Project Category
Project Category
Project Description
Project Description
One of the new RAMSAR areas in Turkey, Tuzla Lake with its biological diversity gathering wide and distinct ecosystems, is one of the most important natural habitats in Turkey. Lake salt is a crucial ecosystem product used by the local people as an income source. During the summer, with the decrease of rainfall and the increased evaporation, the lake area shrinks, and the semi-dry salt settles at the coasts of the shrunken lake. The extracted salt is spread around the coast of the lake for further drying and is a major threat to the nesting and breeding areas of endangered mammals such as Allactaga williamsi and Spermophilus xanthoprymnus or several birds including Kentish Plover, Ruddy Shelduck, Spur-winged Plover and Black-winged Stilt. The traditional extraction methods used in the area are unplanned and not necessarily taking into account their potential adverse affects on the local biodiversity. The local people are not aware this practice is unsustainable and that one day they might no longer be able to extract salt. A nature friendly salt extraction considers the potential effects of methods used on the biodiversity around the lake. Taking environmental factors into consideration, it is evident that the local biodiversity as well as the salt being an ecosystem service itself, would not be able to continue their existence if there aren t any precautions taken. There is no doubt that the area is very fragile and is very much affected by the changes in its surroundings. The project aims to convert current salt extraction and storage methods that endanger habitats of birds, mammals and plants to environmentally sustainable and nature-friendly methods which would also enable the continuation of salt as a reliable income source for the locals In order to ensure sustainability of extraction and storage of the salt, it is absolutely necessary to have the conservation-utilisation balance principles set soundly within the Nature-friendly Salt Extraction Plan . This very important plan was prepared during this project with extractors, local authorities, other stakeholders and consultants support. The plan strives to remove the pressure on endangered species habitats, wet grass, halophytic vegetation, reeds and feeding grounds of birds and mammals. With this plan, alternative extraction methods and storing places were determined. The project Goal: Protection of the ecosystem and biodiversity of the Tuzla Lake Project Objective: Ensure the continuation of salt extraction and storage around Tuzla Lake as a sustainable economical activity based on ecological principles Outputs: 1-Organised and planned salt extraction is conducted in a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable manner 2-Salt extraction and storage activities are carried out according to the plan with a view to protect the fauna and flora, especially bird habitats 3-Local peoples and NGOs awareness and information on Tuzla Lake s ecosystem s values and its sustainable use is improved. A Commission comprised of National Society for the Conservation and Documentation of Nature, salt extractors, local authorities, consultants, the General Directorate of Mining Affairs, the General Directorate of Preservation of Cultural and Historical Heritage, Kayseri Directorate of Nature and Forestry and GEF II Sultan Sazl g Office is established during the project. The Commission gathered extensive information both from field studies and from stakeholder meetings and trainings which helped them to build the plan. Once the plan is approved, the local salt extractors and present or future enterprises will only be able to extract salt according to this plan. The only way to protect biological diversity and sustainability of the ecosystem lies in the applicability and proper implementation of the salt-extraction plan. As salty wetlands have a crucial importance as nesting and breeding habitats of certain birds, it is necessary to wait the end of their egg laying and egg hatching period (approximately mid-June) before extraction of salt. The salt extraction should start June 1st and end on October 31st for good quality salt production and sustainability of the ecosystem. The project also entails a series of awareness raising activities, one of which is the preparation of a documentary film. The film is targeted both to the local people and towards the environmental NGOs in the area, which will provide information regarding Tuzla Lake s ecosystem values and the importance of its sustainable use with suggestions as to how that can be achieved. This film would also convey the conservation utilisation balance concept regarding other natural resources and the establishment of nature-friendly planning for their use. Salt Extraction Techniques: Salt extraction in Tuzla Lake, due to its ecological function and the looseness of the lake bottom, should not be made by heavy machinery. As in the past, the salt extraction needs to be done with the use of manpower, the traditional technique, which is done by open top plastic barrels pulled by individuals who are wearing helik , a traditional footwear. The use of helik gives the extractor ability to move easily and not sink, which helps both the extractor and the ecosystem. Heliks are produced from light, usually woody materials, surround the feet but allow free movement and has the advantage of preventing sinking and slipping on the semi-dry loose land. As per the plan, it is suggested to limit salt extraction with
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