Integrating maquis vegetation to forest management plans in Turkey

EFI's Young Leadership Programme-Mediterranean (YLPMED) 2018 alumnus, Irem Tüfekcioğlu, brings maquis vegetation into the spotlight in Turkey where this important habitat is not currently considered in conventional forest management plans.

82
Photo: Rufford Foundation

Maquis vegetation is a Mediterranean shrubland type thatexpands across the south and west of Turkey, and composes its own habitat type as well as grows in Turkish red pine (Pinus brutia) forests as understory. Maquis habitat occupies about 6 million hectares, nearly 30 % of the Turkey’s woodlands. Since the forestry law in Turkey does not consider maquis habitats as part of forest land, forestry management plans do not consist of any forestry implementation on maquis vegetation in terms of conservation.

We studied woody plant diversity of different types of maquis habitats in Muğla Regional Forestry Directory, south-western Turkey, an area which has one of the highest forest and shrubland coverage in Turkey. As a first step, forest management plans of Muğla region were compiled in printed and electronic form. These management plans were thoroughly reviewed and elaborated with reference to maquis ecosystem properties. In such forest management plans, maquis areas are designated as “maquis” label, but “degraded maquis”, “degraded red pine”, “red pine forests with low density” and “forest soil without tree” codes can also contain healthy maquis habitats. When it is applied, the most common forestry practice implemented for those areas is the clear-cut all the shrubs and subsequently plant red pine trees.

The fieldwork was conducted in Datça, Marmaris and Köyceğiz Forest Management Units within the Forestry Directory area. In each management unit, we sampled sites located at areas of 5 forest codes mentioned above. We performed sampling within 3 belt transects 40 × 10 m in size, in each site and on each transect; (1) all woody plant species were identified (in some cases, in the herbarium), (2) distance of each woody plant individual to transect center line was measured, and (3) the height and coverage of individuals were determined.

We conducted our fieldworks in 28 sampling areas, in other words 84 transects. We classified vegetation types as open closed red pine forest, open red pine forest, shrubland, open shrubland and scrubland. We identified 57 different woody plant species, measured over 19.000 mature individuals and counted 20.200 sapling individuals. Due to COVID-19, we had to delay some of our activities but we’ll finish evaluate our results as soon as possible. Thus, the output of this work will be to compare woody plant biodiversity between different maquis habitat classes and to understand their value for conservation in Mediterranean ecosystems.

More information