Developing strategies for the conservation of biodiversity in forest ecosystems in the face of global climate change has become one of the priority issues in the field of environmental science. Within this scope, tree microhabitats are used as an indicator of biodiversity in forest ecosystems in many studies, as they host various species to grow, nest or forage. Thus, taking microhabitats into consideration in forest management and planning is becoming a widespread strategy for supporting and sustaining the habitat value of trees for biodiversity. The Integrate+ project, conducted by the European Forest Institute (EFI), provides an efficient tool with the use of the Marteloscope system, which helps collecting detailed data from each individual tree on their habitat and economic value. This project is the first known study on tree microhabitats using the Marteloscope methodology in Turkey.
We set our study area in Belgrad Forest which is a historical forest strictly protected for centuries as being one of the major water resources of Istanbul, known as the most populated city of Turkey. We conducted our fieldwork in 6 plot areas of 50 x 50 m and classified our plot areas as intensive recreation, low intensity recreation and no recreational use, since we are enthusiastic about revealing the effects of recreational activities on microhabitat formation, and developing strategies accordingly.
The research team recorded data from nearly 800 trees and collected information on (1) tree species, (2) location of individuals, (3) tree height, crown base height and dbh, (4) tree status as dead or alive and (5) tree trunk classification in terms of economic value. Besides that, microhabitats for each individual tree were categorized according to the catalogue of tree microhabitats. Lastly, we inventoried the location, diameter and height of dead wood (i.e. stump, log and snag) in the sample plots for the evaluation of the overall ecological value of our plot areas.
The research team has recently completed their field studies. The next steps will be digitizing all the data collected from the field, data analysis by using different tools and evaluation of the results to compare the ecological and economic value of sites from three different recreational classes and understanding the impacts of different planning strategies on tree microhabitats.
Team members: Irem Tüfekcioğlu, Simay Kırca, Süleyman Çoban, Mehtap Koç, Elif Naz Duman, Ela Durbin, Selen Serap Mertsöz