On November 11 at 11:11am, Turkey aimed to break the world record by planting 11 million saplings in an hour as part of the “Breath for the Future” campaign organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The main focus of the day was the areas that had been destroyed by fire over the summer; events local to Fethiye were held in Dalaman and Göcek.

Turkey’s Agriculture and Forestry Ministry launched the “Breath for the Future” campaign in late October.

The ministry planted the saplings on behalf of people who adopted them online. So far, 13 million trees have been adopted.

11 November has been declared as National Forestation Day by President Erdoğan, who plans to make the planting ceremonies an annual event.

In photos: “Breath for the Future” in Dalaman-Göcek

I’d seen the photographs taken after the Dalaman-Göcek wildfire that started on 10 July 2019 , burning for nearly 48 hours and destroying close to 400 hectares of forest – that’s just under 1000 acres or the equivalent of 757 football fields – but I was completely unprepared for the devastation that greeted me when I reached the site of the “Breath for the Future” campaign in Karaağaç near Dalaman yesterday.

In places, the fire-ravaged area stretched as far as the eye could see; huge swathes of brown lifelessness where, only four months ago, there were lush green pine forests.

The Directorate of Forestry had done a massive amount of work to prepare for the planting. The ground was cleared back to the soil and rows of terraces had been dug into the slopes to reduce soil erosion and water loss and the saplings were placed in pre-dug holes ready for planting.

Spades and hoes were provided and everyone was given a Breath for the Future baseball cap.

Thank you to Vicky Erdoğan for sending us her photos from the Göcek event.

Hundreds of people from all walks of life turned up to plant 21,000 saplings in Karaağaç, near Dalaman where the 10 July fire started.

Families with small children, schools, Military representatives, local residents and company representatives (and so many more), all set out with a will and a smile to plant new saplings to regenerate the forest.

What happens naturally after a forest fire?

When a fire burns through a forest, the natural recovery effort begins immediately. While many animals are displaced by forests, the conditions for them to return are present almost immediately. Certain insects actually sense the heat of forest fires and travel from miles around to feast on the burned plant matter left behind. These insects serve as the first food for animals lower on the food chain, like birds and small mammals.

In the years following a fire, new plant growth begins in earnest and animals begin to return.

The immediate aftermath of a forest fire can be devastating, but nature sets to work rebuilding right away. If a forest near you has burned, it may not be back to its original beauty in your lifetime, but it will regenerate itself in time – Excerpt from tentree.com

Artificial regeneration

In many places, as in Karaağaç, areas are artificially regenerated after a wildfire and new trees are planted on a previously forested site. 

These saplings will ensure that the forests around Karaağaç will grow again.

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“Breath for the Future – Geleceğe Nefes”

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