There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
Many of the world’s conflict zones are located in places where biodiversity is high. The Caucasus, being one of the world´s 36 biodiversity hotspots, is no exception.
‘Conservation and peacemaking has the potential to go hand in hand’. We took away this lesson from our journey in the Caucasus, where we met leading organisations and individuals in Georgia and Armenia working for the protection of the endangered Caucasian leopard.
As we see from the example of the Caucasian leopard, aside from all other things, biodiversity needs to also be protected from the consequences of armed conflict. However, it also offers an opportunity for people to come together, resolve conflicts, join in the protection of shared natural heritage and ultimately, build peace. And maybe, the Caucasian leopard can lead the way on this journey.
With modern genetic sequencing techniques, DNA barcoding has the potential to dramatically accelerate the inventory of biodiversity on Earth, providing a basis for global conservation monitoring. Just like we began to record weather in the 19th century, which now provides the information that allows us to recognize the climate crisis and make predictions for the future, DNA barcoding provides similar opportunities for biodiversity.
Nature conservation is not a nine-to-five job. Nature provides us with endless questions to answer if we are curious enough. With over 20 years of experience in bird watching, bird research, nature conservation and nature education both in Turkey and abroad, Lale Aktay and Özgün Süzüer have seen and experienced many sides of nature conservation, and we are eager to find out what drives them. We talked about research and on-site conservation of birds, the importance of knowledge transfer, building a network and being a role model for youth. Moreover, we heard about a successful initiative combining cycling with nature observation and got a glimpse into the field of ethno-ornithology.
As we approached the province of Hatay, we had no idea yet how intricate and strong the nature protection community really is here. But soon enough, we found out that like the underground network of trees in a forest, the protectors of Hatay developed a unique and diverse network, consisting of academicians, conservationists, media personnel and nature enthusiasts, working as coordinated as we have not seen before.
And what are they protecting? Taking up only 0.7% of Turkey, Hatay hosts 60% of all of the country’s mammal species. Moreover, it is a major bottleneck for migratory birds and hosts some of Turkey’s most important wetlands belonging to the Asi river basin.
The Black Sea is one of the world’s most isolated seas, and the largest anoxic body of water on the planet (87% of its volume is anoxic). It has also been called Europe’s most polluted sea. In Trabzon along the Turkish Black Sea coast, we sat down with researchers Dr. Muzaffer Feyzioğlu and Dr. Coşkun Erüz from the Karadeniz Technical University to discuss the state of marine conservation, microplastics and people’s attitudes towards marine litter.
Ceren Kazancı and Soner Oruç are ethnobiologists, studying traditional ecological knowledge in the Western Lesser Caucasus at the Turkish-Georgian border region, one of the 36 global biodiversity hotspots of the world. Like other ethnobiologists, they recognize that indigenous peoples, traditional societies, and local communities are critical not only to the conservation of cultural and linguistic diversity, but also biological diversity.