TURKEY, Muğla Province
According to the current IUCN Red List assessments (Ver. 2018.2); the oriental sweetgum species (Liquidambar orientalis Miller) has upgraded from VU (Vulnerable) to EN (Endangered) category due to the heavy habitat fragmentations, land occupations, illegal sweetgum oil producing, overgrazing and tourism activities etc. Today, the species is becoming extinction.
In order to stop this extinction and to raise awareness of the local people who have developed a special way of life with these forests, a comprehensive action plan has been implemented in cooperation with a wide range of stakeholders from the public to the private sector, universities and civil society organizations which includes NATURA as major institution.
The 5-year Action Plan (between 2019-2024), which has been prepared with the utmost care for the last 2 years under the coordination of the Sweetgum Working Group (which NATURA has pioneered the establishment of it also), aims to implement 19 different activities in different sectors from research to conservation, education and tourism etc. Some activities in the action plan have already been started. The Sweetgum Action Plan is being revealed to revive the anatolian (oriental) sweetgum forests.
The dominant stakeholders of the action plan may be summarized as the Marmaris City Council, NATURA, TEMA, Muğla Regional Directorate of Forestry, Marmaris National Parks Directorate, Aegean Forestry Research Institute, 21st Regional Directorate of Water Affairs, Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University, Muğla Directorate of Agriculture and Forestry, Muğla Provincial Directorate of Environment and Urbanization.
The Sweetgum Working Group will monitor the activities within the plan independently and transparently for 5 years as the responsible unit for the main monitoring and coordination of the action plan and will consult with the institutions which are responsible for the related activities.
NATURA is directly responsible for activities and 13 sub-activities of the action plan. Moreover, NATURA determines its work strategy by taking this action plan into consideration, while at the same time using its results to improve this plan.
The oriental sweetgum forests may return from the threshold of extinction with the help of this action plan.