Podcast 101 - Water for sustainable forests

24 Mar 2014

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UNDP Turkey: This is the New Horizons podcasts of United Nations Development Programme Turkey. In this part we will talk about a project that aims integrating water function to forest management plans for adapting to climate change and contributing to its mitigation. Our contributor is Mr. Rüstem Kırış who is the Head of Forest Management and Planning Department  of the General Directorate of Forestry. Welcome.

Rüstem Kırış: Thank you.

UNDP Turkey: Forests and water resources are crucial for sustainable development and climate change adaptation. Forests have a key role not only in climate change but also in protection of biodiversity; hence it is essential for poverty reduction, especially for those living in forestry areas.  In Rio+20 Summit held in 2012, water was determined as one of seven critical issues for a sustainable future. Saying these as a start off, within this context, we want to talk about a project that is implemented in partnership of the Forest Management and Planning Department of the General Directorate of Forestry of the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs and UNDP and that is supported by British Embassy. It seems a bit technical but we aim explaining it clearly and in detail with your contribution. In the project, you are working on integrating water function to forest management plans. Why is studying water and forest together essential?

Rüstem Kırış: Water and forest are like to peas in a pod because half of available water, %50 of it, is generated from forests in our country. Hence, when we think that forest areas consists  one quarter of our country’s surface area, three times more of available water is currently provided from these areas in Turkey, in other words water’s productivity is three times more in forest areas than other areas. For this reason, forests and water are directly related to each other.  In primary schools, they teach us that forests are lungs of our country; however forests are not only significant for the air we breathe but also it has direct impact on water and food. If there will be deforestation, air that we respire, water that we drink and agriculture would be destroyed. Thus, human beings would be deprived of food, air and water. Forest and water are inseparable due to the fact that water is directly produced in forests.

UNDP Turkey: We see that forests are important water sources. Well then what do forest management mean and what do water management mean? Why is it important to study them together?

Rüstem Kırış: The management of forests, interventions to forests affect the management of water. When you exceed an area more, you can increase the amount of water there but the quality of water would decrease in that area, if you generate drinking water, you should do this, you should do more thick afforestation. However, if there is agriculture based water in there, we might do afforestation less thick. Forest management and water management are complementary components because each intervention in forests directly affects water generation.

UNDP Turkey: That is to say there are differences in forest management according to intended purpose for the use of water.

Rüstem Kırış: Yes, it would be. We will talk about this point maybe soon, we call it as functional operation of forest and we will explain functional structure of it.

UNDP Turkey: It is a project that is implemented in cooperation with you and UNDP, its title is ‘Enhancing Implementation Capacity of General Directorate of Forestry for Sustainable Forest Management in the Context of Water Use of Forest in Turkey’. It is a quite long title. What is the main purpose of the project?

Rüstem Kırış: There is a common saying among our people which is ‘Be precious like water’. This expresses the value of water. But our people do not know the relationship of water with forests which we have talked about in the beginning.  Because of this, we would like to attract our people’s attention to the fact that water which they drink and which is precious is directly provided from forests. Moreover, we also mainly aimed to raise awareness among local people, local management, especially municipalities. We achieved this with our work in a catchment together with our Kastamonu Regional Directorate of Forestry Karadere Forestry Operation Directorate and our municipality there with the contribution of General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works.

UNDP Turkey: Hence, we talk about a technical cooperation here.

Rüstem Kırış: Yes it is a technical cooperation.

UNDP Turkey: Those who want to contribute to the subject that we talk can reach us from #yeniufuklar hashtag on Twitter. By the way, those who want to get information about the main objectives and working areas of the General Directorate of Forestry except from this project can visit ogm.gov.tr.  We continue to talk the issue with Rüstem Kırış from General Directorate of Forestry. In Turkey, forests are managed with ten-year forest management plans, these plans are prepared as ecosystem based multifunctional forest management plans. According to this, ten-year forestry activities are determined for each units of directorates of forestry.  Which need is being met in forest management plans with this project?

Rüstem Kırış: Yes, we call these forest management plans as ecosystem based functional forest amenajman plans; the expression of amenajman is not widespread.

UNDP Turkey: It is an expression which is most commonly used by foresters.

