Turkey adds three new Ramsar sites

16/05/2006



Turkey adds one coastal and two inland wetlands to the Ramsar List

The Secretariat is extremely pleased to announce that the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, on behalf of the government of the Turkish Republic, has designated three new Wetlands of International Importance. Of two new sites on the Central Anatolian plateau, Kizören Obrouk (127 hectares, 38°20'N 033°20'E), an archaeological restricted area, is a good example of an Anatolian "obrouk", a deep freshwater (groundwater) lake formed in a karstic depression. Situated on a huge, arid steppic plain, the site is extremely important as the region's only freshwater source. The dominant vegetation cover is formed by steppic plants, resistant to arid conditions and surviving in soil that is calcium carbonate dominant. Nine globally threatened plant species are present. The area around the lake, within the Ramsar site, is rich in archeological remains, as there is a Silk Road caravansary from Byzantine times and a mosque and several houses from the Seljuk era. Though population density is low, a prolonged dry period (eight years as of 2005) has put pressure on the groundwater level through over-use by farmers.

Also in the Konya district of Central Anatolia, Meke Maar (202 hectares, 37°41'N 033°38'E), a Natural Monument protected area, comprises 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.

On the southern coast, Yumurtalik Lagoons (19,853 hectares, 36°42'N 035°38'E), also a protected area as a Nature Conservation Site, comprises the whole of the alluvial delta formed by several rivers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, with a broad array of freshwater and coastal habitat types which support sand dune vegetation, salt marsh vegetation, stream bank vegetation, and ruderal vegetation of roadsides and field margins. The threatened sea turtles Caretta caretta and Chelonia mydas are supported, and the site is one of the key points where migratory birds on the Palaearctic-Africa route meet, using the site as both a stopover and a wintering site. It is also a key area for fish reproduction. The main uses of the area are irrigation agriculture, commercial and artisanal fishing, and recreation, as it is close to the city of Adana along a beautiful and uncrowded coast.

Turkey now has 12 Wetlands of International Importance, covering an area of 179,482 hectaries.

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,187 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,608,257

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