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Ecological land classification and mapping of Yazili Canyon Nature Park in the Mediterranean region, Turkey/Ekologinis Turkijos vidurzemio juros regiono Yazili Kanjono Gamtinio Parko zemiu klasifikavimas ir kartografavimas.

1. Introduction

In the Mediterranean region of Turkey, two region units have been recognized on the largest scale: the Main Zone under the typical Mediterranean climatic conditions, and the Transition Zone under the impact of a climate prevailing between the Mediterranean and continental climate conditions. These units were subdivided into regional subgroups, i.e. the sub-regional group open to the sea impacts, interior sub-regional group, the Lake District's sub-regional group, and the regional subgroup close to humid and warm air masses coming from the Mediterranean Sea. The vertical distance from the Mediterranean Sea, altitude, aspect, landform characteristics and directions of the mountainous masses by the site of the Mediterranean Sea are the influential factors on distinction of the regional subgroups (Kantarci 1991; Fontaine et al. 2007; Ozkan et al. 2009).

The Lake District's sub-regional group (LDSG) is located in the transition zone of the Mediterranean region. LDSG covers about 40% of the Mediterranean mountain forests mainly composed of Pinus brutia Ten., Pinus nigra Arnold supsp. pallasiana (Lamb.), Juniperus spp. and Quercus spp. (Fontaine et al. 2007; Ozkan, Kantarci 2008). LDSG also has a rich plant diversity including relic and endemic species. That is the reason there are important natural reserve areas in this sub-regional group (Fakir 2006). One of them is the Yazili Canyon Nature Park.

The Yazili Canyon Nature Richardson 2005). St. Paul Trail passes from the Yazili Canyon as well. Besides, there are various inscriptions on the rocky faces of the Canyon (Demirpolat 2004). That is another reason, the park is important from the historical point of view.

This study was carried out to produce a hierarchical site map of the nature park including geographical information from the ecological point of view, intended for provision of fundamental information in the context of forest management and application, such as restoration, conservation, sustainability and recreation in addition to taking measures against projected climatic change.

2. Material and method

2.1. Site description

The Yazili Canyon Nature Park in Sutculer township of Isparta province from the Mediterranean region, lies between 37[degrees] 27' 22" N-37[degrees] 29' 37" N latitude and 30[degrees] 54' 16" E-30[degrees] 58' 26" E longitude. It covers the area of around 600 ha. The nature park is located at a distance of 70 km from Isparta, 120 km from Antalya, the most important touristic city of Turkey.

The Yazili Canyon Nature Park is bounded by Mahmutca Hill on the north, Yukariduzcali Hill on the north-west, by Bucakli Hill on the east, Erdasi Hill on the south, and Karacaoren Lake on the south-west I (Fig. 1).


The climate of the area was reviewed using data from the Meteorology Station in Sutculer (DMIGM 2006). The meteorological data were obtained for the years 1975 to 1993 and average annual rainfall in the district was 950.1 mm. The most arid and hottest months were July and August; with the average temperature of 23.3[degrees]C. Annual average temperature was 13.1[degrees]C. The average relative humidity was 54 percent. The minimum relative humidity was 43 present and occurred in August while the maximum was recorded during December with 66 percent. Heavy rain occurred in November, December, January, and February, while the dry period extended from the beginning June until the end of October. The typical climate of the Mediterranean predominates, characterized by hot and dry summers, and rainy winters in the district. Water deficit was registered for about 4.5 months in a year according to Thornthwaite method as shown in Fig. 2 (Gulsoy 2006).


The Yazili Canyon, a deeply cut valley, consists of coarse limestone from the Cretaceous period (JEO-TEK and UTTA 2006). Altitudinal difference of the Canyon between the base and the ceiling ranges from 100 m to 400 m.

