Two years have passed since the great forest fire that burned Izmir's lungs. Within the framework of Mayor Tunç Soyer's vision of creating resilient cities, the Metropolitan Municipality has now launched a new forest mobilization, following the Forest İzmir campaign, which was launched to heal the wounds and protect and develop the city's forests right after the fire.
In the second year of the great fire that started in İzmir on August 18, 2019 and caused thousands of hectares of forested areas in Seferihisar, Menderes and Karabağlar districts to be ash, İzmir Metropolitan Municipality started a green mobilization. The Metropolitan Municipality has implemented a large-scale action plan to create fire-resistant trees and vegetation in the city. With the call of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tunç Soyer, the “One Sapling One World” campaign was launched.
Studies to make the city resilient
Stating that they learned great lessons from the pain of two years ago, President Tunç Soyer said, “We came together with thousands of Izmir residents in the burned area, due to our belief in democracy. In our extraordinary council meeting, we took the decisions that would protect the city from forest fires and put them into practice. We organized the Forest İzmir campaign, which is the first step of our long-term strategic efforts to protect our forests in İzmir. In two years, we have carried out important studies in many areas, from education to producing fire-resistant tree species, in order to protect and develop our forests and to prevent fires. Again, in line with the vision we set in the Forest Izmir campaign, we prepared a large-scale action plan to make the green cover of the city fire resistant. I have full confidence that our people will support this mobilization," he said.
“One Sapling, One World” campaign started
Izmir Metropolitan Municipality launched a solidarity campaign within the scope of the action plan it prepared to ensure that the green cover of the city can renew itself after the fire. With the “One Sapling, One World” campaign, people of İzmir will be able to support the campaign by purchasing saplings from birfidanbirdunya.org. The first saplings will be planted in the autumn.
Forest volunteer team is formed
Izmir Metropolitan Municipality will establish a 200-person Forest Volunteers team for the strongest, conscious and planned response to possible fires. The team, which will consist of people operating in different fields of expertise, will be the civil response team to Izmir's fires after the training program and will support nature protection efforts during non-disaster periods. According to the decision passed by the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Council, the Forest Villages and Rural Area Fires Branch Directorate is established within the body of the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Fire Brigade Department for the first time in Turkey. Thus, there will be a special fire department specialized in extinguishing fires in forest villages and rural areas where there is a risk of fire. Within the scope of forest mobilization, the Metropolitan will distribute a fire kit that will provide the first response to possible fires to the mukhtars in the forest neighborhoods in September.
Resistant seedlings are grown with the Nature Green Project
Two years ago, Izmir Metropolitan Municipality made determinations with experts to determine which tree species would be popularized in the city. In order to produce the saplings of these trees, seedlings were started to be produced in cooperation with the cooperatives in the Küçük Menderes Basin. The saplings will meet the soil in the afforestation areas, parks and gardens of the Metropolitan Municipality next autumn.
Forest Science Board and international conference
With the decision of 11 metropolitan mayors, a "Forest Science Board" consisting of academicians specialized in forest ecology will be established in a short time. This committee will provide consultancy to local administrations in studies for the protection and survival of forests. İzmir Metropolitan Municipality is also planning to organize the International Mediterranean Forests Conference next year to shed light on Turkey's forest policies within the scope of forest mobilization.
With the Forest İzmir campaign, 121 thousand fire resistant saplings were planted
A donation of 30 million 2019 thousand 30 TL was collected between 2020 September 1 and 736 September 155 within the scope of the Forest İzmir campaign, which was implemented to heal the wounds and protect the forests of the city right after the great fire. With these donations, 121 thousand 599 fire resistant saplings were purchased and two containers were purchased to be used in the Climate and Fire Resistant Forest Nursery in Torbalı. For the first response in a possible fire, 60 water tankers were distributed to the forest villages and training was given to the headmen.
Significant progress has also been made in the 35 “Living Parks” projects, which are among the most important goals of the Forest Izmir campaign. Different areas such as Yelki Olivelo, Gediz Delta, Yamanlar Mountain and Flamingo Nature Park, Meles Valley were determined for the 35 Living Parks to be established on the IzMiras excursion route, and planning studies for each area were started.
New afforestation areas are being created
As an extension of the Forest İzmir campaign, new afforestation areas in İzmir were also determined. Efforts are underway to afforest an area of 148 thousand square meters, including 273 thousand 230 square meters for the second stage in Bornova Devil Creek, 427 thousand 121 square meters in Güzelbahçe Küçükkaya and 300 thousand 500 square meters in Menemen Süleymanlı.