Endemic plants are facing extinction due to global climate change, but a lab in the eastern province of Elazığ is dedicated to protecting these plants.
As a part of a project carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Fırat University, the Plant Tissue Laboratory and Green House has been established in Elazığ. At the lab, tissue samples from endemic plants are sterilized to protect their genetic codes which enables scientists to grow these plants faster and healthier. Once the plants reach a certain maturation, they are planted in their natural habitats.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Abdullah Koç of the Nature Protection and National Parks Directorate said they have initiated the National Biological Diversity Inventory project to protect the endemic species throughout Turkey.
"The laboratory stretches 3,000 square meters. The lab will enable the protection of Turkey's biological diversity as well as prevent the extinction of endemic plants and create sustainability in nature in order to pass them to the next generations," Koç said.
Professor Kutbeddin Demirdağ, the chancellor of Fırat University, said Turkey has incredible biodiversity thanks to its geological features. He said there are more than 10,000 different plant species in Turkey and of them, 3,500 are endemic. For comparison, Demirdağ said there are only 12,000 different plant species in Europe.
"The facility is an important venture to increase the population of endemic plants as well as plants with commercial value. For instance, we will grow an endemic type of onion in the lab and then transfer it to the fields for farmers to benefit from its revenue," Demirdağ said.