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Biodiversity Facts

Status and trends of biodiversity, including benefits from biodiversity and ecosystem services

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Turkey is located on the continents of Asia and Europe, bounded on the north by the Black Sea, on the west by the Aegean Sea, and on the south by the Mediterranean Sea. Turkey has a total surface area of 1,780,576 km2, of which 10,000 km2 is formed by rivers and lakes. Turkey is surrounded on the north by the Northern Anatolia Mountains which run parallel to the Black Sea coast, on the northwest by the Strandzha Mountains, on the south by the Taurus Mountains parallel to the Mediterranean coast, and on the west by the Western Anatolia Mountains perpendicular to Aegean Sea Coast. Turkey has 33 rivers, 200 natural lakes, 159 dam reservoirs and 750 artificial lakes, which constitute its inland waters.

This extraordinary ecosystem and habitat diversity have produced considerable species diversity. The fauna biological diversity is quite high in Turkey compared with the biological diversity of other countries in the temperate zone. Despite lack of data, the invertebrates constitute the largest number among the identified living species. The total number of invertebrate species in Turkey is about 19,000, of which about 4,000 species/subspecies are endemic. The total number of vertebrate species identified to date is near to 1,500; over 100 species are endemic, including 70 species of fish. Anatolia is the home of the fallow deer and the pheasant. The fact that Turkey is situated on two major bird migration routes in the world makes its location important in terms of the feeding and breeding area provided for birds. Turkey also has a rich plant biodiversity and a high rate of endemism. The country has approximately 11,000 gymnospermous and angiospermous plant species, with one-third of them endemic to Turkey. Eastern Anatolia and Southern Anatolia, among the geographical regions, and the lrano-Turanian and Mediterranean regions, among the phytogeographical regions, are rich in endemic plant species.

Turkey's genetic diversity becomes important with regard to plant genetic resources in particular because Turkey is located at the intersection of the Mediterranean and Near Eastern gene centers. These two regions have a key role in the appearance of cereals and horticultural crops. In Turkey, there are 5 micro-gene centers, in which more than 100 species display a wide variation, and which are the origin or centre of a large number of important crop plants and other economically important plant species, such as medicinal plants. These centers offer very important genetic resources for the future sustainability of many plant species cultivated across the world. In terms of animal genetic resources, it is agreed that many domestic animal races were originally bred in Anatolia, as a result of its location, and spread from here to other regions of the world.

Main pressures on and drivers of change to biodiversity (direct and indirect)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Major pressures to Turkey’s agricultural biodiversity include the inappropriate use of farmlands; unsuitable irrigation and farming methods; unconscious use of agricultural inputs; cross-breeding of local races with foreign ones of economic value; deficiencies in land registry and cadastre areas. Threats to the steppe ecosystems consist of the destructive effects of infrastructure and superstructure works; overgathering of plants of economic value; and wrong and unconscious deforestation and overgrazing.

Measures to Enhance Implementation of the Convention

Implementation of the NBSAP

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The National Biological Diversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) was prepared in 2001 under the coordinating role of the Ministry of Environment, with the intention that it should serve as a guide in implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity, in harmony with other obligations and in solving the problems caused by the loss of biological diversity. However, the need emerged to update the NBSAP in the light of the changing national and international conditions and trends and the progress recorded under the Convention since 2001. More than 100 representatives and experts from relevant governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations and universities participated in and contributed to the process of updating the NBSAP for the 2008-2018 period. Following the activities conducted under the leadership of a team of specialists who provided scientific and technical consultancy to the process, the data concerning Turkey's biological diversity and the information concerning the institutional and legal infrastructure were updated, the goals for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity were ranked by priority, and the strategic goals and roadmap were determined. In addition, the obstacles and gaps standing in the way of achieving the priority goals, the inconsistencies in practices, and the requirements to be met for achieving the goals were identified. The NBSAP contains ten objectives defined under the three broad goals of the CBD. Three of these objectives have been adopted as priorities by all thematic groups and, as such, are covered under all thematic areas, with the other six objectives being addressed within the specific scope of their respective thematic area.

Since the current NBSAP includes an Action Plan to be implemented up to 2018, a revision has not been planned for.

Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

A Grants Program is being initiated in the Seyhan River Basin with aid from the United Nations Joint Program on Enhancing the Capacity of Turkey to Adapt to Climate Change. Projects developed on climate change adaptation in the Seyhan River Basin with a community-based adaptation approach will be supported through the Grants Program. The UN Joint Program will guide climate change adaptation approaches by providing climate change adaptation principles in the areas of agricultural practices, water management, food security, disaster risk management induced by climate change, development of coastal areas, natural resources management and data and information management.

The Gene Conservation and Management Areas concept was developed under the project "In Situ Conservation of Turkey's Plant Genetic Diversity". Through this project, the necessary institutional and personnel capacity was developed for the in situ conservation of the gene resources of the wild relatives of agricultural plants. Activities were also implemented to create Gene Conservation and Management Areas which are sites chosen from natural or semi-natural areas for the in situ conservation of genetic diversity in selected plant species. They are also areas that enable the continuity of evolutionary formations and changes in populations of plant species determined as endemic, endangered and economically important target species.

