Fruit Diversity in Central Asia: Meeting on Karaalma Model Forest Farm

Table of contents

  • Introduction. 1
  • What is a Model Forest?. 1
  • The History of Model Forest Concept. 2
  • Situation of Kyrgyzstan (Karaalma Model Forest Farm). 3
  • The History of Turkish Model Forests- Mediterranean Model Forest Network. 3
  • Model Forest Practices in Turkey. 5
  • Yalova Model Forest – 5
  • Bucak Model Forest. 6
  • Lessons Learned From Turkey’s Model Forest Experiences. 6
  • Atatürk Forest Farm and Zoo. 6
  • Final Words. 6
  • My Possible Personal Contribution. 8
  • Greetings Again to My Friends from Kyrgyzstan. 8



As an activity of the project entitled “Fruit Diversity in Central Asia: Conservation for diversified and sustainable use of fruit tree genetic resources in Central Asia , I was invited to submit a presentation on “International Model Forests in Turkey”, during the “Meeting on Karaalma Model Forest Farm” Please see the details here

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10 November 2016 Thursday- 14:30 – 15:30- International Model Forests in Turkey- Ismail Belen, Committee on Mediterranean Forestry Questions- Silva Mediterranea/FAO

Model forest concept or approach has been developed by Canadian foresters. So it is easy and actually appropriate to follow their instructions to explain.


What is a Model Forest?

what is a model forest

A Model Forest is both a geographic area and an approach to the sustainable management of landscapes and natural resources.

Geographically, a Model Forest must encompass a landbase large enough to represent all of the forest’s uses and values. They are a fully working landscape of forests, farms, protected areas, rivers and towns.

The approach is based on flexible landscape and ecosystem management that combines the social, environmental and economic needs of local communities with the long-term sustainability of large landscapes. The approach links a comprehensive mix of stakeholders, natural resource users and land use sectors within a given landscape and helps create a common vision of sustainability and constructive dialogue involving all stakeholders. Those involved define what sustainability means in their own context, identify a common vision and set of goals, devise a governance structure and strategic plan, then work collaboratively to achieve the goals set out in that plan. In turn, the process nurtures a depth of trust and transparency and increases the willingness to implement innovative solutions.

Three aspects central to a Model Forest are a large landscape, broad partnerships and a commitment to sustainability:

  • Landscape: A large-scale biophysical area representing a broad range of forest values, including environmental, social, cultural and economic concerns
  • Partnership: A neutral forum that welcomes voluntary participation of representatives of stakeholder interests and values on the landscape
  • Sustainability: Stakeholders are committed to the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources and the forest-based landscape

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The History of Model Forest Concept

Canada is the birthplace of the ‘Model Forest Concept’. It began in the early 1990s from a national and global need for wise forest management. This required equal thought to the environmental, social and economic components of the forest. An innovative response was developed, called the ‘Canadian Model Forest Program’.

Model Forests were first established throughout Canada. This was initiated by the Canadian Forest Service of the Government of Canada. Model Forests bring together diverse interests and perspectives. They act as a neutral place to facilitate the discussion of issues. Model Forests were also set up as experimental sites. It was a place for new forest practices be to developed and demonstrated. Model Forests work to create a sense of empowerment by engaging Canadians in their own land use decision-making. They are called a ‘model’ from which others can learn and advance their sustainability goals. In 1992, a competition was held that resulted in the establishment of 10 Model Forests nationally, with an additional Model Forest added in 1997.

Also in 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro was held. At this time, the international Model Forest program was announced by Canada’s prime minister. He offered an invitation for other countries to join Canada in establishing Model Forests. With its positive response and impacts, today there are over 55 Model Forests in more than 20 countries.

By 2007, Model Forests in Canada had confidence in their work and future. They voted to privatize the ‘Canadian Model Forest Network’ (CMFN) as a fully functioning, not-for-profit corporation. The CMFN established a Board of Directors for self‐governance. The CMFN and a subset of Model Forest organizations received funding from the newly established Forest Communities Program of Natural Resources Canada from 2007 to 2014.

International Model Forest Network

For more than 20 years, the International Model Forest Network (IMFN) has been implementing a participatory, landscape-level approach to the sustainable management of natural resources. The Model Forest approach offers an effective and flexible process that creates broad partnerships and represents the environmental, social and economic forces at play on the landscape.

