Turkey: Union finds majority of 11 million trees dead

01 February 2020 14:37


TARIM ORMAN-IS, Civil Servants Union of Agriculture, Forestry, Husbandry and Environment Sectors, conducted field research that found up to 90 per cent of the millions of saplings planted in Turkey as a part of the government’s record-breaking tree-planting campaign on 11 November 2019 have died.

The Turkish government declared 11 November as National Forestation Day to be marked annually and announced a nation-wide tree-planting campaign which aimed at planting, in one day, 11 million saplings for a greener Turkey by groups of people in different cities. In order to investigate the results of the campaign, TARIM ORMAN-IS made six site visits. It had earlier warned government officials that executing such a planting project in November would be a huge mistake as it is the wrong time to do so. As predicted, union research discovered that only 10 per cent of the saplings had survived due to lack of water.

TARIM ORMAN-IS President Sukru Durmus informed Turkish media resources of the results. The coverage generated large public attention and interest. In addition, the  foreign press picked it up with Durmus being interviewd by the “Guardian” and “Deutsche Welle”.

Durmus stated, “Even though the Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture claimed that 95 percent of the saplings survived, we clearly showed that 90 percent of them had died. The planting campaign was conducted at the wrong time and in disregard of the lack of rainfall and winter conditions. We believe that the experts of the Ministry are responsible for the failure. They misinformed and mislead the government by not making clear that planting in November is a very risky and unlikely to succeed.”

The union will continue to investigate the situation in other cities and make available the results.