The Kop and Burnazdere Microcatchments in Bayburt region – Turkey

Turkey 05.10.2015 Ecosystem: Dry Climate

Erosion control, natural resources management and rural development in Bayburt Region


Erosion and desertification are global problems. The Destruction of vegetation and soil are often in combination with water shortages-lead in many places to poverty, crisis and emigration. In Turkey deforestation and destruction of natural vegetation began in ancient times and has continued to present day. As a result, 78% of the country is battling with erosion. Every year, 1.4 billion m3 of soil are lost, which is equivalent to a 100 m thick layer of soil on an area of 2,000 soccer fields. Often, this is valuable humus, which will take centuries to build up again. The main reason for the erosion in Turkey is not only deforestation but overgrazing by excessive numbers of animals as a result of pastures and mountain pastures which are particularly vulnerable to erosion.

TEMA believes that poverty alleviation in rural areas is indispensable in order to combat erosion. Therefore, creating alternative income resources for the community and increasing the agricultural production capacity are essential. Rural development projects aim to achieve the sustainable development while preventing erosion and protecting the environment .

TEMA Foundation, in order to show the possibilities of combating with soil erosion, creates and implements model rural development projects. The first model rural development project was launched in 1994, in İzmir, Bergama, Çamavlu Village on grazeland rehabilitation. Presently, TEMA works on 35 Rural Development Projects in 100.000 hectares area throughout Turkey. The project, Erosion Control, Natural Resources Management and Rural Development: A Case Project In The Kop and Burnazdere Microcatchments in Bayburt Region is one of the demonstration projects on rural development implemented between the years 2000 and 2005. The project provides a model for rural development by combating erosion and conservation of natural resources in eastern Turkey.

Bayburt project aims to provide a model for rural development, reduce erosion and conservation of natural resources in eastern Turkey.

Background Story

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A beehive
A beehive
Villagers of Demirkaş



Bayburt is a province in the North-East Anatolian plateu. It lies in the rain shadow of the Black Sea mountains, and has a very dry climate with short, hot summers and cold winters. Given the very short growing period, plant cover is deficient and the natural vegetatation is damaged. The forests have been severely decimated for centuries, exposing the soil to heavy erosion.

Bayburt province is not only one of the smallest in Turkey, but also one of the poorest. Average per capita income is just one-third of that of the population of the cities in western Turkey, and in the villages income levels are often much lower. As a result, migration from the villages to the west of the country is very high. There is virtually no industry or service sector in Bayburt province, and the main source of income are livestock and arable farming. Despite the importance of agriculture, the people have little knowledge of farming techniques or varieties and breeds.

The project is based on the recognition that erosion control can only be effective in the long term if the people are given alternatives to their current farming methods which enable them to conserve natural resources. The project is accordingly concerned not only with erosion control but also at rural development and the establishment of institutions which can continue and extend the work of the project after it ends. The aim of the project is to provide a model for rural development and an ecologically sound approach to natural resources in eastern Turkey.

Brief History and Background

The issues concerning combating erosion, protecting natural resources and rural development were evaluated in collaboration with Republic of Turkey and German Federation in December, 1997 to contribute to developing a sustainable development strategy in a selected pilot region in Turkey. In the light of this co-operation TEMA (Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats) Foundation developed a project titled “Erosion Control in the Kop and Burnazdere Microcatchments, Natural Resources Management and Rural Development” and later presented it to the BMZ (German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development). The project was accepted by the BMZ and an agreement was signed on 28 September 2000 between TEMA and GTZ (German Society for Technical Co-operation) responsible for the BMZ. The project has been put into practice on 09 February 2001. Providing active participation of the local governmental institutions, the non-governmental bodies, the stakeholders and the local people into the project activities has been achieved from the planning step of the project. Besides, co-operation was developed with the Governorship of Bayburt Province, thus, the Governorship has been one of the partners of the project. The project implemented in co-operation with TEMA and GTZ has been realised in 14.700 ha land including five villages (Kop, Çalıdere, Örence, Demirkaş and Sığırcı) of Bayburt Province. The total population living in the villages is 2359.

