‘Forests burned in summer of 2021 replanted’
Forests and lands that were reduced to ashes as a result of the extreme wildfires that engulfed the southern province of Antalya and the southwestern province of Muğla in the summer of 2021 have been replanted in less than a year, daily Milliyet has reported.
In a special coverage, the daily highlighted that officials have successfully completed some 70 percent of the replanting process.
In 2021, some 140,000 hectares of land and forest were reduced to ashes in some 2,800 wildfires. Some 126,000 out of the 140,000 total hectares were burned in just 15 days of wildfires that occurred between July 28 and Aug. 13 in 2021.
“The wildfires were in many provinces, but Muğla and Antalya suffered the worst impacts,” the daily wrote. “The burned areas in these two provinces comprised 91 percent of all the burned lands across Anatolia in 2021.”
Just after the wildfires were extinguished across the country, the General Directorate of Forestry prioritized Antalya’s Manavgat district and Muğla’s districts of Bodrum, Milas and Marmaris and focused on firstly regreening these districts.
Within the scope of the work, officials sowed seeds of Calabrian pine, oak tree, oleander, locust bean, bay tree and white cypress pine.
One-quarter of the total burned lands were dibbled, as some 21 percent of the total burned lands were replenished with only oak tree seeds.
Some 54 percent of the total work covered the stage of “natural regeneration,” in which officials sowed seeds on the lands and left them to renew themselves.
Apart from the environment, the production of honeydew honey in Muğla’s Marmaris district also faced a severe blow.
“The renewal of the Calabrian pines will take some time,” the daily wrote.
According to local officials, Turkey produces and supplies 90 percent of the world’s honeydew honey. However, the duration of the renewal of the country’s forests will “take maybe nearly two decades.”
Eight people lost their lives in 299 wildfires that hit 49 out of all 81 provinces in the summer of 2021. Some 400 cattle, around 4,500 small cattle and some 30,000 birds perished, with nearly 8,000 beehives reduced to ashes.
Turkey fought the wildfires with 18 fire-fighting aircraft, nine drones, some 69 helicopters, more than 1,000 water tenders, nearly 700 caterpillars, some 6,000 professional personnel and thousands of volunteers.
Noting that the regreening process is ongoing, the daily highlighted that “the 2021 summer wildfires reminded the importance of country’s biodiversity.”
“There are 12,141 registered plant species in Turkey. Some 3,000 of them are endemic species grown on Turkish soils,” it said.
According to the daily, the General Directorate of Forestry gives a “red code” when the “40-20-40” formula emerges.
The formula points out the time when the temperatures are about above 40 degrees Celsius, the humidity rate is below 20 and the speed of the winds is above 40 kilometers per hour.
“Turkish firefighters fought in a situation when the wind speed reached some 70 kilometers per hour, while the humidity rate was much below 10 percent,” the daily stressed.