The IMFN includes more than 60 large scale landscapes in six regional networks covering 84 million hectares in 31 countries.

Within the IMFN, regional Model Forest networks were created to more effectively define, articulate and manage regional programs of work by those who know the area best. Current regional networks include:

  1. African Model Forest Network
  2. Baltic Landscape Network (Northern Europe and Russia)
  3. Canadian Model Forest Network
  4. Ibero-American Model Forest Network
  5. Mediterranean Model Forest Network
  6. Regional Model Forest Network, Asia


Additional Resources


Situation of Kyrgyzstan (Karaalma Model Forest Farm)

Regional Model Forest Network, Asia covers China, India, Japan and some other countries.

Baltic Landscape Network (Northern Europe and Russia) covers Baltic Countries and Russia


So it seems there is a need to develop a regional network for Central Asian Countries.

In this context, Bioversity International (IPGRI), Bioversity – CWANA Sub – regional office for Central Asia, together with “FAO Subregional Office for Central Asia” can play a leading role.



The History of Turkish Model Forests- Mediterranean Model Forest Network

Turkey can be considered of a Mediterranean Country because of its geography. With regard to FAO, it is a part of FAO Subregional Office for Central Asia. (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan)

It is a member of European Forestry Commission- and  Near East Forestry and Range Commission It is also a member of Committee on Mediterranean Forestry Questions Silva Mediterranea which I have been serving as the Chair since 2012.


My involvement to Model Forest goes back to 2007. When I started to work  as The Deputy Director General of General Directorate of Forestry  my colleagues from Department of Forest Management  and Planning came to me to explain the model forest concept and they said they would like to be a member of Mediterranean Model Forest Network-

It was very new idea for us. So we searched the subject in detail with my colleagues and my superiors like Mustafa Yurdaer, Ali Temerit, Ayhan Çağatay, Rüstem Kırış, Dr. Mahir Küçük, Osman Kahveci, Miguel SegurPilar ValbuenaRiccardo Castellini.

Then we submit our proposal for being  a member of MMFN to HE Minister and he approved at the date of  3rd of March, 2008.

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The text which I wrote was saying:

  • The model forestry concept has been developed by the Canadian foresters in order to support the sustainable forest management and was approved of the countries during the The XII World Forestry Congress, held from 21 to 28 September 2003 in Québec, Canada. . They also established the IMFN.
  • As a part of this international network, the forestry department of Castile and León of Spain initiated a regional network as Mediterranean Model Forest Network and with an official letter they invited us to be member. So far three workshops  have been organized to discuss.
  • This regional initiative has been supported by FAO, IMFN, European Commission and some other countries.
  • The approaches accepted by this initiative is very relevant to Turkish legislation and implementations especially  it is fully compliant with the “Forest Management Directive” saying “The General Directorate of Forestry shall apply and prepare the forest management plans in order to improve new models, to evaluate their implementations to Turkey’s conditions, to follow recent technologies and approach…”

After this approval, we participated to IMFN Global Forum 2008.

More than 150 delegates from 31 countries attended the International Model Forest Network (IMFN) Global Forum in Hinton, Canada, from June 16-20, 2008. During this Forum Turkey’s intention to be a member of MMFN has been declared officially.

When we came back we started to work on Yalova Model Forest. Finally, with a signing ceremony, was held 16-17 February,2011,  Yalova Model Forest Officially  Declared as a member of MMFN.

At the same year, 2011, The Ministries of Turkey reorganized and the duties and responsibilities have been redefined. With this new arrangement, the model forest theme has been given to the duty and authority area of the General Directorate of Forestry.

It says: (Code No: 32 34/2/ç) The General Directorate of Forestry is responsible “Designation, protection and operation of the recreation forests, urban forests, research forests, tree parks (arboretum) areas, forest biodiversity conservation areas, model forests and conservation forest areas. (Published at the Turkish Official Gazette at the date of4 July 2011)  (At that time personally I was responsible to write this Code on behalf of the Ministry)

With this amendment the legal process needed by the Parliament has been completed but it was necessary to have a secondary regulation and notification in order to entry into force (I left from GDF  at Augost, 2011  ) So therefore, despite all these studies, the model forest issue has not yet been a part of Turkish legislation as of 6th of November, 2016.

There are no clear rules accepted by national authorities, officials, courts.

But the implementations are going on at the field with the line of internationally accepted model forest rules.

