Prof. Dr. Veysel EROĞLU, Minister of Forestry and Water Affairs

2013 has been very fruitful in terms of forestry. As with the other areas of our ministry, we have achieved successful in the field of forestry.

We have increased our forest assets in both; field and fortune. In 2012, we increased our forest assets up to 21.7 million hectares, which was 20.8 million hectares in 2002. We have increased 900,000 hectares of forest area for the last 11 years. We have planted 3 billion seeds.

We have increased our wood assets from 1.2 billion m3 to 1.5 billion m3. While the amount of plantation was around 75,000 hectares in between 1992 and 2002, we have raised this figure up to 500,000 hectares. Reforestation programs have increased by 6.5 times.

While there were 75 million saplings being produced in the past year, we have produced 470 million saplings last year. We are giving great importance to income-generating products for forest villagers. For this purpose, we plant non-wood products like walnuts and almonds and allow the villagers to use them in order to increase their welfares.

At the same time, we greatly support forest villagers. For this purpose, in 2013, we have contributed for about 1.4 billion lira to forest villagers in the scope of production activities. This figure was 253 million lira in 2002, and by increasing it about 5 times, we have raised the number up to 1.4 billion liras.

In order to develop beekeeping, we are starting honey forests. Until today, we have established 175 units of honey forests and our goal is to reach 270 units. By this way and for the last decade, Turkey ranks second in the world honey production, which was in the fifth place before.

We are establishing special areas where our citizens can breathe easily. We have established 127 city forests and 1534 fields of promenade.

90 percent of our forests’ cadastre has been completed. Forest Cadastre and Land Registry and Cadastre working together, 17 million 700 thousand hectares have received the deed, and we will be able to take the deeds of whole forest until the end of 2015.

We are the most successful country in Europe in forest fires. We are supporting so many European countries while fighting against forest fires.

Furthermore, we have established training center for fighting forest fires in Antalya. In this center, we are also educating forest administration members from other countries.

Being the country’s largest wood raw material supplier, we, the Forestry General Directorate, monitor the customer demands closely in order to determine the market’s production, marketing and strategies, and meet industry representatives for finding solutions.

At the request of the wood sector, we are expanding production of industrial wood. In 2013, we have produced 13.1 million cubic meters of industrial wood, as well as 6.7 million firewood and 160 thousand tons of non-timber forest products and had more than 2 billion liras of revenues from their sales.

We have passed the circular No. 6877 of Planted Tree Sales. We work together with the sector and try to help the sector in its favor with works like increasing the production of our forests by taking the cost lower factors in consideration, extending the terms of sales, rearranging interest rates and VAT rates, etc. Also, we are working to help avoiding obstacles in front of legislation.

Considering the facts of increasing difficulties in imports of raw materials and the decreasing future opportunities, the Directorate General of Forests are taking measures to increase both quality and quantity of production.

Forest management with conventional production and marketing such as re-stacking in stores and asset submission with the sales process, has ceased to be rational and efficient management. Because there are significant losses in terms of both cost and quality.

For this reason, we our are aiming to increase Planted Tree Sales, which will minimize the unnecessary costs of our forestry and the loss that increases the cost. However, while making these transformations, we are also preparing our sector for this transformation and as a part of our socio-economic obligations, we are trying to transform our forest villagers into professional work force. In this regard, we have have signed a training protocol with the Ministry of Education, covering the years 2014-2018. We will take a start in the begining of 2014.

Hereby, I hope that the new year will bring health and peace to all of you, our country and all of humanity.

If forest, water exist, there is life …”