- Determining of ecological situation and restoration potentials of wetlands in and around Kars
- Instructing wetland ecological restoration methods to students of Kafkas University
- Making the wetland in Kafkas University campus a natural laboratory by restoration
What is restoration?
Restoration means; bringing back to a former place, station or condition. Degraded natural areas could be restorated to their natural stations partially, just like the historical building restoration. Also like in historical restoration, it is not possible to totally restore a natural area to its former condition. Many times a natural area which has been damaged by humans, never recovers. Because natural areas have highly sensitive balances, successfully restoration projects could be conducted in limited areas and needs a lot of work. On the other hand partial restoration projects could be very successful in relatively less damaged areas like Kars.
Restoration of wetlands of Kars
Biologically most important areas in Kars region are lakes and other wetlands. As a matter of fact most of the international important bird areas in Kars and neighboring cities are lakes. Unfortunately natural vegetation of most of these wetlands highly reduced by in general over-grazing and this situation has a negative effect on biodiversity. We are running a project about this subject with Dr. Sean Anderson, who is wetland restoration specialist in U.S.A. California State University, for restoration wetlands in Kars and instructing ecological restoration methods, which are very few in our country but also it is very important for conservation, to students of Kafkas University. Primarily the project focuses on the seasonal wetland in Kafkas University campus and on Kuyucuk Lake, which is the most important wetland for birds in Kars region.
In April 2006 we have visited Aygır, Çalı, Çıldır, Kuyucuk and Lavaş in Kars, Aktaş ve Çıldır in Ardahan, Aralık in Iğdır and Doğubeyazıt in Ağrı wetlands with Sean Anderson and made measurements about vegetation, aquatic vertebrate and invertebrate, erosion potential, nitrate and phosphate ratio, pH and sediment amount of the wetlands. Most important conclusions are:General biologic, hydrologic and soil abrasion is very high
- Because of over-grazing, most of the vegetation near the lakes were destroyed and this leads to high amounts of erosion and reduced numbers of aquatic living beings by sedimentation.
- Although wetlands shows eutrophic characteristics, nitrogen and phosphor levels are low, so this indicates there is not a high chemical pollution
- Because, it is easier and faster to recovering vegetation than cleaning chemical pollution, wetlands of Kars are highly suitable for restoration
- On the other hand it is very important for the health of local peoples and wetlands that preventing discharge of untreated wastes to Kars stream immediately
Another advantage of this project would be the educating the students of Kafkas University for ecological restoration, which is very rare in Turkey. By this project the students will be instructed in environmental evaluation and ecological restoration principles. Additionally by this project, it is possible to collect basic information for biodiversity of wetlands in the region.