Integrated Approach to Management of Forests in Turkey, with Demonstration in High Conservation Value Forests in the Mediterranean Region

Photograph: Hakan Yaralı

What is the project about?

The project will promote an integrated approach to management of forests in Turkey, demonstrating multiple environmental benefits in high conservation value forests in the Mediterranean forest region. More particularly, the project will demonstrate approaches to generating, measuring, reporting on and verifying carbon, biodiversity and socio-economic benefits generated through this integrated approach at five Mediterranean forest sites (over a total area of 450,000 ha). Then Project will strengthen these gained consequences ta wards developing the MRV document (monitoring, verifying and reporting) and decision support system which will be prepared for the forestry sector. Laying the foundation for leveraging and scaling up of the project’s demonstration results is thus an important component of the project’s strategy—one which is further made possible by a strengthened enabling environment.

What has been the situation?

Turkey’s Mediterranean forests provide important global and national benefits related to carbon storage and biodiversity, along with other natural products and ecosystem services. Despite these values and benefits, however, the Mediterranean forests face several threats. Fortunately, large-scale deforestation ended in the late 1990s. However, about three million ha of the Mediterranean forest area have suffered from severe degradation due to past economic activities. Some of these ‘forests’ currently have a crown density of less than 10 percent. However, many areas have moderate-to-high regeneration potential, which if were allowed to occur, and in some areas be complemented by reforestation, would enable significant carbon build-up and connect currently fragmented forest patches.

Currently, the main threats to Mediterranean forests derive from anthropogenic wildfires, unsustainable fire wood collection by local villagers and pests. These threats have impacts on multiple forest values associated with the ecosystem goods and services which they provide. Of particular interest to the present project are damages related to the loss of globally significant ecosystem services associated with climate change mitigation and biodiversity.

What is our mission?

It is aimed to promote an integrated approach to management of forests in Turkey, demonstrating multiple environmental benefits in high conservation value forests in the Mediterranean forest region.

How are we doing this?

Within any forest landscape, there are certain areas that have high conservation value and need to be protected. Other areas may be suffering from threats such as pests and fires; still other locations may contain economic forests where silvicultural improvements can help to enhance carbon stocks. When implemented jointly as part of single district forest plans, measures to address each of the above needs will contribute to integrity of forest within an entire forest district, and hence to its long-term resilience to natural and anthropogenic threats, and have maximum effect for biodiversity and climate.

The project will help to demonstrate a model for integration of carbon emission avoidance / carbon sequestration measures and protected areas in forest landscape management over a total area of 450,000 ha. It will promote policy, regulatory and institutional changes to enable both the success of the demonstration efforts as well that of a larger-scale replication across Turkey’s Mediterranean forests.

Overall, the project has been designed to address areas to be improved while building on and filling gaps in essential baseline scenario in order to achieve the project objective and contribute to the long-term objective. The project includes the following three interdependent components:

  • Component 1: Policy and institutional framework for integrated forest management within landscape,
  • Component 2: Implementation of forest-based GHG mitigation and carbon sequestration tools within landscape,
  • Component 3: Strengthening protection of high conservation value forests in Mediterranean landscape.

Additional details regarding specific outputs under each component are provided in the Project Document.

How will Turkey benefit?

Turkey will be benefited through securing the highly valuable Mediterranean forests by taking a landscape approach to conserve carbon pools and biodiversity. Key benefits are described below.

Climate Change focal area benefits:

The climate change benefits will include the implementation of emission mitigation and carbon sequestration practices in five target Forest Enterprise Directorates, thereby leading to emissions reductions of 44.871,46 tCO2-eq/y and increased sequestration equivalent to 11.561,04 tCO2-eq/y. In addition 64.186 tCO2-eq/y, of net carbon benefit associated with new conservation areas will be achieved. The total annual carbon benefit of the project is 120.619,06 tCO2-eq/y. Over lifetime (a 10-year perspective for renewable energy equipment and 20-year perspective for other LULUCF activities), this equates to an emissions reduction/sequestration dividend of 2.282.002,95 tCO2-eq. The potential area for replication of the ecosystem-based mitigation activities piloted by the project, covers over 1.6 million ha of forests, and if realized would result in emissions reductions of over one million tCO2/y.

Carbon monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system for forestry sector will be established at national scale. MRV system will be supported with a centralized Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) database and carbon stock and stock change measurements in Mediterranean forests of Turkey at Forest Enterprise Directorates scale. MRV system will enable Turkey to improve existing capacity not only for reporting to UNFCCC but also for preparing landscape level forest management plans with special criteria and indicators for climate change. MRV system will be prepared in line with LULUCF Good Practice Guideline with new standards to Mediterranean forests.

