35 coun­tries join Turkey’s na­tion­wide tree plant­ing cam­paign

Mil­lions are ex­pected to turn up to plant saplings for Novem­ber’s Na­tional Foresta­tion Day, while Turkey plans to in­clude other coun­tries in ef­forts to ex­pand its forests this year

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page - IS­TAN­BUL / DAILY SABAH

THE “BREATH For the Fu­ture” cam­paign launched last year by the gov­ern­ment will re­turn on Nov. 11. Agri­cul­ture and Forestry Min­is­ter Bekir Pakdemirli said this year’s saplings will also be planted in 35 other coun­tries along with Turkey. The cam­paign aims to boost the num­ber of forests in the coun­try, which fights de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion and has faced a surge of for­est fires in sum­mer months. Speak­ing at an event in the western prov­ince of İzmir or­ga­nized by Turku­vaz Me­dia

Group on the fu­ture of agri­cul­ture and forestry on Thurs­day, Pakdemirli said the cam­paign was one of the most suc­cess­ful in Turkey for mass plant­ing ef­forts. Dur­ing the cam­paign, Turkey set a new world record for plant­ing the most saplings in an hour, with 303,150 saplings planted. Over­all, more than 13 mil­lion saplings were planted in the cam­paign held si­mul­ta­ne­ously across the coun­try. The ef­fort saw top of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan, join­ing the work.

NOV. 11 was de­clared Na­tional Foresta­tion Day. The min­istry will sup­ply one sapling for free for each house­hold for the day this year. Bekir Kara­cabey, head of the Gen­eral Direc­torate of Forestry, told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Fri­day that ex­pand­ing the forests was vi­tal for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, and Turkey was set­ting an ex­am­ple for other coun­tries with its plant­ing ef­forts. He said they aimed to in­crease the rate of forests in Turkey’s to­tal area from 29% to at least 30% within the next three years.

The coun­try was al­ready en­gaged in large-scale plant­ing ef­forts by the gov­ern­ment, but it ex­panded its scope to in­clude the pub­lic to mo­bi­lize last year. Along with cre­at­ing new forests, the ef­forts aim to re­store the forests that fell vic­tim to fires. Last year, more than 47,000 acres of land were planted with saplings. A di­verse ar­ray of saplings were planted, from spruce, cedar, black pine, scotch pine, birch, wal­nut, al­mond, mul­berry, wild pear to rose­hip, laven­der and ash trees. Fruit trees were planted in ar­eas fre­quented by wild an­i­mals to aid their sur­vival. Kara­cabey said the cam­paign will also help de­crease green­house gas emis­sions.

Mass plant­ing will help Turkey re­grow the forests it lost to fires. The of­fi­cial fig­ures from Au­gust show that be­tween Jan­uary and that month, 1,800 for­est fires dam­aged an area of 4,298 hectares (42.98 square kilo­me­ters) across the coun­try. Causes of fires vary,

but they mostly stem from the neg­li­gence of the pub­lic, leav­ing flammable ma­te­rial be­hind in the forests; while the PKK ter­ror­ist group was be­hind some fires found out have been a re­sult of ar­son. Turkey stepped up pre­ven­tive mea­sures against the fires, tap­ping into tech­nol­ogy and in­creased man­power. Since last year, it also uses drones to mon­i­tor the forests.

Amid a con­struc­tion boom and con­cerns

over global warm­ing, Turkey has stepped up ef­forts to pre­serve and fur­ther ex­pand its forests. It is also pur­su­ing a cam­paign to boost the pro­duc­tion of saplings and in­crease rev­enue from forestry prod­ucts, namely fruit and honey pro­duc­tion, for vil­lagers. Thou­sands of forests were cre­ated in ru­ral ar­eas to gen­er­ate ex­tra in­come for farm­ers.

The mass plant­ing of trees and the im

prove­ment of pas­tures are also among the mea­sures be­ing taken against ero­sion and de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion, as part of an ac­tion plan by the gov­ern­ment. Hun­dreds of thou­sands of hectares of land turn into deserts ev­ery year due to poor ir­ri­ga­tion. Of­fi­cials say Turkey is among the coun­tries most af­fected by the in­crease in nonarable lands and cli­mate change, as it sits in a ge­o­graph­i­cally chal­leng­ing lo­ca­tion sand­wiched be­tween dif­fer­ent cli­mates. More than half of Turk­ish soil has the char­ac­ter­is­tics of arid, semi-arid and semi-hu­mid cli­mates. Turkey’s cen­tral and south­east­ern re­gions, known for vast flat­lands and steep moun­tains, are par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble to the risk of de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion. Ero­sion is an­other threat for Turkey, where most lands have an el­e­va­tion far higher than coun­tries in its im­me­di­ate re­gion.

A man plants a sapling in the court­yard of the Turkey Youth Foun­da­tion (TÜGVA) as part of the foun­da­tion’s plant­ing cam­paign, in Is­tan­bul, Turkey, Oct. 14, 2020.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Turkey

© PressReader. All rights reserved.