The main goals of the projects are listed as below.

Autonomous implementation of erosion control measures by providing participation of the local people

In order to realise this goal of the project some activities such as reforestation, construction of stonewall barriers on the slopes and streams to prevent soil loss and run off were implemented.

The reforestation activity was realised in co-operation with the General Directorate of Reforestation and Erosion Control of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (AGM). 95 ha of land in Palamuttepe region was reforested through this co-operation. Besides, 30.000 of scotch fir (Pinus silvestris) was planted in 2004 through providing participation of the local people. Due to the limited state lands for reforestation, 14.65 ha of private lands were planted. 21.000 of populous (Populus nigra) and 6.000 of willow trees (Salix alba) were planted at the borders of the roads and between agricultural lands.

In order to prevent and take effective measures against soil loss and runoff 2000 m3 stonewalls on the slops and 11 barriers on the streams were built up through participation of the local people.

Enhancement of agricultural productivity and diversification of incomes

In order to achieve this goal of the project the following activities were implemented in practice.

Supporting production of fodder plants

According to the evaluation of the questionnaire’s results fulfilled in 2001, 199.2 ha lucerna (Medicago sativa L.) and 13.3 ha sainfoin (Onobrychis sativa Lam.) were planted, that is, the total of the cultivated land of fodder plants was 212.5 ha at the beginning of the project. Through supporting cultivation of fodder plants to generate alternative income for the local people, the total amount of the cultivated land of fodder plants has increased up 540.2 ha. G The total increase in production of fodder plants has reached up % 181. The cultivated fodder plants vary lucerna (Medicago sativa L.), sainfoin (Onobrychis sativa Lam.), crested wheat grass (Agrophyron cristatum Gaertn.), common vetch (Vicia sativa L.), hungarian vetch (Vicia pannonica Carntz.) and red clover (Trifolium pratense L.).

Improvement of livestock

The 100 barns were improved in relation to this activity.

Grazeland rehabilitation

In the scheme of this activity eight sheepfolds were built up in the grazelands. Besides, 69 of vessels holding water for cattle were put in the meadows that grazing of animals can be restricted in the selected places and, by this way, negative impact of overgrazing over the meadows can be reduced.

Rotation plans for grazing were prepared and have been implemented in the grazelands through providing participation of the local people. The percentage of increase in grass productivity in the grazelands through following the rotation plans has increased up 50 %. However, it was observed that the problems have arisen from the following the rotation plan by the local people in three villages (Kop, Çalıdere and Örence villages), in where the number of cattle is high. In order to solve this problem out education programs concerning “adaptation of the rotation plans in the grazelands” were organised and implemented for the shepherds.

Testing cultivation of new crops to diversify agricultural production

In the scope of this activity, cultivation of new crops have been implemented to diversify agricultural production in the project area, to generate alternative income for the local people and also to encourage the local people to implement new and sustainable agricultural activities themselves. Through the convenient conditions of the region, cultivation of strawberry was implemented in 4400 m2 land without using agrochemicals. However, it has been observed that interest of the local people to cultivate strawberry has reduced in time due to strawberry production needs much endeavour.

Wild dog rose (Rosa canina) naturally grows in the region and the local people collect its fruits for income generation, therefore, planting wild dog rose was realised in 12.7 ha land to support this activity as an alternative income generation in the region.

In order to meet the need of the local people, 2125 cherry seedlings were planted by the participation of the local people.


Apiculture has been supported to generate alternative income for the local people in the region. Therefore, theoretical and practical education courses on apiculture were given to the local people consisting of 198 men and 130 women. Interest of the local people for apiculture has been high in the region. Besides, in order to encourage organic honey production in the region, educational programs on this subject were held for the local people by the experts.

