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Home arrow Study sites arrow Konya, Karapinar plain, Turkey
Konya, Karapinar plain, Turkey PDF Print E-mail
Written by Erik van den Elsen   

Responsible IP partner: Eskişehir Osmangazi University (ESOGU)

1. General information
The Karapınar hotspot is located in the Great Konya Basin of south central Anatolia. This area is immediately reminded when addressing the desertification phenomena in Turkey since many prevention and mitigation measures were implemented here in the past. Climate here is the driest of the country. Ground is covered by loose chemical and detrital lacustrine deposits. These materials are very sensitive to long-lasting wind activity (sometimes 18-25 m/sec) when coupled with deterioration of weak vegetation cover and unsuitable agricultural practices (Figure 1).


Figure 1. Sand dunes in the Karapınar area.


Wind erosion and dune shift has reached an intolerable level from the viewpoints of agriculture and life quality in early 1960s when an experimental station was implemented to halt and reverse this degradation process (Figure 2).


Figure 2. Preservation efforts in 1960s in the Karapınar area.


Although the applied prevention measures provided a significant success (Figure 3), their puissance decreases with time while the socio-economic and climatic factors became worsen. The area also has been affected from secondary salinization that resulted from intense use of groundwater. There are through-going projects to prevent desertification including the application suitable agricultural techniques, forestation and sustainable exploitation of ground water.


Figure 3: Results of preservation measures in 2000s



Participating local partner institutions:


  • Faculty of Agriculture, Selçuk University: Researchers from this university has been working in the hotspot on various issues ranging in soil productivity, salinization etc.
  • TEMA: A Turkish NGO for combating soil erosion, for restoration and protection of natural habitats.
  • Foundation For The Reinforcement of the General Directorate of National Parks and Game-Wild Life : A Turkish NGO focused on the protection of environment with its wild life.


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2. Geographical description
The Konya region comprises deposits of an ancient shallow-lake now totally evaporated in the draughtiest corner of the country (Figure 4). The climate is continental with an annual average temperature of 11,5° and annual average precipitation of 275 mm. The rainfall occurs in summers and autumns in torrential nature. Sand storms towards north and northeast can reach speeds of 110 km/h. Only %10 of the total area suitable for agriculture is irrigated in the region. Irrigation causes significant secondary salinisation. The crop types range from various cereals in dry agriculture area to sugar beets and various fruit plantations where ground water is available. In the hotspot and its vicinity, the agriculture is dominantly composed of various cereals and sugar beet. The population of the Konya region exceed 2 million with 830.000 people living in the Konya city. Industry is well developed especially in the sectors of machine, food, chemicals etc. and sorted in the 9th level in the national socio-economic league. The Karapınar town in the hotspot area is historical settlement (goes back to Hittites) and hosts ca. 38.000 people. Local people strongly depends on agriculture and husbandry.



3. Institutional and political setting
Soil Management in the study area is mainly achieved by the branch of a state organization (General Directorate of Rural Services) recently officially bound to local governors. Within the boundary of the municipality land use decision-maker is the municipality board elected by the city’s people. There is a wealth of farmer organizations on the issues of funding, irrigation, fertilization etc. A recently installed local analysis facility is also available.


4. Relevant end-users / stakeholder groups

  • State Water Works, Konya Branch: The local branch of the primary executive state agency for elimination of adverse effects of Turkey’s surface and groundwater and putting them in public utilization in various ways such as hydropower, irrigation, domestic and industrial use. • Soil and Water Research Institute: Branch of an organization (The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Service) aimed at the Development, conservation or suitable exploitation of the soil and water resources.
  • TEMA: A Turkish NGO for combating soil erosion, for restoration and protection of natural habitats.
  • Foundation For The Reinforcement of the General Directorate of National Parks and Game-Wild Life : A Turkish NGO focused on the protection of environment with its wild life.
  • UNCCD National Focal point: The national connection point against desertification founded under the Research, planning and co-ordination board of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.
  • Karapınar Municipality: Decision maker and execution authority within the municipality boundary with respect to land management and related subjects.
  • Local Irrigation Unions: The union of villagers (end-users) for provision of surface and ground waters to their farms.
  • Local Farmer Unions: The union of villagers for increasing the crop amount and quality.


5. Past and ongoing projects
In the Karapınar area, General Directorate of Rural Services carried out many projects since 1962. There are also some individual soil surveys and joint projects with some foreigners. Wooden fences were built in the strong wind corridors and sand was captured in the preferred sites. On these sand plots special meadow seeds were planted in order to stabilise the sandy ground. There are several ongoing projects by the same organisation including crop management, forestation and ground water provision to mitigate the wind-driven erosion and desertification. The previous studies in the area comprises the effect of various irrigation methods with respect to salinisation, suitability of certain soil types for agriculture, determination of theoretical soil loss coefficients, groundwater exploration etc. Many of these works were carried out by the General Directorate of Rural Affair’s local branch and General Directorate of Water Affairs.



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