Ecology Association Warns Against Forest Fires, Raises Concerns Over Deliberate Ones

Ecology Association Warns Against Forest Fires, Raises Concerns Over Deliberate Ones

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Click to read the article in Turkish

Releasing a statement, the Ecology Association (Ekoloji Birliği) has warned against the imminent risk of forest fires with summer upon us.

Foreseeing that the risk of forest fires will increase as the summer has come and temperatures have started to rise, the Ecology Association has raised concerns over not only the forest fires that break out “from negligence”, but also over the ones that are set on purpose.

“Forests have billion years of history and they are the most important places in terms of biodiversity. They are the largest ecosystems inhabited by humans and non-human creatures alike. Forests host endemic species, clean our air and provide unlimited products to all living beings”, the Ecology Association has indicated in its statement.

Agriculture, tourism, mining and construction sectors

The Association has listed the reasons of forest fires as follows:

  • The stubble fires encroaching upon large swaths of agricultural lands spread to forest lands as well, which leads tens of living creatures and microorganisms living in soil to disappear.
  • Similarly, tourism sector also turns several forest lands, which they view as sites of unearned income, into touristic sites by means of legal regulations or by setting them on fire.
  • In grounds where mines will be extracted, large forest lands are allocated to miners over a few dollars, these large forests are openly cut down and ecosystem is destroyed.
  • Forest lands also disappear as a result of airports, double highways, housing and the like, large dams engulf forest lands.

‘Security cited as the reason’

In its statement on forest fires, the Ecology Association has also raised concerns over the forest fires that are set on purpose in predominantly Kurdish provinces with security cited as their reason:

“The displacement of villagers in the 1990s was mostly done through forest fires, those fires were used as a method. Unfortunately, this mentality is still in place today. Every year, fires break out in several forest lands as a result of military operations and these lands burn to ashes. The efforts to put out these fires, which either break out or set on purpose, are hindered.”

In fires that broke out in Turkey’s eastern provinces over the last 10 days, a five-decare barley field burnt in Midyat, Mardin and a hundred-decare wheat, barley and lentil field burnt in Nusaybin, Mardin.

Similarly, in the district of Ceylanpınar in Turkey’s southeastern province of Urfa, 10 thousand-decare agricultural field burned to ashes as a result of a stroke of lightning. In Siverek, 100-decare barley field also burnt.

Lastly, in Adıyaman, a fire that broke out in a barley field could be extinguished by the efforts of fire brigade crews. (AÖ/SD)

* Photograph: ekolojibirligi.org

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