Model Forest Practices in Turkey

  1. Yalova Model Forest- A member of MMFN
  2. Bucak Model Forest- A candidate of MMFN


Yalova Model Forest –

Yalova Model Forest has been Officially  Declared as a member of MMFN in 2011. Because lack of clear and regulatory official legislation, an association namely “Association of Yalova Model Forest” established to manage it. The association’s charter is approved by the Governor’s Office in the framework of the relevant association law. On this count, it has an official identity. The membership of IMFN and MMFN was clearly indicated in the Charter.


However, any activity that has not been included in the Forest Code is impossible to do.

There are several working groups as follows; Beekeeping, Mushroom, Wild Fruits, Renewable Energy, Rural Recreation and Tourism, Biomass and Sustainable Wood Production.

During my preparation for this workshop I talked with the relevant people by phone. (06.11. 2016). They expressed that, there have been some wonderful projects but Lack of Regulatory legislation and poor enabling environment adopted by all stakeholders remain still the main problem. Sometimes conflicts between the Directorate of Forest (GDF) and the Association have been occurring and this badly affects the implementations.

Bucak Model Forest

Bucak Model Forest-

The Second candidate was Bucak Model Forest which was officially announced during MedForum 2014 

For video:

They followed the same way what Yalova did by establishing an NGO but the President of the NGO is the Director of Forest District!


Lessons Learned From Turkey’s Model Forest Experiences

As a country like Turkey which the State has and operates all the forests, the first thing to do is preparing the necessary legislations and ensure the enabling environment. But in order to start this, you need to consider and accept this process as “requirement”. We are following the right road by speaking the people, by doing the things with them and by starting with baby foot.

From Ayhan Çağatay-the Former Division Director Responsible for Model Forest



Mr. Ayhan Çağatay was responsible for model forest from the early beginning. He also served as Head of Department of Biological Diversity. He wanted to include his comments as of 7th of November, 2016.

“We started the international model forest network project In 2007. We have integrated Yalova Model Forest to the Mediterranean Model Forest network, which we have meticulously selected this area. We have introduced the concept of governance in this project. We tried to make a structure covering all the institutions and local people. As a result, we have gathered institutions and NGOs (Muhtars, Forest Cooperatives, association of beekeepers, etc.) that have the right to decide in the management of the area under an association established in Yalova. We have prepared strategic plan for Yalova Model Forest and they have worked in depend on this plan. In this context, we want to successfully disseminate the models in the country.

There are some key NGO’s in Yalova. İf I explain some of NGO’s Especially Yalova city association that they would like to have good relation to develop between nature and city. Association of beekeepers is expecting to increase of honey production through the Project. At the same time farmers are expecting to increase of organic agriculture in this area. They would like to improve ecotourism approach. Forester makes an effort to produce of non-wood forest product.
Our other goal is to share accurate examples of the work carried out within the Model Forest Network among countries. In addition, all the experts working in the model forest areas are affected from each other and their experience is increased.”


Atatürk Forest Farm and Zoo

Apart from Model Forest experiences Turkey has another forest farm and zoo established by Atatürk.

Atatürk Forest Farm and Zoo (TurkishAtatürk Orman Çiftliği ve Hayvanat Bahçesi, in short AOÇ) is an expansive recreational farming area, which houses a zoo, several small agricultural farms, greenhouses, restaurants, a dairy farm and a brewery in AnkaraTurkey. The farm and the zoo are under the administration of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock.

It has a special law approved by the Parliament before 1950s.


Final Words

  • Model Forest approach and concept is very relevant to sustainable forest management.
  • There is very strong link between the Model Forest and The Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism (FLRM)
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and International Model Forest Network (IMFN) Secretariat have agreed to strengthen cooperation to realize shared goals around innovative approaches to sustainable forest management and conservation including shared governance of natural resources between all stakeholders at the landscape level. (July 20, 20016)
  • I was one of the key note speaker of the side event namely “Forest and Landscape Restoration regional initiatives: toward the regionalization of the Bonn Challenge” was held 20 July, 2016 at Rome.
  • Turkey has fairly good experiences on model forest and it hosts the FAO Sub Regional Office for Central Asia.(FAOSEC). Turkey and FAO signed an agreement to support forestry projects with a 10 million USD in this sub region. This partnership agreement will be operational starting from 2017.
  • FAOSEC, Bioversity International  can organize a project on model forest for Central Asian Countries. This region needs different perspectives.


