Wetlands of International Importance: Turkey, Meke Maar

16/05/2006

Meke Maar. 21/07/05; Konya; 202 ha; 37°41'N 033°38'E; Natural Monument. A caldera and crater lake in a volcanic mass with typically acidic water that permits no aquatic life in or near it - when precipitation is high, however, and the water somewhat neutralized, some waterfowl visitors can be seen. In the surrounding area, however, are found nine globally threatened plant species. The lake is known as "Anatolia's eye" as from the air it resembles the ceramic blue beads, called "eyes", that are thought to bring good luck; this, along with supposed curative properties of the caldera lake water, bring a number of visitors and suggest a significant potential for ecotourism. Over-extraction of groundwater during the current dry period presents a threat. Ramsar site no. 1618.

Ramsar sign (with WWF Turkey local field officer)

Falling water levels due to excessive groundwater extraction in the surrounding Konya basin

The Jandarma environmental enforcement unit of the Turkish military police have undertaken extensive restoration, mainly tree planing, in the reserve on the steppe surrounding the lake.

-- photos by Jamie Pittock, WWF Global Freshwater Programme, 9 May 2006.

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