Causes of land degradation and rehabilitation efforts of rangelands in Turkey

Gokbulak F. , Erdogan B. U. , Yildirim H. T. , Ozcelik M. S.

FORESTIST, vol.68, no.2, pp.106-113, 2018 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 68 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.26650/forestist.2018.396995
  • Title of Journal : FORESTIST
  • Page Numbers: pp.106-113
  • Keywords: Land degradation, Anatolian steppe, rangeland rehabilitation, overgrazing, CENTRAL ANATOLIAN REGION


Turkey, which is located in an ecological transition zone between subhumid Southern Europe and the arid Middle East, has a long history of land use and civilization. Pressure from expanding human populations, intensified animal production, and transhumant movements in particular, are leading to the complete denudation of many areas of central Turkey (Central Anatolia), with soil erosion emerging as the primary concern. A mountainous topography and semiarid climatic conditions exacerbate the threat of soil erosion and have limited the success of efforts to restore degraded lands. Although afforestation efforts have increased, rangeland areas dominated by shrub and grass species have decreased. Remnant rangeland areas continue to experience overgrazing and severe losses in productivity. Forest remmants and archeological studies indicate that, due to human use, Central Anatolia has lost its original native vegetation, including pine and oak species, and has assumed anthropogenic steppe characteristics. For this reason, the restoration emphasis has been on tree species, without any consideration for shrub or grass species that could help to stabilize soils in denuded and degraded landscapes. In this article, we discuss the socioeconomic and environmental limitations of the natural revegetation of rangeland areas, and the need for restoration efforts with a focus on shrub and grass species in areas vulnerable to high rates of soil erosion.