Minister says nearly half of country at risk of desertification

Turkey’s risk map was prepared by 10 academics from the General Directorate of Combating Desertification and Erosion (CEM) and the Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBİTAK) Research Center for Advanced Technologies on Informatics and Information Security (BİLGEM) as a result of a project which has been running for one-and-a-half years.

Defining desertification as “land degradation resulting from a number of factors that include human activities and climate change in areas that are arid, semi-arid and that receive little precipitation,” Eroglu said in a written statement that as much as 47 percent of Turkey consists of moderate and high risk zones.

Eroglu noted that desertification is a global problem and plays a part in other worldwide issues like famine and migration.

Referring to the UN’s recognition of Turkey as a “sensitive” zone for desertification, Eroglu emphasized that the most essential components in the fight against desertification in Turkey are acknowledging its early signs and determining the most vulnerable regions.

“The academics who prepared the risk map considered all the elements [related to desertification], including climate, water, soil, topography, geomorphology, the social economy, land cover and land use,” Eroglu said.

Eroglu explained that the project will provide important information on how to preserve natural resources and use them efficiently.