Development of the capacity building of the governmental institutions in relation to conservation and sustainable utilisation of natural resources

In order to achieve this goal of the project, a counsellor committee was established through providing participation of one personnel of the concerning institutions (the Governorship of Bayburt, the Provincial Directorship of Agriculture, the Agricultural Affairs, the Head Engineering of Reforestation and Erosion Control), the heads of the villages and the villages councils. This committee has periodically been informed about the projects activities by the project personnel in Bayburt. By this way, information flow among the institutions has been provided. The mentioned institutions also implemented some activities in the scope of the project, for example, the Provincial Directorship of Environment and Forestry undertook the reforestation and erosion control activity in Palamuttepe region; the Department of Rural Affairs constructed sewage systems of the villages; the Provincial Directorship of Agriculture organised education programs concerning production of fodder plants and improvement of livestock; the Provincial Directorship of Environment and Forestry gave education concerning combating erosion in the schools. Furthermore, the capacity building of the concerning institutions has been developed through providing participation of their personnel in education programs organised in the scope of the project.


One of the most concrete challenges of the project was the lack of contribution and participation of the villagers in the beginning of the project. Villagers’ contribution to the project was limited with labor force and land allocation. They were not willing to partcipate in the activities and it was difficult to levy contribution to the project. Some villages even lobbied against the project. Some initiative activities as participatory workshops, special visits and incentive measures were realised at the beginning of the project in order to ensure confidence of the local people and also strengthen their self assistance potential. Implementation of the projects activities for achieving the projects goals has been realised through providing active participation of target institutions and groups. Therefore, the sewerage systems of five villages were constructed. The total of 14.6 km village roads was improved in the five villages. Six manure pits were constructed in two villages (4 in Örence village and 2 in Çalıdere village) as a pilot work as manure is mostly heaped up in the middle of the villages; however, this situation has negative impacts on human health and environment.

The women of the region were closed to innovations and activities provided by the project. In order to create confidence and prompt women to actively participate in the project.; bakeries were constructed in Örence, Çalıdere and Sığırcı villages. Supplements were done to the sewing courses in two villages. By co-operating with the AÇEV (Mother Child Education Foundation) a nd the TAP (Turkish Family Health and Planning Foundation) foundations two education programs were carried out for women in relation to “family planning, women problems and health problems and their solutions” in the villages.


Autonomous implementation of erosion control measures by providing participation of the local people;
Enhancement of agricultural productivity and income diversification in the project region;
Development of the capacity building of the governmental institutions in relation to conservation and utilisation of the natural resources in a sustainable manner;
Dissemination of the results and experiences of the project for other parts of Turkey.


Bayburt Governship

Agricultural Provincial Directorate

Rural Services Provincial Directorate

Afforestation and Erosion control Chief Engineering

Village headmen the 5 villages

Board of eldermen attorneys

Project Consultant Committee and villagers.


As an over evaluation, a process of alternation and transform began within the villages.

Public awareness is created for erosion control and natural resource management. Afforestation activities and pasture grazing plans were implemented and harmonized. Poplar and pine sewing activites are implemented to prevent erosion. Especially the saplings planted near the rivers and terrains helped in erosion control activities. Villagers planted 1,400 fruit trees which not only help protect against erosion but also diversify incomes. Floods are prevented by constructing dry walls and sets. Within the past 2 years, this problem did not reiterate and the villagers appreciate the erosion control activities. Another important progress is that, women became more sensitive to the issue and they want to continue the former work.

A total of 16 km of tracks is constructed and trefoil farming began within a 2000 da area. Through foddercrops production, the pressure on the pastures is reduced.

Fodder crops agriculture became widespread within the villages and %80 of the families benefit from this activity. Before the project, %70 of the families purchased grass and hays for feeding their livestock. Today this amount is around %10. The multiplier effect of this activity is that feed grain agriculture becoming widespread. This activity brought other evolutions, the cost of livestock breeding reduced by %50. Selling feed grains created a sinergy. Fruitful feeding of the animals created increase in live weight. After the end of the project, animals could easily be sold. By the increase in milk productivity, number of villagers increased who produce and sell cheese, lor and butter.

Another important activity is the construction of cattleguards in mountanious pastures. The water need of the animals is supplied on site, in sufficient amounts and they were kept safe against wild animals.

There has been an increase in diversity of herbal production. After the implementation of the project, villagers started to produce strawberry, rose hip and cherry as an income resource.

