Farms in Turkey’s Taurus Mountains look like modern art
Rising just inland from South coast of Turkey, the Taurus Mountains are as beautiful as they are rugged. Even Alexander the Great found the chain formidable: he failed to conquer Termessos, a town nestled in the chain over 3,000 feet above sea level. Researchers have designated much of the area. region like “marginal” landscape for human habitation and productivity. It may therefore be surprising to learn that the mountainous area is one of the country’s agricultural strongholds.
Small, intergenerational farms, typically less than 12 acres, use the space the most in the flatter valleys of the highlands with long, narrow plots that when viewed from space look more like modern art than they do. to food production. Here, in addition to subsistence farming, locals cultivate a range of crops for export, from organic roses destined for the world’s major fragrance houses to hazelnuts and apricots you might find on the shelves of your local supermarket. The region also produces tons of apples, lentils, chickpeas and wheat each year.
Farmers typically rely on rain-based irrigation methods, which researchers say could become a problem in the future. As climate change alters precipitation patterns, many models suggest that the Taurus Mountains in general could become drier and more drought-prone. Already, many previously cultivated areas have been left fallow as some crops, especially wheat, become too expensive to be grown there.
To protect the local economy in the face of climate change, researchers are studying a range of potential solutions, such as converting farms to almond orchards, as discussed in a article published in Environmental Earth Sciences in May. The cost of turning narrow plots of land into orchards and maintaining water-hungry trees, however, can make the idea impractical. As farmers and scientists seek a way forward, the future of agriculture in the region – and what it will look like from afar – remains a question mark.