Negative sloping places developed by water and plants on the wall of the canyon are remarkable. Additionally, conglomerate appears in the northern lower slope of the park. The land surface is characterized by irregular topography. There is only one stream that springs out of Sutculer's environs and joins the Aksu River in the Nature Park and the stream flows during all seasons. On other hand, the Yazili stream is uninterrupted unlike typical streams in karstic areas. The length of the stream is about 10.4 km along the park. The soils derived from limestone ranges from very shallow to middle depth. The soil on the surface of limestone is slightly undulating with levelled or bedded surfaces and weak zones on the rugged and inclined surfaces. For this reason, although soil does not develop on the inclined surface of karstic terrains, it forms a weak zone of the lime stone. Hence, the soil is well drained. There are three soil types that are found through the Nature Park. These are: brown forest soil, reddish-brown Mediterranean soil and reddish Mediterranean soil. The remaining area is occupied by colluvial deposits, rocky and rubble material (Ozkan, Suel 2009).

2.2. Data set

For selection of sample plots, digital topographic map of the study area was prepared first of all. Aspect groups, slope-degree group and altitude groups were prepared. The study area was observed. Locations of sample plots in the study area were determined on the basis of this knowledge. 107 sample plots (20*20 m) were selected in the Nature Park (Fig. 3) and 183 species were determined. In other words, the matrix consists of 107*183 cells.


Two-by-two divisions at each step were preferred for both floristic and environmental data. The reason for two-by-two divisions of floristic data resulted from possession of equal distance similarity values of the two parts. However generally, divisions by more than two are not the same similar values. In other worlds, one of the groups is more similar than the other. In this situation, the groups that are not at equal distances in terms of floristics are problematic to investigate in respect of environmental characteristics.

2.3. Data analysis

Analytic procedure was applied, following the methods respectively:

1. Vegetation matrix was subdivided into 2 groups by using TWINSPAN by means of presence-absence data.

2. TWINSPAN groups were accepted as a classification variable (CV). Sample plots belonging to TWINSPAN groups (CV) were marked with different colours on the map and discriminators (the most important environmental variables affecting the distribution of vegetation) were evaluated according to spatial distribution of the sample plots.

3. After assessment according to them, the border was drawn and the Yazili Canyon Nature Park was divided into two sites.

4. Sample plots belonging to the two sites of the Nature Park and CV were related to each other by using chi-square test in order to find a significant result at the level of 5% at least. For sites to be accepted, the result of the test had to be less than 5%.

5. After this step (confirmation of the sites) was completed at each site, in order to divide sites into smaller portions, the same procedure were repeated until it was impossible to apply analytic methods because of the decreasing number of sample plots.

6. After finishing the site classification and mapping of the Nature Park, interspecific correlation analysis was applied in order to determine the indicator species of the sites. Thus, characteristic species could be defined and differentiations between the sites could be clarified.

7. In conclusion, site classification and mapping were produced.

TWINSPAN was performed from being originally devised by Hill (Hill 1973). Interspecific correlation analysis was applied according to exact method of Fisher like Cole's preference by using SPSS (Cole 1949).

3. Result and discussions

18 sample plots in Group I and 89 sample plots in group II of 107 sample plots in total taken in the study area were located at the first separation level of the first TWINSPAN (Table 1).

The sample plots were marked in different colours according to their groups on the topographic map of the canyon. It was realized that most of the sample plots of group I were located in immediate environs of the river bank. Therefore, the first separation was done according to the river bank and the other part of the Canyon. In other words, the border was drawn between the river bank site and the other part of the Canyon (Fig. 4).

Thus, after drawing the border, the new groups were determined. Namely, 21 sample plots were identified in the Site A represented Group I and remnant 86 sample plots--in the Site B represented Group II (Table 2).


Chi-square test was applied for TWINSPAN groups and determined groups in order to understand the validity of the map units and the result of the test was significantly at the level of 1% ([chi square] = 21.448) (Table 3). Thus, the first mapping stage was performed successfully.

The same processes were applied to the other separation (Tables 1-3), and the ecological units of the Nature Park were obtained and illustrated in Fig. 5.

Interspecific correlation analysis results for determination of the indicator species of the sites was given in Table 4 as well.

