Plants in ancient Antalya sites to be taken under protection

Plants in ancient Antalya sites to be taken under protection

Plants in ancient Antalya sites to be taken under protection

Ancient cities in the southern province of Antalya, which host millions of tourists every year, constitute a living space for endemic plants.

Within the scope of a project under the Civil Society Dialogue V Program and funded by the European Union, five endemic plants in five ancient cities along with the reliefs in archaeological remains will be taken under protection.

The “Lathyrus phaselitanus” of the ancient city of Phaselis, the “Alkanna macrophylla” of Perge, the “Orobanche sideana” of Side, the “Himantoglossum montis-tauri” of Aspendos and the “Colchicum baytopiorum” of Termessos, which grow only in these areas in the world, will be taken under protection.

Turkey is home to 10,000 plant species and about one-third of them are endemic plant species. While 800 of these plants are in Antalya and 70-80 species of Antalya’s endemic plants are in critical danger of extinction.

The project, called “Endemic Flowers, Ancient Cities from Apollo from Athena,” aims to protect five endemic plants growing only in five ancient cities of Antalya and will continue for 15 months.

For the project, brochures prepared for the conservation of endemic species threatened by touristic visits and unconscious tourism activities are distributed to eco-tourism guides and seminars are organized on the subject. Also, the distribution of the species is modeled on a digital map, and seed transfers are made to the most suitable environments in the ancient cities depending on the threat factors.

Within the scope of the project, in cooperation with archaeologists who carry out archaeological studies in ancient cities, trainings are also provided for university students in these ancient cities.

The project partner, Greece is doing the same work in four ancient cities in Athens. Researchers from both countries continue their dialogues with each other about their projects.

Associate Professor Gökhan Deniz of Akdeniz University, who coordinates the project, said that they were now detecting the flora elements and endemic species growing in the five ancient cities in the region.

“We are working on visualization studies on the archaeological artifacts,” he said.

Stating that first society should be informed about the endemic plants for their protection, Deniz said that the visitor factor came first in some regions among the threats against those endemic plants.

He gave the example of the ancient city of Side, which is the only habitat for Orobanche sideana in the world, saying that the plant was affected by the high number of visitors and out-of-control activities.