Directorate of Forestry, also examined the pilot applications carried out in the areas affected by the fire. It was observed that some bird species, which depend on trees for their existence, settled in the nests hung within the scope of the pilot application.