Blogpost: PREPSOIL Forest Soil Needs Workshop Forests (Antalya - Turkey)
Türkiye “PREPSOIL Regional Soil Needs Workshop” was held on April 26, 2023. This workshop was held in order to understand the most urgent needs in the NUTS2 - TR61 Region, which represents the soil need in and around Köprülü Canyon National Park (Forest). Köprülü Canyon National Park has outstanding landscape features such as typical unequal and valuable forest stands, habitats for wildlife, valuable sites for culture, karst geomorphology. The area includes Köprüçay creek as an ecotourism potential with an ongoing rafting and canoeing activities in the lower part of the creek. There is an important ancient city of Selge covering theatre and bazaar. The park is thus exceptional in terms of vegetation cover, historical structure, aesthetics, eco-tourism and social aspects. On the other hand, the park is also sensitive to forest fires having a pervasive influence on the stability of the ecosystems and adjacent to the acute Serik-Taşağıl and Manavgat wild fires, were broken out in 2008 and 2021 and destroyed several villages with nearly 75,000 ha of forest areas in total.
This workshop brought together different stakeholders (politicians, agricultural organizations, tourism professionals, non-governmental organizations, researchers and others) from around the world discussing the health of soils in protected forest areas.
The workshop is supported by "Karadeniz Technical University and Yozgat Bozok University" (which promoted the workshop in its website) and is titled "Toprak Sağlığının Değerlendirilmesi". It was held at the Forestry Application Center at a location accessible to all relevant stakeholders in city center of Antalya.
The aim of the workshop is to engage with the local people living around the national park and to understand the basic needs of the land in the region from their own perspective. In the first part of the workshop, the PREPSOIL Europe project was introduced and presentations by other stakeholders were made. Experts presented their scientific studies in the region;
- Prof. Dr. Turgay Dindaroglu, Introduction and background: EU Soil Mission and PREPSOIL
- Prof. Dr. Tugrul Yakupoglu, Introduction Soil Health Needs Assessment in PREPSOIL, DPSIR framework
- Assoc. Prof. Dr. Uzay Karahalil, Overview of the region (Köprülü Canyon Natural Park) current issues
- Vedat Dikici (Antalya Regional Directorate of Forestry), Related activities or projects in the region (near Köprülü Canyon NP)
- İsmail Kaya (Antalya Regional Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks ) Related activities or projects in the region (near Köprülü Canyon NP)
- Emin Demir Chamber of Forest Engineering (Role of Chamber of Forest Engineering related sustainability of Natural Forest)
- Prof. Dr. Ertugrul Bilgili, Regional threats and perspectives
Round table sessions were held after lunch. In the second part of the workshop, different stakeholders, closely linked to the national park forests and its surroundings, presented their visions of agriculture, olive tree farmers, the main problems facing tourism professionals and how soil conditions have deteriorated in recent years. In the roundtable meetings, an increase is observed in negative activities such as occupation, exploitation, illegal cutting in the tourism potential forest areas such as rafting, safari, geopark, etc. that develop uncontrollably every year around the protected forest areas. The opportunities and advantages of focusing on soil health for the sustainable management of protected areas were discussed. Especially he “tourism” focus group considers the first ranking land use as "forest" and the purpose of this land use as "tourism". They think that, there has been a significant increase in tourism activities within the Köprülü Canyon National Park (NP). Everyone was doing agriculture besides forest utilization, and tourism activities were minimal. However, tourism areas have increased, production decreased, changed from agriculture to tourism especially in the last 15 years. Compared to previous years, decreases in forest and agricultural areas have been observed recently. Water level has decreased and the groups think that climate change is effective in this.
Problems and solutions for the health problems of agricultural areas and olive groves in the region, which generally has an extremely sloping topography, and that the younger generation is oriented towards tourism rather than agriculture, were discussed. There was also discussion about the creation of Living Labs, the opportunities and benefits of being a part of this co-creation ecosystem. The results of the discussion and stakeholder comments will be included in the final reporting document PREPSOIL researchers and managers are conducting to analyze the main soil needs in this region.
This workshop got interest from the turkish General Directorate of Forestry.