Another succesfull result of the project is beekeeping activities. Before the implementation of the project, only 4-5 families were doing beekeeping while today 50-60 families earn their income from beekeeping activities. Farmers were assisted in buying bee colonies and extension services are provided to build up bee-keeping activities. Another important progress in beekeeping activites is the participation of women and girls to the acitivity. Today, in each village different number of women actively participate in beekeeping activites.

The implementation of training programs and technical demonstration tours to other villages created organisation consciousness. Demonstration tours also presented successful examples of erosion control and cooperative activities to villagers. Special trainings implemented for cooperative trading system and demonstration tours are organised to sample villages in Trabzon- Tonya and İzmir. These tours created eagerness within the villagers. Altough the attempts for this enterprise is weak, an agricultural cooperative is founded in the Örence village and they passed a project on livestock production to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Technical field trips are arranged within the scope of the project to see different environments and to witness rural development activities in the field.

The most important output of the project is the increase in the income of the villagers. There has been an increase in the income of the families between %20 -150 within the %60 of the families participating in the project.


To prevent erosion, villagers with project help, planted 6,000 willow and poplar saplings beside stream beds. The villagers also constructed dry walls at points particularly vulnerable to erosion.
Six hectares of pasture land were fertilized as an experiment in accelerating natural regeneration.

Together with the rural development services, a total of 14 km of tracks were constructed and another 33 km rehabilitated, to make it easier to farm fields and pastures.

A start has been made on beekeeping to diversify farmers’ incomes. In addition, courses in apiculture were held, which have been attended by over 300 people to date. Farmers are also being assisted in buying bee colonies and ongoing extension services are provided to build up bee-keeping activities.

Fodder crops such as clover, vetch and alfalfa were planted on an area of 430 hectares. This meant that part of the herds is not longer driven up to the mountain pastures.

Villagers planted 1,400 fruit trees which not only help protect against erosion but also diversify incomes.

Numerous upgrading courses were held in the villages for the rural population. Demonstration tours also presented successful examples of erosion control and cooperative activities to villagers.

A geographical information system (GIS) was set up to improve planning and monitoring of project activities.


The sustainability of the project is ensured by the creation of a governance model for the healty implication of the project. The organisation of coopeatives and village groups ensured the execution of the project. Village renewals and stream improvement activities continued. Livestock production, feed grain production and rose hip production activities continued after the end of the project. The villagers adopted themselves to the work done so far and public participation is provided. The computers and other technical equipments are granted to government institutions for further use.

Lessons Learned

The training programs implied throughout the project should be repeated periodically and the content of the trainings should be prepared instructive for everyone. It is important to provide the sustainability of the trainings for further success. While beekeeping trainings are succesfull in this project, health trainings are ill considered.

Orientation studies on the main issues increase the participation and motivation of the villagers. Definition of the main themes like natural resources, cooperation, participation, rural development and gender based development helps in reducing the conceptual deficiencies.

It is important to levy contributions for income generating activities of the project for the adoption of the villagers. Also, timing is another important aspect of the project. Timing should be flexible for the adoption and participation of the target groups to the project.

Attention should be taken to the possibilities and impossibilities within the villagers. As an example, while distributing feed grains to the villagers, tractor owners should be determined and the distribution should be made taken these differences into consideration. Also, the measures should be taken to prevent the ones who does not require much support from the project.

Villagers should be informed about agricultural and rural development policies and agricultural support policies so that project would be enriched by different means of support.

It is important to communicate and share knowledge with public and public organizations. Also, the participation of local governers to the trainings is important for healty and tempore decision making.

Transferability (=potential for replication)

Dissemination of the projects results and experiences for other parts of Turkey

Meetings and seminars were organised at the planning step of the project so as to ensure active participation of the regional institutions and the local people in the planning of the project as participation is one of the main principles in rural development. Providing participation of the concerning actors into the project from the planning step has led to successful application of the project in practice.

Through realisation of seminars and workshops at the case of Bayburt Project, dissemination of the outcomes and experiences of the project have been ensured.

Brochures presenting the project activities were prepared and delivered to the concerning bodies and the local people.


The internet homepage ( of the project has been established to provide easy access to the information of the project.

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