Comparative Analysis of forestry policy and implementation during the AK Party Period in Turkey
Atmis, E. and Gunsen, H. B.
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Political and economic transformations in many parts of the world have threatened the existence of forests and the sustainability of forestry. Industry, agriculture, energy and land settlement policies inflict damage on forests and other natural assets. This kind of damage. tantamount to deforestation, is the result of government policies that consider forests as a source of revenue, not as an asset to be protected. This study evaluated the success of forestry policies and practices under the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) over a period of 13 years. The previous 13 years were then taken as a control group and compared to them in order to evaluate the success of the AK Party. Overall 26 years of forestry policies and practices in Turkey (1989-2015) were examined. According to the official records, Turkey's forests areas are growing. This growth, however, is not caused by the afforestation but by the effects of immigration from the countryside to cities. Also increased demand for wood is intensifying the pressure on forests. Although the use of forests for non-forestry purposes fragments the forest ecosystems and reduces forested areas, these losses have not been recorded by official statistics. Protected areas are being transformed into recreational areas and their management is not following the wishes of the people. The reason for this is that the government prioritises economic growth over environmental concerns.