In April 2016, the MEDFORVAL team was in Turkey. It was the occasion to visit Köprülü site.
Photo: Nesat ERKAN
The Köprülü MEDFORVAL site is a pure 311 ha cypress forest (Cupressus sempervirens L. var. horizontalis) included in a larger 736 ha forest where cypress is mixed with other species such as Pinus brutia at low altitude, Pinus nigra and Cedrus libani in upper limit.
The forest, owned by the Turkish state, is uninhabited but is used for sylvo-pastoralism. It shows significant goat grazing pressure (several herds were encountered during the visit).
The visit was organised around two major stops:
2. MEDFORVAL site – cypress forest
Leaving Antalya and before arriving at the first stop, we cross a flat alluvial area cultivated and fertile; landslides marks are visible going uphill.
First stop in Tasagil. In 2008, approximately 15,000 ha of forest were destroyed by fire. An important post-fire restoration work was conducted, with both natural regeneration and planting.
Tourist activities are proposed on the river, such as rafting. Nesat ERKAN explains that along this road, there are some natural forests. The forests are managed by the Turkish state.
On the west side of the mountains: low Mediterranean vegetation, on limestone. The landscape mosaic is reinforced by riparian deciduous species as Eastern Sycamore. Scattered habitats. Asphodel presence marking overgrazing and degradation.
At approximately 250m of altitude (karst soil, east/west exposed slopes), vegetation is: Cistus albidus, Olea europea var. sylvestris, Ceratonia siliqua L., Juniperus spp, Arbutus andrachne L., Arbutus unedo, Cupressus sempervirens, Laurus nobilis
MEDFORVAL site – cypress forest
736 ha natural forest, including 1/3 of pure cypress (Cupressus semprervirens L. var. horizontalis), located in a national park (Köprülü Kanyon National Park). Turkey would be the point of origin of the iconic green cypress in Provence, Tuscany, and in the entire Mediterranean basin. The population of Koprulu most likely has a very large genetic interest for the future of this species.
Human activities (habitation, logging, grazing) are theoretically completely forbidden within the National Park. In reality, illegal loggings are numerous (in particular to make cattle sheds), and shepherds regularly bring their animals (sheep, goats) to graze in the area. Many traces of overgrazing with bushes of bonsai Oleaster, Phillyrea, etc. Any forest regeneration becomes problematic with such pressure.
In terms of wildlife, in addition to the abundant Greek tortoises, we can note the rare presence of bears and wolves, and ibex on top of the mountains. In terms of flora, we can obersve: Rhamnus alaternus, Euphorbia sp., Ceterach officinarum Willd., Salvia spp., Nepeta L., Quercus coccifera, Pistacia terebinthus subsp. Palaestina, Phillyrea media L., Rhamnus punctata Boiss., Erodium cicutarium, Juniperus oxycedrus L., Atractylis L.
The MEDFORVAL site represents about 300 hectares of the pure cypress forest. It is the only site of the country to present these ecological characteristics.
This dry evergreen lowland forest dominated by cypress seems quite irregular, despite a deficit in young patients, since they are mainly present in anthropic or damaged areas, after cutting or fire. The uninhabited area of the forest has a multilayered canopy.
In addition to the cypress, representing the upper stratum of the forest, seven species of endemic plants and one classified as vulnerable by the IUCN species are present.
The site is threatened by overgrazing, fires and illegal logging despite the setting up of a protection status (National Park).
This is also one of the motivations of the site to be part of MEDFORVAL network. Indeed, the actors of the site, namely Dr. Cumhur GÜNGÖROĞLU, Faculty of Forestry, University of Karabük and Dr. Nesat ERKAN, from the South-western Anatolian Forestry Research Institute in Antalya, desired to join the project for better protection and enhancement of Köprülü cypress forest.
For Köprülü cypress forest site, the interest of MEDFORVAL network covers the preparation of a management plan for the future, including the creation of a database to further studies (the age of the forest, for example).