Another first in GAP Region: Contribution of ecosystem services to agricultural practices being appraisedJan 1, 2018
The efficient use of resources such as land, soil, energy, raw material, technology, and human capital in the economic production processes plays a crucial role in achieving sustainable development as well as competitive growth at national and regional levels. Ensuring the sustainability of and improving the ecosystem services (water regulation, pollination, combating pests, food, climate regulation, soil functions etc.) that benefit agriculture in the GAP Region are important for agricultural productivity and adaptation to climate change.
The Integrated Resource Efficiency in Agriculture and Agro-based Industries in the Southeast Anatolia Region Project aims to model and promote the most efficient use of resources including particularly water and energy in agricultural production and agricultural product processing as dominant sectors in GAP Region, and increase efficiency in primary production and processing. Assessing the climate change, natural resources and environmental factors, the project in a significant part consists of using ecosystem services in agricultural production.
In this context, the first “Workshop on Ecosystem Services and Agricultural Practices” of the GAP Region was held in Batman, with the participation of institutional representatives from Batman and surrounding provinces, to build a repository of knowledge and bring together expertise views on how natural ecosystems affected agricultural production and benefitted which sectors. It was aimed in the context of the project to build a model through a mapping approach to the contribution by ecosystem services to agricultural practices for the first time in the GAP Region. Prior to the workshop, data were collected through survey studies with various institutions in GAP provinces; Geographic Information Systems were used to identify the presence of natural areas that would represent various types of ecosystem services; and Batman ultimately emerged as the province to develop the model and hold the workshop.
The Integrated Resource Efficiency in Agriculture and Agro-based Industries in the Southeast Anatolia Region Project is implemented by the Southeast Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration (GAP RDA) with technical assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
What are Ecosystem Services?
Ecosystem services is the collective name for all products and services provided by the ecosystems on the Earth to human beings and other living things. Characterised as the blessings of the nature, such services ensure continuity of life on the Earth. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report classifies the services in four categories as provisioning, regulating, cultural and supporting services. (Source: Nature Conservation Centre).
Works on mapping and assessing ecosystem services in Turkey started in the early 2000s. Various organisations have recently been engaging in projects and applications on various ecosystems as marine and coastal protection areas, forests, wetlands, savannahs which implement ecosystem-based approaches and adaptation strategies into planning and practice, and developing policy recommendations to ensure the continuity of ecosystem services.