Forest in Turkey

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Forest now covers just over a quarter of Turkey, but 4000 years ago most of the country was forested. The country is reforesting, which is important for the wildlife of Turkey.


Forest cover before the formation of the Republic in 1923 is not well known.[1] The first big afforestation project was in 1939.[2]

Climate and forests

Forest covers 23 million of Turkey's 78 million hectares, but 3 million hectares are unproductive (less than 10% crown cover).[3]: 323  Almost all forest is state owned and managed by the General Directorate of Forestry[2] of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.[4] The constitution prohibits forests being transferred from state ownership; however, private afforestation permits allow the private sector to reforest state land.[5] Less than four thousand hectares a year are reforested by the private sector.[6] 5% of forest is coppice and the rest high forest.[7] There are also six million hectares of maquis, mostly in the south and west.[8] High rainfall in the eastern Black Sea Region sustains temperate rainforest.[9] Drought in Turkey is a threat both directly and by encouraging bark beetles.[10]

Forest products industry

22 million cubic metres of wood was harvested in 2019.[6] 20 million lira (3,500,000 USD) support was provided to 765 families in 2019.[6]

Distribution of forests

A quarter of the Black Sea Region is forested, and other regions with over 10% forest are Marmara, Aegean, Mediterranean and East Anatolian.[11]

The most common species are: cedar (2%), juniper (3%), fir (3%), scotch pine (7%), beech (9%), larch (22%), oak (24%) and red pine (27% - 5.9 million ha).[12]

Wildfires in Turkey are increasing in some regions due to climate change in Turkey.[13]

Benefits of forests

Most forests are natural and semi-natural, on mountains and have a lot of biodiversity, hosting most species of the flora of Turkey and fauna of Turkey,[1] including Anatolian leopards.[14][15] Deciduous forests are along the Black Sea region. Species in various ecoregions in Turkey, namely Irano-Turanion, Mediterranean and Euro-Siberian, belong to about 800 woody taxa. The predominant species are Turkish pine (Pinus brutia), Black pine (Pinus nigra), European red pine (Pinus silvestris), Fir ( Abies spp.), Caucasian Spruce (Picea orientalis), Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani), Juniper (Juniperus spp.), Stone pine (Pinus pinea), Mediterranean cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis), Oriental beech (Fagus orientalis), Oak (Quercus spp.), Alder (Alnus spp.), Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa), Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus).[1]

Over 20% of forests are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, and in 2019 more round wood was exported than imported.[16]

Forests are the country's main carbon sink, in western Turkey mostly as living biomass rather than soil organic carbon,[17] and are estimated to have absorbed 84 million tonnes of the 500 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by Turkey in 2019.[3]: 309  As of 2016 the government did not have enough expertise to easily issue reforestation carbon certificates for the Clean Development Mechanism.[18]

The World Bank says, "Increasing forest cover and improving forest health can help prevent soil erosion and landslides and reduce the impacts of floods."[19]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Turkey Forests". Retrieved 2021-05-30.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bilir, Nebi (June 2017). "General over-view of forest establishment in Turkey" (PDF).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Turkish Greenhouse Gas Inventory report [TurkStat report]. Turkish Statistical Institute (Technical report). April 2021.
  4. 2019-2023 Stratejik Plan [2019-2023 Strategic Plan]. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (Report). Retrieved 2021-05-29.
  5. Gençay, Gökçe (2020-07-01). "Legal framework of private afforestation: The case of Turkey". Land Use Policy (in English). 96: 104673. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.104673. ISSN 0264-8377.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "ORMANCILIK İSTATİSTİKLERİ, 2019" [2019 forestry statistics] (PDF).
  7. "Resmi İstatistikler" [Official statistics]. Retrieved 2021-05-30.
  8. EFIMED (2020-10-27). "Integrating maquis vegetation to forest management plans in Turkey". MedForest (in English). Retrieved 2021-05-30.
  9. "Climate & the Ecology of Turkey's Temperate Rain Forest". Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  10. Tufekcioglu, Aydin (March 2018). "Forest ecosystems and drought interactions".
  11. "Türkiye'de Ormanların Coğrafi Bölgelere Göre Dağılımı". (in Türkçe). Retrieved 2021-06-20.
  12. "Türkiye orman Varlığı" (PDF). Orman Genel Müdürlüğü. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  13. "Climate change and forest fire trend in the Aegean and Mediterranean regions of Turkey".
  14. Karataş, A.; Bulut, Ş. & Akbaba, B. (2021). "Camera trap records confirm the survival of the Leopard (Panthera pardus L., 1758) in eastern Turkey (Mammalia: Felidae)". Zoology in the Middle East: 1–8. doi:10.1080/09397140.2021.1924419.
  15. Sarı, A.; Gündoğdu, E.; Başkaya, Ş. & Arpacık, A. (2020). "Habitat preference by the Anatolian leopard (Panthera pardus tulliana Valenciennes, 1856) in North-eastern Anatolia, Turkey". Belgian Journal of Zoology. 150: 153–168. doi:10.26496/bjz.2020.78.
  16. "Turkey Forest Products Annual Market Review- 2020" (PDF). General Directorate of Forestry.
  17. Mumcu Kucuker, Derya (2020-08-01). "Spatiotemporal changes of carbon storage in forest carbon pools of Western Turkey: 1972–2016". Environmental Monitoring and Assessment (in English). 192 (8): 555. doi:10.1007/s10661-020-08431-x. ISSN 1573-2959. PMID 32740772. S2CID 220886275.
  18. Kuş, Melike; Ülgen, Hüma; Güneş, Yusuf; Kırış, Rüstem; Özel, Ali; Zeydanlı, Uğur (2017), Erşahin, Sabit; Kapur, Selim; Akça, Erhan; Namlı, Ayten (eds.), "Carbon Certification of Afforestation and Reforestation Areas in Turkey", Carbon Management, Technologies, and Trends in Mediterranean Ecosystems, The Anthropocene: Politik—Economics—Society—Science (in English), Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 131–137, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-45035-3_9, ISBN 978-3-319-45035-3, retrieved 2021-05-30
  19. "Turkey Resilient Landscape Integration Project". World Bank. 12 March 2020.

External links