Reforestation efforts bring back Gallipoli’s green image

     Reforestation efforts bring back Gallipoli’s green image

24 May 2008

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Istanbul, Turkey — Efforts to reforest a fire-stricken area on the Gallipoli Peninsula have proven fruitful as trees have begun growing successfully on 90 percent of the affected area.

Fourteen years have passed since a forest fire in the Gallipoli Historical National Park on the Gallipoli Peninsula on July 25, 1994 that devastated the forest. The fire was only brought under control after 57 hours of heroic efforts on the part of firefighters.

As noted by officials from the Çanakkale Forest Directorate, Gallipoli Historical National Park, located along the European side of the Dardanelles, not only contains traces of the tragic Battle of Gallipoli, but also hosts a number of plant and animal species.

In 1973, 33,000 hectares of the peninsula were set aside as a national park area by the Forestry Ministry. But the forest fire in 1994 destroyed the 4,049 hectares of the forest area.

The forest fire, which was reportedly sparked by a fire started by a shepherd to cook corn, was especially tragic because Çanakkale Forestry Director Talat Göktepe, who was personally directing the firefighting efforts, died while saving five fire fighters.

Following the fire, İstanbul University’s Forestry Faculty launched a project in 1994 to reforest the fire-devastated area. Under the project, about 3.7 million saplings were planted across an area measuring 3,632 hectares. These dedicated efforts have helped the region regain its former green beauty.

The Gallipoli Peninsula is visited by hundreds of thousands of Turkish citizens and foreign tourists every year as it contains historical war sites as well as the natural beauties of the Gulf of Saros.

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