Site unit A is a narrow zone, a stream bank site on the valley bottom including interrupted and uninterrupted streams. The site unit is strongly positively associated with the species Alnus orientalis var. pubercens, Cephalanthera rubra, Hedera helix, Mentha spicata var. spicata, Nerium oleander and Platanus orientalis. Pistacia terebinthus is negatively associated with the site (Table 4). Humid climatic conditions prevail in the unit during all of the seasons. The stream maintains the humid climate throughout its bank. The unit is characterized by the absence of soil or little soil, dramatically changing slope degree, big limestone rocks and rough surface because of the rocks or parent material.

Site unit B.C is located in the north-east of the park (Fig. 5). Thermal Mediterranean climate is dominant with shortage of water in the soil during summer period in the unit. The unit can also receive winds coming from the north. Hence, in comparison with other site units, Unit B.C is a little cooler. The unit was subjected to the individual selection and overgrazing. However, goat grazing and individual selection has not taken place for a couple of years. The unit is strongly positively associated with Juniperus oxycedrus, Sideritis pisidica, Junglans regia (human factor) and Verbascum spp. (also accepted as indicator species of grazing). Quercus coccifera is common in the unit. However, the species isn't an indicator species of Unit B.C. because it appears all over the park. Negative indicator species of the site are Dapne gnidioides and Origanum onites (Table 4).

Site unit B.D.E is located in the middle zone of E-W direction in the north of the park. The unit is under the impact of humid air masses coming from the Mediterranean Sea via the Kovada Channel. The air masses pass from the Canyon valley and affect the unit. Calicotome villosa, Campanula delicatula, Cynoglossum creticum, Knautia inteprifolia var. bidens, Satureja thymbra, Tordylium apulum, Trifolium campestre are strongly related to the unit. In general, these plants in addition to other shrub and herb species appear on stepped and rugged places as well as open and semi-open Pinus brutia stands with normal canopy covers. In other words, because of cracked bedrock and in semi-open Pinus brutia stands plant diversity in the rough-surface places is richer than in normal canopy covers.

Site unit B.D.F.H including 3 fragments lies from the east to the west in the north of the Park. The site is partly closed to the air masses coming from the south and can receive air masses coming from the north. The site is therefore probably a little cooler compared to other sites except for Unit B.C. Arbutus unedo, Jasminum fruticans, Micromeria myrtifolia and Olea europaea var. sylvestris are positively associated with the unit. Quercus infectoria is a negative indicator species of the site.

Site unit B.D.F.G.K is located on the middle and upper mountainous area in the south of the park (Fig. 5). Cephalanthera rubra, Gladiolus italicus, Ornithogalum armeniacum, Quercus infectoria, Silene aegyptiaca subsp. aegyptiaca, Quercus infectoria and Thalictrum orientale are positive indicators whereas Platanus orientalis and Limodorum abortivum are negative indicators in the unit.

Site unit B.D.F.G.L lies between site unit A and site unit B.D.F.G.K (Fig. 5). The unit is located on the lower slopes of the deep and narrow valley. Therefore, humid climatic conditions prevail in the unit. Cercis siliquastrum and Stachys antalyensis are strongly associated with the unit. The most productive Pinus brutia stands appear in the site. At the same time, rich plant diversity has attracted attention (Fig. 5).

4. Conclusion

The river bank (Unit A) is the first land discriminator of the Canyon. In fact, immediate environs of the river bank are considerably different from the other part of the Canyon because of the local climatic conditions in favour of humidity (moisture) originated from the Yazili river. Characteristic plants of this site are Alnus orientalis var. pubercens and Platanus orientalis, which is a typical river bank vegetation (Fakir 2006).

The positional situation of Unit BC and Unit BD portrays climatic differences between them. The differences of these units probably originated from the relative differences of the north and south climatic impacts between them. Because the location of the units are a good indicator for understanding of the climatic differences between them. Namely, Unit BC is located in the northeast of the park, whilst Unit BD is on the opposite site. This is why Unit BD can receive more humid and warm air masses coming from the Mediterranean Sea along the Kovada Channel compared to unit BC. It must be pointed out that the Kovada Channel is profoundly important for classification of forest sites in the Lake Districts. Kantarci (1991) reported that the Kovada channel is strongly related with ecological land classification of the Egridir Watershed and Pinus brutia is widespread in the Watershed because of the Kovada Channel. On the contrary, Pinus brutia disappears in the Beysehir Watershed. Because the Beysehir Watershed cannot effectively receive humid and warm air masses coming from the Mediterranean Sea unlike the Egridir Watershed (Ozkan, Kantarci 2008).


