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Desertification Turkey


Soil degradation is already intense in parts of the Mediterranean and central-eastern Europe and, together with prolonged drought periods and fires, is already contributing to an increased risk of desertification (2). Turkey’s southeastern, southern, and central regions are facing desertification risk (3).

The decrease of winter precipitation may have resulted in a degradation of the soil moisture content and a depletion of the ground water level over most of the country. There has also been a general tendency of a shift from humid conditions during the 1960s to the dry sub-humid climatic conditions of the early 1990s, in the aridity index series of Turkey (1).

Significant trends towards drier than normal conditions in annual and winter precipitation, and towards dry sub-humid or semi-arid climatic conditions have been increasing climatic factors that lead to desertification in the Mediterranean and Aegean regions of Turkey. When other natural (especially geomorphologic and pedologic) and anthropogenic factors, such as forest fires, recent misuse of agricultural lands, are also taken into account, these regions could be considered as areas that may be more vulnerable to desertification processes in the future (1).

The southeastern Anatolia and the continental interiors of Turkey could be arid lands that are affected by desertification processes, owing to the climatic factors that may lead to the desertification (1).

Anthropogenic steppes with dry forests are the dominant vegetation formations over the semi-arid and dry sub-humid parts of the continental Eastern Anatolia Region. These sparse vegetation covers protect and stabilize the land surface and soil, except where the land is completely degraded, and when climatic changes result in significant increase of aridity conditions, or decrease of precipitation amounts, and water resources (1).


The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Turkey.

  1. Türkeş (1999)
  2. IPCC (2014)
  3. Topçu (2022