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Laurel (Laurus Nobilis L.) and the Laurel Industry in Hatay

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Laurel, which is a medical-aromatic plant (Laurus nobilis L.), is a component of scrub formation that is seen in nature in the form of a tree or a shrub. Because the oil from its leaves and seed is used in various areas, it has attracted the interest of people throughout history and as a result, it turned out to be one of the rare plants mentioned in ancient Greco-Roman mythology. Besides its traditional use since ancient times, the natural antioxidant substances in its structure (especially for food preservation) and the use of its oil in some industries as a raw material have increased the interest in laurel.

The increase in demand, as a result of the use of laurel products in the global pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, has also affected the production of this plant in Turkey. In this sense, it is not possible to say laurel stands alone. One of the industrial activities that has increasingly grown in importance in Turkey, along with laurel, is the production of 20 different plants such as thyme, sage, lavender, sweet-gum, lavandula stoechas, etc. These are called non-wood forest products. When the last 20-year period is examined, it is seen that production of these plants (gathering) has increased dramatically. The plant leaf stands out with its production in recent years, ranging from 7 to 11 thousand tons. If we consider that world laurel leaf production is annually 10 thousand tons, Turkey supplies approximately 90% with its 7–8 thousand tons harvest, and its leaf exports total over 20 million dollars each year (Anonymous 2010a).

Despite the declines in production in some years (between 1998–2000 and 2003), it can be seen that during the 20-year period between 1988 and 2007 production increased sevenfold (Table 36-1; Fig. 36-1).

Hatay is one of the leading places in Turkey in terms of laurel leaf and seed production. In this study, geographical principles and issues were discussed regarding leaves and seed production which has gradually become an important industrial activity in Hatay. In this sense, firstly the natural dispersion areas of laurel in Hatay were determined, and then we explored the geographical characteristics of industrial activities which depend on laurel, along with the activities such as gathering and drying. Finally, solutions were proposed for the problems of both destruction and economic activities.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2011

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