The Annotated Ramsar List: Turkey


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The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance


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The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Turkey on 13 November 1994. Turkey presently has 14 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 184,487 hectares.

site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas

Akyatan Lagoon. 15/04/98; Adana; 14,700 ha; 36º37’N 035º16’E. Cultural and Natural Asset; Wildlife Protection Area. A coastal lagoon surrounded by brackish marshes, sandy shores, freshwater pools, wet meadows, and dunes. Among the dunes are pits extending below sea level that fill with freshwater in the rainy season. The site provides habitat for several globally threatened species, including breeding marine turtles, and regularly supports internationally important numbers of numerous species of migrating, wintering and breeding waterbirds. Human activities include agriculture, scientific research, and an important fishery. The area has high historical and archaeological value. Ramsar site no. 943. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Gediz Delta. 15/04/98; Izmir Gulf; 14,900 ha; 38º30’N 026º55’E. Cultural and Natural Asset; Wildlife Protection Area. An extensive coastal wetland with bays, salt and freshwater marshes, large saltpans, and four highly saline lagoons located at the mouth of the Gediz River near Izmir. The site supports dry grasslands, arable land, and some woodlands. The globally threatened pelican Pelecanus crispus breeds at the site. An important area for breeding, feeding, wintering, and sheltering internationally important numbers of numerous species of waterbirds. Human activities include fishing, agriculture, cattle grazing, and the largest salt production centre in the country. A number of ancient cities, such as Leukai and Larissa, are found there. The Gediz River is of vital importance for agriculture in the region, but is becoming significantly polluted. Ramsar site no. 945. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Göksu Delta. 13/07/94; Mersin; 15,000 ha; 36º18’N 033º58’E. Cultural and Natural Asset; Specially Protected Area, Wildlife Reserve. An important wetland delta located on a bird migration route. Sands and saline steppe cover large areas. The site supports reedbeds, marshes, swamps, meadows and, in the surrounding area, agricultural fields. It is a refuge for internationally important numbers of wintering ducks. Up to 327 bird species occur, including the globally endangered Phalacrocorax pygmeus and Pelecanus crispus. Two species of endangered marine turtles nest in the area. Reptiles and amphibians (34 species) form a primary link in the food chain of waterbirds. Human activities include fishing, tourism, and conservation education. Remains of cities from Neolithic times through many subsequent civilizations are found there, including nearby Silike Castle and ancient Seleucia. Non-point agricultural pollution and proposed dams present potential threats. Ramsar site no. 657. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Kizilirmak Delta (Kizilirmak Deltasi). 15/04/98; Samsum; 21,700 ha; 41º40'N 036º05'E. Cultural and Natural Asset; Permanent Wildlife Reserve. The site includes dunes, beaches, shallow lakes, seasonal marshes, and wooded areas. Dominant vegetation includes vast reedbeds and seasonally flooded forest. Numerous species of waterbirds breed at the site, several of which are globally threatened. Over 92,000 waterbirds of various species winter at the site. Human activities include cattle grazing, reed cutting, fishing, and agriculture. In recent years, eutrophication, deforestation, illegal contructions, and coastal erosion have become increasingly problematic. Ramsar site no. 942. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Kizören Obrouk. 02/05/06; Konya; 127 ha; 38°20'N 033°20'E. Archaeological restricted area. 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. Ramsar site no. 1620.Most recent RIS information: 2006.

Lake Burdur. 13/07/94; Burdur, Isparta; 24,800 ha; 37º44’N 030º11’E. Wild Life Protection Area. A tectonic lake with no outlet, one of the deepest lakes in Turkey. The site includes a coastal plain delta and salt marshes. Numerous species of waterbirds stage, winter or breed in the area. Some 300,000 wintering waterbirds have been record, including70% of the world population of the threatened species Oxyura leucocephala. A rich reptile community, various amphibians, and several species of mammals are supported in the site, though the lake water itself contains arsenic which prevents the growth of aquatic life. Human activities consist of birdwatching. An archaeological important area with finds dating from numerous ancient civilizations. Pollution from sewage is seen as a potentila threat. Ramsar site no. 658. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Lake Kus (Manyas). 13/07/94; Balikesir; 20,400 ha; 40º12’N 028º00’E. Cultural and Natural Asset; National Park, Permanent Wildlife Reserve. A turbid nutrient-rich lake fed by streams and groundwater, subject to seasonal fluctuations in level. The site includes small deltas, extensive marshes supporting reeds and rushes, and tree-lined river banks. The lake, on a migratory waterbird route, supports a rich plant community and provides important feeding grounds for birds. The site holds significant breeding populations of various species of waterbirds, several of which are threatened, and is important for wintering, migrating, and roosting birds. The lake supports 23 fish species and various species of reptiles and amphibians. Human activities include an important commercial fishery for village cooperatives and scientific and educational programmes. The lake is an important water source for agriculture and industry. Recent declines in water levels due to global warming and upstream dams are seen as potentiall threats. Ramsar site no. 660. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Lake Kuyucuk (Kuyucuk Gölü). 28/08/09; Kars; 416 ha; 40°45’N 043°27’E. Wildlife Reserve. One of the most important wetlands of Kars province in northeastern Turkey, the freshwater stream- and spring-fed lake is surrounded by treeless steppe and sparse Phragmites reed patches. This area may be typical of what much of the Anatolian Steppe grassland-wetland community used to consist of before widespread degradation of its water bodies over the past several hundred years. Located along the African-Eurasian migration flyways, the lake is a crucial stop-over and breeding site for many bird species, including ten globally threatened. Every fall the site hosts up to 30,000 Ruddy Shelducks. The lake is currently the only source of water for the three surrounding villages. Human activities around the lake include cereal production and livestock grazing. The area is attractive for birdwatching and nature tourism; in 2009 it received the European Destination of Excellence award. Threats are seen from over-grazing (especially in reed beds that provide important habitats for birds), disturbance for birds caused by cattle, and pollution from surrounding villages and livestock farming. Ramsar site no. 1890. Most recent RIS information: 2009.

