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The forest management planning system of Turkey: constructive criticism towards the sustainable management of forest ecosystems

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The forest management system of any country manifests the philosophy, principles and direction to be followed in the sustainable management of forest ecosystems. The management system of Turkey, essentially initiated in 1960's by the help of European counterparts, focuses primarily on commodity production. With 21 million ha of forested land, the country has several distinct biogeographic regions, each having its own endemic species and natural ecosystems providing major flyways for millions of migratory birds and containing almost three quarters of the total plant species in Europe. As such its management is of crucial importance to the rest of the world. Various forest values such as recreation, water production, soil protection and biodiversity conservation were, however, not integrated into forest management using advanced information technologies. Establishing an effective multiple use forest management system based on participation is a great challenge for the Turkish Forestry sector. This paper presents the current management philosophy, regulations, socio-cultural and organizational structure, and implementation of management activities across the country. The forest management system is criticized based on the sustainable forest management concept. Major pitfalls of the system are documented and some avenues for sound management are presented. The paper concludes that the management system is outdated with a neo-classic European style that focuses on a short-sighted solo area regulation with a single wood production focus and calls for an urgent change in the planning concept towards holistic management with the integration of various forest values based on ecosystem sustainability.
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Keywords: forest management history; management concepts; management plan procedures; management regulations; planning procedures

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Karadeniz Technical University, Faculty of Forestry, 61080, Trabzon, TURKEY.

Publication date: 2005-09-01

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