Afforestation of arid and semiarid ecosystems in Turkey


Abstract: Sustainable management of arid and semiarid forests requires careful planning and implementation. Afforestation by planting and seeding is a fundamental tool for the establishment of new forests on barren landscapes and restoration of degraded forests in arid and semiarid ecosystems. In afforestation efforts, the consideration of site preparation, selection of species, seed source, and planting methods pose a number of ecological and economic challenges. Possessing one of the world's richest floras, Turkey suffered from heavy degradation during the last millennia. Some studies suggested that forests and steppes once covered 60%-70% and 10%-15% of the Anatolian landscape, respectively. Growing population, overgrazing, clearance for agriculture, fires, excessive timber harvesting, and misuse of lands led to a 26% reduction in the forest area. The Turkish Forest Service completed 2.3 million ha of afforestation and 1.2 ha of erosion control works, mostly in semiarid landscapes. This article presents an assessment of afforestation activities in the semiarid and arid regions of Turkey and is a review of the efforts exerted during the period 1945 to 2014.

Keywords: Afforestation, desertification, ecosystem management, restoration, site preparation

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