Biodiversity focal area benefits:

The global biodiversity benefits according to conservation status of endemic flora and fauna within the Mediterranean forests derive from an improvement in the forest management system. This system will result in threat reduction, expansion of the Mediterranean protected forests by 79,960 ha, improved management effectiveness and better integration of existing protected areas management with production activities in adjacent landscapes.

Sustainable Forest Management benefits:

Turkey’s forests have been managed according to ecosystem based multi-functional management plans. Functions for each forests units in the forest management plans are identified according to Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Criteria and Indicators. The project will improve Turkey’s SFM Criteria and Indicators set for multi-benefit of climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation. While desktop studies and meetings for this aim will be undertaken at national and international level in participatory way, hands-on trainings and demonstration activities at local level will be implemented.

Who are our partners?

The Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, General Directorate of Forestry (GDF)

The Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, The General Directorate of Forestry (GDF) is the executing agency for the Project. GDF’s Regional Forest Directorate, Forest Enterprise Directorate and Forest Enterprise Sub-Directorate will oversee the implementation of the climate change management, biodiversity and sustainable forest management activities and will be responsible for the implementation of the activities like management, biodiversity and sustainable forest management,. GDF’s ORKOY (Forest Village Relations Department) will coordinate and co-finance the solar heating revolving fund. GDF is also key in the development of the forest carbon monitoring and accounting system. GDF will provide training facilities for the project’s capacity building activities, and its staff will be direct beneficiaries of the project’s capacity building efforts. GDF will co-finance forestry activities on silviculture, fire and pest management activities where GEF support will be used to modify those activities to focus on climate change mitigation. GDF will establish a new LULUCF Unit that will lead the design and manage the application of the forest carbon monitoring system for the purposes of UNFCCC reporting in close collaboration with other relevant departments in the same organization. GDF will also identify and declare new protected forests within five pilot sites where climate change and biodiversity indicators will be identified and improved.

Chamber of Forest Engineers (OMO)

Chamber of Forest Engineers will play major role on capacity enhancement activities with its more than 10,000 members. Members of CFE who are also the staff of GDF are direct beneficiaries of the project’s capacity enhancement efforts. Since CFE is a member of Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects, it examines related legislation, norms, scientific specifications and standard contracts and similar and relevant scientific documents related to forestry and make suggestions concerning their amendment, improvement or re-application. CFE will play a role to prepare MRV standards in collaboration with GDF.

The Central Union of Turkish Forestry Cooperatives (ORKOOP)

The Central Union of Turkish Forestry Cooperatives will be active on implementation of activities related to forest villagers. Their local branches will play a vital role for engagement of local communities and women during undertaking of activities where forest villagers need to be a part of decisions and/or implementation such as designation of Protected Forests and integration of biodiversity into the forest management plans, as well as in mediating for the micro-revolving fund on solar heaters, eco-tourism and non-wood forest products initiatives.

Nature Conservation Center (DKM)

The Nature Conservation Center is the key partner for with its experience on biodiversity protection and forest protected area management, integrating climate change scenario on forest management plans and identification of protected forests. Since DKM works in collaboration with GDF for a decade on forest biodiversity, their implementation capacity and existing experience will be used to enhance existing forest biodiversity protection at a landscape level.

WWF Turkey

WWF Turkey, through its global network, will bring in know-how, technical experience and innovative approaches on sustainable forest management, forest and climate change related issues. WWF Turkey will play a key role in demonstration activities on silviculture, fire and pest management interventions focusing on climate change mitigation benefits.


GIZ with its regional project “Adapting forest policy conditions to climate change in the MENA region” undertakes activities on improving political framework conditions for sustainable management of forest ecosystems in order to preserve forest-related environmental services in the context of climate change in selected countries of the MENA region, including Turkey. GIZ will play a vital role in the project to improve existing regional cooperation focused on forest and climate change, and to support capacity enhancement activities at national and regional level.

Gold Standard

Gold Standard with it’s international experience and knowledge on MRV will play an important role in detailing the MRV that will be prepared under the activites conducted at five pilot sites in the mechanism of in come sharing and carbon projects.





Project start date:

January 2013

Estimated end date:

January 2020

Focus area:

  • inclusive growth
  • Project office:

    UNDP in Turkey

    Implementing partner:

    Min. of Forest and Wat. Aff.

    Funding Support by

    Donor name

  • United Nations Development Pro
  • Global Environment Fund Truste
  • Amount contributed


    Delivery in previous fiscal year

    2020 $264,196

    2019 $535,690

    2018 $1,080,737

    2017 $1,355,231

    2016 $1,568,971

    2015 $1,835,502

    2014 $342,125

    2013 $226,800

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