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Southern Turkey to get its forests back

ANTALYA - Anatolia News Agency | 10/12/2009 12:00:00 AM |

An area that was destroyed last year by wildfires in Antalya’s Manavgat district is being reforested.

An area that was destroyed last year by wildfires in Antalya’s Manavgat district is being reforested.

Wildfires that erupted on July 31, 2008 and went on for five days destroyed 150 million square meters of forest land. It was the biggest forest fire in the history of Antalya.

Zeki Tuncer, a regional executive of the Environment and Forestry Ministry, told the Anatolia news agency that the state was acting fast to reforest the destroyed area. “We held meetings every weekend for five months at a center that was built by the wood from the burned trees. The center also had symbolic graves in its garden to remind us of the trees we lost in the fire,” he said.  

As a result of the meetings, the ministry officials decided to build 150 kilometers of new road in the forest areas and the destroyed area was completely cleared of burned trees and the teams started reforesting. “When you consider that the perimeter of the destroyed area is 160 kilometers, you might have an idea of how huge is the work we have to do,” said Tuncer.

Twenty-five tons of Turkish pine, Pinus brutia in Latin, seeds have been spread over the area. But since the Turkish pine is an easily flammable tree, precautions have been taken to slow down a possible fire. “We have planted 24 different species of trees near the roads and agricultural areas, which are all more resistant to fire,” said Tuncer.

The area will be green in three to four years and will become a forest again in 60 years, said Tuncer.

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