Expert proposes to sell burned trees, use money in fight against wildfires
Aysel Alp – ISTANBUL
A Turkish expert has advised authorities to sell all the trees burned in last month’s wildfires that devastated forests in 53 provinces out of all 81 late July and use the money collected in the fight against future forest fires.
According to data from the General Directorate of Forestry, some 133,000 hectares of land have been burnt.
“It is estimated that there are 12 million-cubic-meter woods in those burnt lands. Selling a cubic-meter of woods for 200 Turkish Liras [$23], we can make 2 billion Turkish Liras [$233 million],” Doğanay Tolunay, a professor from the Forestry Faculty of Istanbul University, said.
“We can use this amount in the fight against wildfires,” he added.
The wildfires started in the southern province of Antalya on July 28 and rapidly spread to neighboring provinces with the help of the strong winds. It took two weeks to put out all wildfires that broke out in 53 provinces.
“The most affected provinces are Antalya and [the southwestern province of] Muğla,” the expert reminded.
According to the professor, however, the public are concerned that the burned areas could be turned into hotels, which is why they want afforestation to take place as soon as possible.
But the country does not have sufficient saplings to plant in these regions.
“The forestry authorities are in a hurry to plant saplings, but such a rush is not good. Because if you plant a tree that is not suitable for the place’s ecological habitat, all those trees are destined to dry out in a decade,” he said.
That is why, he believes, authorities should wait until November. Because luckily, “the forests of calabrian pines have assorted with the wildfires.”
“The cones of these trees, which do not get harmed by blazes, blossom after the wildfires. The seeds of the cones fall to the ground, and with rain the forests become green again.”
According to Tolunay, 10 kilograms of calabrian pines’ seeds are enough for a hectare of land.
He also suggests “cutting all the burnt calabrian pines and the black pines.”
“Because bark insects settle on these burnt trees and harm the forests,” he added.
Recommending cutting and selling the burnt trees, the professor said, “These woods may be sold to the fiber board sector and be used in chipboard production.”