Lake Seyfe (Seyfe Gölü). 13/07/94; Kirsehir; 10,700 ha; 39º12’N 034º25’E. Nature Conservation Zone. A saline average-nutrient lake, fed by a stream and springs. Most the lake shores are muddy and flat, with freshwater marshy fields as well, reedbeds, and areas of saline steppe. The lake is an important staging area for internationally important numbers of waterbirds, with over 100,000 birds recorded in some years, and it provides crucial feeding habitat for breeding birds. Only birdwatching is permitted at the lake, but village farming and state-sponsored agriculture and pasturage occur nearby. There is a rich archaeological heritage from the Bronze Age onwards. Ramsar site no. 659. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Lake Uluabat. 15/04/98; Bursa; 19,900 ha; 40º10'N 028º35'E. A large nutrient-rich lake that includes four islands. Vast reedbeds with clusters of trees occur. Over 400,000 waterbirds, including the globally-threatened Pelecanus crispus winter at the site, and internationally important numbers of several species of waterbirds occur regularly. Uluabat is one of Turkey's richest wetlands in terms of aquatic plants. Human activities include fishing and agriculture. The area is of archaeological importance dating from 1200 B.C. onwards. Small-scale fishing by five local cooperatives is carried out in the lake, and the surrounding area is one of the most productive agricultural and stock-breeding areas in Turkey. Eutrophication may pose a serious threat in future. Ramsar site no. 944. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

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.Most recent RIS information: 2006.

Nemrut Caldera (Nemrut Kalderasi). 17/04/2013; Bitlis; 4,589 ha; 38°37’10”N 042°13’54”E. Nature Monument. The caldera of the Nemrut volcano, located on the western shore of Lake Van in the eastern part of Turkey (Eastern Anatolia), is one of the most important wetlands of Bitlis province and is part of an active stratovolcano which has a unique structural morphology in Turkey. The eastern half of the caldera is filled by pyroclastic deposits related to maar-like explosion craters, lava domes and flows. The western half is filled by a freshwater lake and a small lake with hot springs, in addition to a number of small temporal lakes. The largest lake, Lake Nemrut, has a half-moon shape, an average depth of 100 meters, and colorless, odorless and drinkable water. There are rich plant communities in the caldera and Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca used to breed in Nemrut in 1989. The site is government-owned, but some livestock grazing takes place. The main activities are recreation and tourism, and there is a winter sports and ski centre in the surrounding area. The main ecological threat to the site is overgrazing. Ramsar Site no. 2145. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Sultan Marshes. 13/07/94; Kayseri; 17,200 ha; 38º20'N 035º17'E. Natural Park; Wildlife Conservation Area. Part of an extensive wetland complex on the Develi plain, the site includes a saline lake, salt steppe, nutrient-rich freshwater marshes, wet meadows, small islands, and lakes. Freshwater areas support reeds and rushes, and halophytic plants occur in the saltwater ecosystem. Situated in a closed basin and surrounded by hills and mountains, the area is an important breeding and wintering site for various species of endangered or globally threatened waterbirds. Human activities include reed cutting, tourism, research, and livestock grazing. Threats are seen from illegal hunting, agricultural pollution, and over-grazing leading to desiccation of the surrounding area. Ramsar site no. 661. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Yumurtalik Lagoons. 21/07/05; Adana; 19,853 ha; 36°42'N 035°38'E. 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. Ramsar site no. 1619. Most recent RIS information: 2006.

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