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The General Vegetation Characteristics of Cedar Forests on Taurus Mountains

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The genus Cedrus includes four species. These are Cedrus libani, C. deodora, C. brevifolia and C. atlantica. C. libani only has distribution in Turkey. In addition to this, it also has distribution in Lebanon and Syria. But the forests of this species in these countries were destructively consumed in the past. Due to that, today there are only a few remnants of these forests in Lebanon (Seamaan and Haber, 2003; Yeşilkaya, 1994). C. Libani mainly distributes on Taurus Mountains in Turkey. Beside this, there are small remnant forests of C. Libani in the Middle Black Sea Region around Erbaa and Niksar and in the Çaykışla Valley in Emirdağ-Afyon (Günay, 1990). The cedar forests in Turkey that covers about an area of four hundred thousand hectares (Anon. 2006) are the densest and the most magnificent cedar forests in the world.

Cedrus libani is very important tree species, in terms of culture, science, economy and esthetic, (Boydak, 1996). According to the testaments written in Arabic, Phoenician, Greek and Roman languages, because of the unique property of its woods (Boydak and Asan, 1990), it was used in the construction of temples, palaces vessels, luzories buildings, furniture and coffin for mummies in the past (Kayacık, 1948 and 1980). Also it was mentioned as a symbol of greatness, glory, honour, force and solidity, mortality, magnificence of kingdom, appreciation, worldwide expansion of power and richness (Mayer and Sevim, 1959). All of these mentioned above indicate that Cedrus libani played a very important role in social and cultural life of several countries in the past.

Cedar generally constitutes dense forest between 1000 and 2000 m altitudes on Taurus Mountains. While in some regions, it descends to 500m. (Fethiye-Muğla), it also rises up to 2400 m elevation (Aydos Mountain-Adana). In those belt, cedar has either pure stands or mixed stands with other tree species, such as Abies cilicica, Pinus nigra, Pinus brutia, Oak species (Quercus cerris, Quercus infectoria, Q. libani etc.) Juniperus excelsa and J. foetidissima. Atalay (1990) mentioned that the cedar forests appear on the limestone having different facies and geologic eras, such as marl, conglomerate, sandstone, chlorite –sericite schists, clayey schists, quartzite, quartzite-schists, peridotite-serpantine complex and flysches of Eocene, Oligocene and Cretaceous. The karst structure of cedar sites is especially important for the ecology of cedar (Kantarcı, 1990; Boydak, 1996).
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2008

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