The Struggle for Pine Nuts Continues in Kozak

Kozakta Fights Against Glass Nuts
The Struggle for Pine Nuts Continues in Kozak

Izmir Metropolitan Municipality continues to work with the Turkish Foresters Association to find a solution to the low yield of pine nuts in Bergama Kozak Plateau. Experts determined that in addition to the effects of drought due to the climate crisis, the pine cone-sucking beetle also caused low yields. Izmir Metropolitan Municipality teams, which place special traps in the region, aim to reduce the population of the insect.

Small producers are supported in every field in line with the İzmir Agriculture strategy, which was created with the vision of "Another Agriculture is Possible" of Tunç Soyer, the Mayor of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality. The Metropolitan Municipality, which signed a cooperation protocol with the Turkish Foresters Association in 2019, continues its efforts to identify and combat the reasons for the low yield of pine nuts in the Kozak region. While the income loss of the producer, who mostly makes a living from pine nuts, is increasing day by day, experts focus on the drought due to the climate crisis and the effect of the pine cone-sucking beetle. The Metropolitan Municipality, which has placed large and small traps to catch the pine cone-sucking beetle in forest areas in 15 neighborhoods, continues its data analysis with two air pollution measurement stations and two meteorology stations it has established in the region.

Two types of traps were prepared

Project manager Prof. Dr. Sezgin Özden stated that diseases and pests are being investigated in the region and said, “A fungal disease with the potential to cause damage was detected in the pine trees during the researches carried out within the scope of the project. However, it has been determined that the density of this fungus is not yet at a level to cause damage. "We estimate that the fungus may start to do damage as the stress of the trees increases," he said.

In the harmful insects part of the project, the pine cone sucking beetle is being investigated. Sezgin Özden talked about two types of traps, some of which are hung on tree trunks and some are placed in open areas in the forest, for the wintering behavior of the insect. We identified 72 insects in one of the trap types we set up in Kıranlı Mahallesi, and 30 in the other. This finding showed that the designed traps could be successful in attracting the pinecone-sucking beetle. We will present our idea to İzmir Metropolitan Municipality by producing more economically suitable trap types and placing them in different regions in Kozak in September 2022.

“The insect population will be reduced with traps”

Forest Engineer Mehmet Volkan Kester, who works at İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Rural Development Branch Directorate, said that a special trap was set up for the pine cone-sucking beetle and said, “This trap is very effective. Insects have infrared receptors. It identifies hot areas and heads towards these areas. Since the traps we have prepared are also warm, insects enter these traps to hibernate. Insects that enter the traps are then destroyed. These insect traps will be replicated. Thus, it will be tried to prevent the decrease in the cone yield caused by the insect. By means of these traps, we aim to prevent the insect from giving offspring and to reduce its population.

Thanks to President Soyer for support

The headman of Karaveliler Village, Ferudun Gürkaya, stated that this problem has continued for 15 years and the villagers have suffered a great loss of income, and said, “Even though there are cones on the trees in the higher parts of Kozak Plateau, they are empty. There are not even cones in the places where the altitude drops. We would like to thank Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tunç Soyer for his support for the solution of this problem.”

“I had to close my business”

Producer Mehmet Gezgin stated that he was born and raised in Bergama and was a pine nut businessman and said, “When the disease started, the yield of the trees decreased, so I closed my business. People are in a very difficult situation economically right now. A lot of businesses like me had to close here. When people couldn't get the product, they started cutting the trees," he said.

Socioeconomic studies were also conducted

Izmir Metropolitan Municipality also conducts socio-economic research in the region. Sociologist Filiz Egi Oğuz said, “Socioeconomic analysis also plays an important role in this research. We are always together with the manufacturers. We have seen that the income of 16 villages in this basin, which is 40-50 million dollars, has decreased significantly. In addition, the problems experienced enabled the producers to organize. Villagers in Kozak became cooperative and entered into solidarity,” he said.

Academics continue to work

Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tunç Soyer signed a protocol with the Foresters Association of Turkey to determine the reasons for the low yield of pine nuts and to search for solutions. In order to find the cause of the problem within the framework of the project, Prof. Dr. Socioeconomic analysis led by Sezgin Özden, Prof. Dr. The effects of climate change under the leadership of Murat Türkeş, Prof. Dr. Under the leadership of Ünal Akkemik, dendroclimatology, phenology and pollen researches, Prof. Dr. The effects of air pollution and plant nutrition under the leadership of Doğanay Tolunay, Prof. Dr. Under the leadership of Tuğba Lehtijarvi, researches are carried out on diseases and pests.

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