The Anatolia Water Basins Rehabilitation Project Agreement was signed on 4 October 2004 and completed in 2011. The aims of the project were to achieve sustainable resource management and participatory planning in the Central Anatolia and Black Sea regions, to reduce pressure on natural resources, to adopt environment-friendly agricultural and silvicultural practices, to enhance institutional capacity, to raise public awareness and develop water and food management policies in the process of alignment with EU regulations. In connection with the rehabilitation and income-raising activities, the project aims at also identifying the Pollution of Agricultural Origin in the Klzllmnak and Yesihrmak basins and eliminating or reducing the negative impacts of such pollution, with support from the GEF.

The “Enhancing Coverage and Management Effectiveness of the Subsystem of Forest Protected Areas in Turkey's National System of Protected Areas" Project aims at contributing to the long-term conservation of the most representative range of global biodiversity by strengthening the national system of protected areas. The project is jointly executed by UNDP Turkey, as GEF Implementing Agency, and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MEF) as the national executing agency. Project partners are the General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks, General Directorate of Forestry, General Directorate of Forest Village Relations, General Directorate of Afforestation and Erosion Control and WWF-Turkey.

Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Article 63 of the Constitution declares that the State shall protect historical, cultural and natural assets and take supporting measures for this purpose. This Article also provides for the conservation of species in their natural environments. The fact that Turkey is party to international conventions aimed at the conservation of biological diversity is a reflection of its nature conservation policy. Importance has been attached to the conservation of the natural environment since the early years of the Republic. The designation of the first national park in 1958, when environmental problems were not yet intensive in Turkey, reflects a well-established approach to nature conservation. In the 1970s, when human pressure on the environment was beginning to rise in the world as well as in Turkey, environmental conservation policies started to become institutionalized in the country. The Environment Law also aims at the protection of the environment and all species, in accordance with the principles of sustainable environment and sustainable development. The regulations issued on the basis of the Environment Law specify rules on the prevention of pollution and on environmental impact assessment.

Other national environmental strategies, plans and programs include the National Environmental Action Plan; National Plan for In Situ Conservation of Plant Genetic Diversity; National Wetland Strategy; National Science and Technology Policies 2003-2023 Strategy Document and the Turkish National Action Program against Desertification.

The investment programs prepared by the State Planning Organization constitute the basic financial mechanism for the activities towards the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. Fines and the incomes obtained from the pricing of environmental services, as well as the respective shares allocated to the Ministries out of the general budget, provide financial resources for conservation activities through revolving funds. The Biological Diversity and Natural Resource Management Project, supported by the World Bank-Global Environmental Fund, which became effective in 2000, was completed in December 2007. It is the most comprehensive biological diversity project conducted by Turkey so far with a large-scale GEF contribution. This project aims at efficient, intersectoral and participatory planning and sustainable management of nature conservation and natural resources in the pilot sites of Igneada, Camili, Kopriilii Canyon and Suitansazhgl, representing the three important phytogeographical regions, and in 9 replication sites.

The MEF and the Ministry of National Education conduct regular training and awareness-raising activities. A national strategy which urges public awareness-raising and involvement in regard to biological diversity and resource management has been developed through a GEF-financed project. Under the same project, a strategy and action plan urging the capacity-building of NGOs concerning biological diversity have also been developed. The national biological diversity website has been constructed in English and Turkish. NGOs from the environmental sector play a significant role in public-awareness raising and enhancing sensitivity towards biodiversity in the country.

It is the responsibility of the MEF and its affiliated organizations to formulate the policies concerning the conservation and sustainable use of the environment and biological diversity, to designate and manage protected areas under various statuses, to develop and implement plans and programs, to carry out activities within this scope and to ensure coordination among different institutions. These duties and responsibilities are performed through the central and provincial units of the Ministry and its affiliated organizations. The affiliated organizations of the MEF are the Special Environmental Protection Agency, the General Directorate of Forestry, the General Directorate of the State Meteorological Service, and the General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works. The provincial organization of the MEF consists of the Provincial Directorates of Environment and Forestry and the regional directorates of the affiliated organizations.

As part of the southern belt of Mediterranean Europe, Turkey is already facing an observed warming trend in temperatures and a decreasing trend in precipitation. A project conducted on enhancing the capacity of Turkey to adapt to climate change concluded that national capacities to manage climate change risks would be achieved through mainstreaming climate change issues into the national development framework, local pilot actions, and the UN country programmatic framework.

Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The national database called "Noah's Ark" and a Biological Diversity Monitoring Unit were created to monitor the current state and progress of biological diversity in Turkey, and to use the data concerning biological diversity more effectively in conservation activities. In this context, gaps analysis work has also been started for the protected areas. The legal and institutional structure required for sustainable nature conservation and resource management has been reviewed and the "Draft Law for Nature Conservation" has been prepared. The Forest Management Regulation has been redrafted to ensure more effective conservation of biological diversity in exploited forests.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme