Started in 2004, the North Cyprus Friends of Karpaz Association is comprised of local residents and other interested parties who wish to protect the much coveted Karpaz region in North Cyprus. For many years now the area has been a valuable home to the traditional rural way of Cypriot life as well as the islands most ecologically diverse landscape. Friends of Karpaz will do its best to keep it just that way.
KEMA, or the Cyprus Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats, was formed by around 40 people under the leadership of Dr. Orhan Aydeniz in 2005, amidst growing concern about the deforestation and destruction of natural habitats throughout North Cyprus.
The foundation is involved with tackling sensitive issues such as inappropriate agricultural practices, confronting political decisions which they feel are detrimental to the environment, and preventing the destruction of natural resources – at all times reaffirming their belief that nature deserves a spokesperson.
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
The situation in recent years has become more and more serious, and in other related articles we will attempt to educate and inform people about this issue – which is not about to go away in the foreseeable future, as weather predictions show that more dry and hot weather is likely in the years to come.
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.
There are two and more recently even three (a summer season has been known) hunting seasons in North Cyprus, and at the time of writing the first seasons ran from late November through to late December, with hunting only allowed each Sunday. Normally running from October, the 2008 season has been shortened due to concerns about the lack of game available as a result of the recent long hot summers which have affected game breeding rates.
The National Park of North Cyprus is located on the Karpaz Peninsula and is an extremely important biologically diverse area, as well as being historically and archaeologically rich as well. You can find many birds within the National Park, as well as
rare flora and fauna and feral donkeys which are allowed to roam free.
The Karpaz National Park has
been recently designated as a Special Protected Area in line with EU regulations. Ecologically the area is home to more than 100 rare species of flora, and its beaches are also important nesting sites for the Loggerhead (Caretta Caretta) and Green Sea (Chelonia Mydas) turtles. Historically within the national park are a remains of the Kastros, the first human settlement on the island of Cyprus, have been found too. So you can clearly see just how significant and important a region of Cyprus the National park truly is.
The fire service in North Cyprus is fairly well equipped, and it has a fleet of modern fire fighting vehicles and equipment, with stations located in the cities and major towns. As a hot and dry Mediterranean country, North Cyprus has its fair share of dangers relating to summer fires – and visitors need to be aware of these. The fire service also has certain powers in relation to reporting and arresting offenders who are the cause of fires, and they also attend road traffic accidents where their cutting equipment may be required for example.
In June 1995 North Cyprus experienced its worst forest fire in living memory, it dominated the skyline between Lapta in the west and Beşparmak over to the east, destroying around 160 kilometres of forest and famous olive groves as well as property and shops. Towns and villages were evacuated, and emergency help was sought from the fire services, military, foreign bases and the UN; the fire was eventually tamed three days later. This destruction left mountains bereft of trees, and although they have been replanted over the years, it will take many more years to re-establish and restore North Cyprus to its previous beauty. No one was ever found to have been responsible for this atrocity.
The climate is described as “intense Mediterranean” in North Cyprus – this means that in general the island enjoys short mild and temperate winters and very long hot summers. Temperatures and rainfall vary depending on the elevation – naturally enough it can feel a lot cooler at the top of St Hilarion or Buffavento Castle than it does on the harbour in Kyrenia on the same summer’s day!
The summer can begin as early as March…though officially it doesn’t start until June, but by then temperatures are already in the 30s (around 86F). From June to September there is no rain, the days are long and hot, the evenings are balmy and relaxing – though the nights can sometimes be a little uncomfortable – a fan or an air-conditioning unit soon stifle the night-time heat and allow for restful sleep.
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and Northern Cyprus lies directly 70 km south of the Turkish mainland. Its neighbours include Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Greece. The Turkish Republic of North Cyprus makes up around one third of the island of Cyprus, and The Republic of Cyprus occupies the remaining two thirds to the south of the island. The total area of the entire island is approximately 9,252 sq km, and North Cyprus covers a total area of around 3,515 sq km.
Because of the island’s location at the maritime crossroads of the eastern Mediterranean basin and its proximity to the Middle East, Cyprus has always been an island of strategic importance, and throughout its 10,000 year known history the island has either profited or suffered depending on which external power bloc controlled it at the time.