My Possible Personal Contribution

  • I am not able to say something on behalf of Turkish Forestry Service. I am only able to share my experiences and thoughts.
  • Apart from national experiences, I attended  to The International Seminar on Forest Landscape Restoration, held in Oregon, April 29 – May 20, 2016
  • I was one of the key note speaker of the side event namely “Forest and Landscape Restoration regional initiatives: toward the regionalization of the Bonn Challenge” was held 20 July, 2016 at Rome.
  • Youtube on Landscape approach
  • As the Chair of Mediterranean Forestry Questions I am ready to support any kind of initiative for Central Asia.
  • Apart from FAO, Turkey and states, I have been serving as the Chair of an NGO namely “CAring for FUture”
  • This year, at 1st of June, we established a platform namely “PLANFOR-The Platform of the Associations of Nature and Forestry” with nine NGO from Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania.
  • The establishment of the Platform and the signing ceremony of the cooperation agreement was held on June 1, 2016 Wednesday at 2:00 pm at Sarajevo University Faculty of Forestry ( This platform is open to new partners.


Greetings Again to My Friends from Kyrgyzstan


Panfilov 2014

Panfilov 2014

Bişkek 2015

Bişkek 2015

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As the final sentence, model forest approach requires to introduce and adapt multiple cultures, people and landscapes. A warm welcome ceremony from Nigerian children:


Thanks to

During this workshop I had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Aitkul Burhanov, the Director General  of Kyrgyz Association of Forest and Land Users.

The Kyrgyz Association of Forest and Land Users (KAFLU) was organized in 2010 by the initiative of legal entities, farmers, forest users, entrepreneurs and social organizations from different regions of the Kyrgyz Republic.
The main objective of the KAFLU, is promote conditions to develop the sustainable use of natural resources and the business activity in the forestry and agricultural sectors.
For the achievement of main objective, KAFLU unites more than 8000 members throughout the country and has a stable base (land, buildings, machinery, equipment, etc) worth of which, is $700 000 USD. It has its own registered newspaper “Asyl Jer press” and its own trade mark «Silk Road Taste», «Silk Road Herbs». Basically, the whole infrastructure was created with the support of Norwegian Forestry Group (NFG), which was the main partner of KAFLU contributing to the strengthening of the organization potential, since the beginning of KAFLU formation until the end of 2015.
Association is successfully working with international, national and local partners. On the basis of the memorandum is working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture of the Kyrgyz Republic, the State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry, the State Registration Service of the Kyrgyz Republic, the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Kyrgyz National Agrarian University named after K. Scriabin and others. KAFLU is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Kyrgyz Republic, Central Asian Mountain Partnership under FAO, member of the NGO GEF, ILC network.
Besides, KAFLU successfully cooperates with the representatives in Kyrgyz Republic of FAO, WFP, GIZ, JICA, WB, and other international organizations.
Having a substantial base, the Association has a good potential to develop, and also has the opportunity to introduce innovative technologies, which are will contribute to create new workplaces and mitigation of poverty.
KAFLU priorities according to the charter are:
• Ensuring the conservation and development of forest, land and other natural resources, equal access to them, concerted action in decision-making and the equitable distribution of benefits from the natural resources use;
• Representation, protection, lobbying for the rights and interests of KAFLU members in all state, private, public organizations and in representatives of international organizations in the Kyrgyz Republic and in other countries;
• Participation in development and implementation of local, national, regional and international projects and programs, evidence-based approaches, technologies and recommendations aimed at sustainable forest development and agricultural policies;
• Preservation and development of biological and cultural diversity of Republic;
• Introduction and development of the green economy principles and green growth in the Republic;
• Support and development of the organic movement in the production of environmentally friendly forest and agricultural products;
• Support and implementation of the principles of voluntary certification of enterprise management systems, as well as their products in the forestry and agricultural sectors;
• Development and strengthening of cooperation with KAFLU members, international and other local organizations;
• Creation of an effective mechanism to attract investment, coordination, allocation of financial resources, effectively monitoring and control of that resources use;
• Organization of vocational trainings in forestry and agricultural sectors, as well as the organization of conferences, “round tables”, seminars and other activities

For its brochure: Association_Paper_ Brochure_For_ Donors (1)

Letters for Future