The Tour du Valat has developed a concept of “pilot sites” in order to have concrete examples of integrated management at a local level where we can link the various research and conservation activities. Focus on Turquey.
One of the first pilot sites is Gediz Delta in Turkey. Just north of Izmir – a megalopolis of 2.8 million people – this site is one the most important wetlands not only for Turkey but also for the entire Mediterranean region. The delta extends over 40.000 ha and includes a variety of different habitats, some of which are protected under Natura 2000 network. These include coastal marshes, alluvium islands, lagoons, salt marshes, seasonally flooded meadows, reed beds, Mediterranean shrublands, salinas and agricultural areas.
The delta provides shelter for about 290 different bird species and hosts about 50,000-90,000 water birds in winter time. The delta also hosts a number species endangered/threatened globally or at European level.
Today this biodiversity is threatened, especially by pollution, increasing urbanization and the construction of new dams. The pressure on water is also a major issue, following several years of drought.
Many different experts from the Tour du Valat are actively involved at the site in coordination with local authorities, NGO, universities and other stakeholders. The site is managed by Izku? (a union formed by the local municipalities) under the direction of the Ministry of the Environment.
Over the period 2011-2015, three lines of work will be further developed:
1/ protection of biodiversity (in particular projects on reed beds, pink flamingos and water management)
2/ management of the site (working on the management plan, mapping of the site …)
3/ taking into account socio-economic (including stakeholder analysis and decision process)
Last April, two different field visits were organized to the site. The first visit was conducted by the hydrological team in order to assist the local site manager (Izku?) and put in place a fresh water monitoring system. This data will help the local actors make important management decisions for the short and long term management of the site. The second mission was conducted by an interdisciplinary team in coordination with our local NGO partner Do?a Derne?i. During this mission we worked with local stakeholders to help develop the strategy for evaluating the current management plan and the processes for developing the new management plan for 2012.
The next visit is scheduled for the fall to exchange experiences on the reed beds and the conservation of this habitat.