As home to three biodiversity hotspots and supporting a great diversity of endemic species, Turkey is planning to connect its small wooded areas with its big forests as part of its very first Wildlife Corridor Reforestation Project.
Minister of Forestry and Water Works Prof. Veysel Eroğlu said that, within the scope of the Wildlife Corridor Reforestation Project implemented four years ago, they intend to connect ecological habitats that have been separated from each other and ensure the continuation of biodiversity and wildlife across Turkey.
Minister Eroğlu, said in a statement that the project aims to create a safe wildlife corridor by connecting northeastern Turkey's isolated protected areas and forests via reforestation to the extensive forests of the Black Sea and Caucasus Mountains of Turkey and Georgia. The project will promote forestry activities in Kars, Erzurum, Artvin and Ardahan too, added Eroğlu.
"The project will also connect the isolated wolf, brown bear, lynx, wildcat, roe deer, and other wildlife populations in the 22,980 hectare Sarıkamış Forests-Allahuekber Mountains National Park to those in Turkey's Karagöl-Sahara National Park and Georgia's Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park."
Turkey's first 82 km long wildlife corridor will conserve over 28,483 hectares and will protect Turkey's great diversity of plants and animals with 2,500 hectares of afforestation Eroğlu stressed that the shrinking forests are the main reason behind the human-carnivore (wildlife) conflict as they become inadequate as a natural habitat and lack food.
Noting that the project is of paramount importance for the future of wildlife, Eroğlu said "With the protection of these areas and reforestation, Sarıkamış forests will be connected to northern Turkey's larger forests. When the project is completed, wild life in the Black Sea forests will have extensive access to new habitats in the Kaçkars and Caucasus mountains."