Forestland around Mount Uludağ under threat: Study
The rate of residential areas and bare rocks in Turkey’s Mount Uludağ National Park has increased from around seven percent to 13 percent in the last three decades, according to a study.
The research carried out by Gökhan Özsoy, an academic from Uludağ University in the northwestern province of Bursa, reveals how the ecological balance in the region has been destroyed in 35 years.
Showing that there is an increase in bare rock formation near the summit of the mountain, the comprehensive research also underlined that severe erosions have occurred in the region over the years.
In the analysis made using satellite data and algorithms of geographic information systems, serious decreases were found in vegetation due to urbanization and erosion increase in the ski center and its immediate surroundings within the borders of the national park.
The research revealed that the rate of the area covered by bare rocks, settlements, and severe erosion surfaces in the Mount Uludağ National Park lands increased from 7.8 percent to 13.3 percent in 35 years.
Having covered 18.7 percent of the region once, the rate of alpine meadows decreased to 16.6 percent during the same time period. A total of 137 endemic species, 30 of which are Mount Uludağ endemic, were identified and 54 of these species were determined to be endangered in the research.
Mapping the traces of the intense human impact in the national park, the study also included a determination that the highway that provides access to the ski center has become more prominent over time with road widening works and intensive use.
“It can be easily observed that the majority of the land adjacent to the road, which was classified as the forest on both sides of the highway in 1985, has turned into a bush-shrub class,” the study noted.
“It can be clearly seen that the bare rock-settlement area has increased over time on this road and especially in Kirazlıyayla, Sarıalan and Bakacak regions, which are heavily visited by people for picnic and camping activities,” it added.
The study called for tourists not to be allowed to roam freely in areas outside the ski resort, not to go on nature walks without permission and individually, and not to set up illegal camps in places where there is no camp registration.
Located just 10 kilometers south of the city of Bursa and less than 200 kilometers from Istanbul, Mount Uludağ is considered Turkey’s largest ski resort.
The ski region attracts visitors especially with its 28 kilometers of slopes and 24 lifts for Alpine skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and snow biking, with dozens of comfortable accommodation options.