In its drive to expand greenery among the concrete jungle for millions, Istanbul's municipality is set to open a new urban forest in September.
Located north of Alibeyköy dam lake, the forest will be home to 8,167 trees and 420,000 shrubs. The forest will also have several facilities, from restaurants and coffee houses to kiosks and watchtowers, as well as animal shelters and kite workshops for children and adults. It will be situated in an area of 5.2 million square meters.
With its forests, nature parks and recreation areas, Istanbul has very rich flora despite being one of the biggest metropolises with a population over 15 million. In the last 15 years, 21 million saplings have been planted in various parts of the city. Every year, 2,000 hectares are afforested and 2 million saplings are planted in Istanbul where forests and greenery covers 43.9 percent of the city.
In the last 15 years, 12 city forests and 123 recreation areas have been founded in the city. Apart from the afforestation works, the Ministry of Forest and Water Affairs also rehabilitates former mining areas around the city and undertakes anti-erosion precautions every year.
At the junction of three major climate belts, Istanbul is blessed with rich flora and a mild climate that offers four seasons a year. Although forest areas of Istanbul are scattered around the city, dense forest is mainly concentrated on the Black Sea coast as there is more rain fall in this area. The main green areas of Istanbul are the Belgrade Forest in the north and the Istanbul city forests on the Asian side of the city.