Rüstem Kırış: Yes, it is an expression which means management that comes from French but we have used it for a long time. You know, we have already talked about Rio. After an agreement signed in Rio in 1992, demands and expectations of people from forests were varied. That is to say, forest, which we only used for fuel wood or raw material in the past, brought with it many effects like aesthetics, ecotourism and recreation. We call these forest functions. In international arena, it is explained under three topics as economic functions, ecologic functions and socio-cultural functions. We determined ten functions unique to Turkey; one of these is hydrologic function, that is to say water function, it is a topic which is related to water generation and water use. Here, we will determine particular principals of this function; at the same time we got such a result to put the value of water, economic value of water into our plans.

UNDP Turkey: In fact, forest and water do not indirectly affect, in chain, maybe it directly affects human life, and it affects everyone because it is a project that influences drinking water, water that affects us via agriculture and forest products. Thus, in a sense, we talk about a project that aims poverty reduction via income generation as well. You started the project in 2012, the project also contribute to raising awareness in local, regional and central level  by focusing on policies and strategies that were developed in common fields of water, climate change and forest. In this sense what kinds of studies, activities were done and what kinds of results were achieved?

Rüstem Kırış: I have just mentioned, we have mostly worked on the case of Kastamonu Municipality but most importantly we will publish ‘Forest and Water’ book and we will publish a dictionary related to forest-water relationship, this is our main concrete output. Also, we add the cost of the value of water in Turkey’s forests, economic value of water into forest management plans.

UNDP Turkey: So many issues have been published so far; those can be reached through websites of UNDP or General Directorate of Forestry, in the e-book format.

Rüstem Kırış: Yes, in e-book and pdf formats, but we will also distribute its printout to different universities and local governments.

UNDP Turkey: When we look at the files of the project, the final aim of it is poverty reduction, and enabling a forest management which focuses on biodiversity and climate change. Until when will the project continue? Which studies and activities will be done? What kind of traces will it leave at the end?

Rüstem Kırış:  The project consists of three phases. This is a system which is suggested by British Embassy which supports the project. We started in 2012. The first phase was concluded in May of 2013. Right after, the second phase was started; now the second one is almost completed, the third phase will continue till May of 2015. In this phase, in an audit sent by the British Embassy, this project granted an appreciation. From now on, we will more focus on educational outcomes. We will prepare training materials for primary school students, we will create training materials for local governments to distribute them to schools by making contribution to them. In terms of the General Directorate of Forestry, we organized technical trips four times abroad for our specialists. We made a connection with other countries. For instance, we will go to Kosovo next week, we will share our knowledge that we obtained here with those countries and we will get existing values of those countries. So this project is not only national, it should be also at the international arena. I should say that Turkey is an exemplary country in terms of forestry for the Balkans, Central Asia and Africa and we want to share our knowledge and experiences with the Balkans, Central Asia and Africa, there are also demands from there. This project became an opportunity; we visited Macedonia in the second phase, now we will visit Kosovo as a part of the third phase. So our knowledge is not only to stay within the country, we will continue to share it with the world.

UNDP Turkey: We see that there will be important results for both conveying the experiences of Turkey and enhancing the capacity of General Directorate of Forestry in this context. At the same time, the visibility of the project will gradually increase by means of publications. Mr. Rüstem Kırış, thank you for your participation.

Rüstem Kırış: Thank you.

UNDP Turkey: In this part we talked about a project that aims integrating water function to forest management plans for adapting to climate change and contributing to its mitigation and our contributor was Rüstem Kırış form the General Directorate of Forestry. We come to the end of the New Horizons prepared by UNDP Turkey. This program has been recorded at the studio of Radyo İlef of Ankara University Communications Department. You can follow our program on iTunes, Audioboo and Soundcloud in podcast format, on FM frequency in İstanbul, on Açık Radyo (Open Radio) on internet, on nearly fifty Police radios, on MYCY radio from Cyprus and also on university radios in our broadcasting network and on tr.undp.org. Our user name for social media is undpturkiye. Hope to see you soon, good bye!










In this part, we talk about a project that aims integrating water function to forest management plans for adapting to climate change and contributing to its mitigation.



Rüstem Kırış, Head of Forest Management and Planning Department of the General Directorate of Forestry


Read the transcript