Zakad, North Cyprus

Zakad, or the Olive Tree Protection and Research Association, was formed in 2003 by Cenk Soykut and other Turkish Cypriot friends, all of whom were concerned about the destruction of the ancient olive tree population in North Cyprus.  Due to the major rise in property construction, trees that had been growing for hundreds of years were being felled, making way for apartment blocks and houses.

For centuries the olive tree in Cyprus has been instrumental in the island’s fortunes with its fruit and the oil from it being major exports in the past for example.  Some olive trees are still harvested today, but only to provide olives and oil for the local markets.  And in the meantime, the population of trees has been severely reduced due to illegal felling and the olive tree’s use as one of the best woods for heating homes.It became a registered concern in North Cyprus in 2005, and

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Friends of SPOT, North Cyprus

SPOT, or the Society for the Protection of Turtles, is an organisation that has been involved in sea turtle monitoring and protection in North Cyprus since the late 1980s.  It was founded by the late Ian Bell and his wife Celia.  They asked for the help of the Marine Turtle Research Group in conjunction with the government to enable more research and conversation measures in 1992, and since that time yearly projects have been run during nesting seasons.

Many people will be familiar with the marine conversation efforts each year, with volunteer students from the UK arriving en masse to Alagadi Beach to help with the conservation all over North Cyprus.  They study and give the practical help needed to enable these wonderful sea creatures to emerge unscathed from their nests, and to reach the shoreline safely upon hatching so that they can hopefully live for many years, returning to North Cyprus to give birth to their own young in the future.  You can find out more about SPOT and their turtle watching scheme in our related article.

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BIO-DER, North Cyprus

BIO-DER, otherwise known as the Cyprus Turkish Biologists Environment Research and Protection Association, is an extremely passionate organisation aimed at bringing attention to environmental issues that should concern us all in North Cyprus.  Having been originally formed in 1999, they are now a potent force for all things environmental.

With support from the United Nations Development Programme and the US AID organisation, BIO-DER plays a very important role in bringing environmental issues to the table, both to the general public and the government – and they are vocal in their protestations about the destruction of the countryside and rural way of life in North Cyprus.

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