The other subunits could be defined due to local and micro climatic differences originated from the topographic variability of the canyon in the study. Presence and spatial distribution of local and micro climatic areas are also important for endemic plant diversity. The Canyon is rich not only in plant species diversity but also in endemic species diversity (Fakir 2006; Ozkan, Suel 2009). This richness is strongly related to landform characteristics (Ozkan, Suel 2009). Because of plant diversity, the diversity of bird and insect species is also considerably rich (Gundogdu et al. 2005).

Although the Canyon covers a small area, it includes many ecological sites because of the local and climatic differences between short distances in the Park. This situation enables rich plant, bird and insects diversities as well. Various studies (Vivian-Smith 1997; Lundholm, Larson 2003; Pausas et al. 2003; Dufour et al. 2006) have demonstrated that there are strong relations between environmental heterogeneity-living organism diversity. In the context of these literatures, the rich fauna and flora of the Canyon is probably explained with high environmental heterogeneity originated from the karstic and valley structure of the Nature Park. The Yazili Canyon Nature Park not only has rich flora and fauna but also historical (Inscriptions, St. Paul Trail, the legendary Persian Royal Road) and cultural (the people coming from foreign countries to pray in front of the inscriptions including the poem, and walking culture for especially tourists coming from foreign countries) values (Clow, Richardson 2005). Therefore, it can be thought that the status of the canyon could be changed to the natural park status.


We gratefully thank the Turkish Forest Administration Offices in Sutculer Township for granting access permission to the forest area and for providing forest inventory data, and administrative support. Also, we thank GEF project units in Isparta. Our special thanks go to Serkan GULSOY, Halil SUEL, Yunus ESER and M. Guvenc NEGIZ for their help during the field surveys.


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Kursad Ozkan (1), Ahmet Mert (2)

(1) Suleyman Demirel University, Faculty of Forestry, Department of Forest Engineering, Division of Soil Science and Ecology, 32260-Cunur, Isparta, Turkey

(2) Suleyman Demirel University, Faculty of Forestry, Department of Forest Engineering, Division of Forest Management, 32260-Cunur, Isparta, Turkey

E-mail: (1) (corresponding author)

Submitted 13 Jul. 2009; accepted 02 Apr. 2010

Kursad OZKAN. Dr, Assist. Prof. (since 2003), Suleyman Demirel University, Faculty of Forestry, Department of Forest Engineering. Division of Soil Science and Ecology. He gained his PhD in Soil Science and Ecology in 2003 at the Istanbul University (TR). Publications: author/co-author of over 50 scientific papers and chapters. Research interests: forest engineering, ecology, soil science, degradation, studies on nature conservation and protected area, environmental studies.

Ahmet MERT. Forest Engineer, Suleyman Demirel University, Faculty of Forestry, Department of Forest Engineering. Division of Forest Management. He gained his MS on remote sensing systems about forest management in 2006 at the Suleyman Demirel University. He is continuing with Ph.D. Publications: author/co-author of over 10 scientific papers and chapters. Research interests: forest engineering, remote sensing, forest management, environmental studies.
Table 1. Outputs of TWINSPAN

Division levels    Number of    Groups   Sample plots

First division         I          I      25, 26, 70, 72, 76, 78,
                                         89-91, 93, 94, 97-100,
                                         103, 105-107

Yazili Canyon                     II     1-24, 27-69, 71, 73-75,
                                         77, 79-88, 92, 95, 96,
                                         101, 102, 104.

Second division        II         I      70, 72, 76, 78, 79, 82,
in Site B                                83, 90, 91, 93, 94 1-24,
                                  II     33-13, 46-69, 71, 73,-75,
                                         77, 80, 81, 84-88, 92, 96,
                                         101, 102

Third division        III         I      20, 21, 33, 34, 36-13, 54
in Site B.D
                                  II     1-19, 22-24, 35, 46-53,
                                         55-69, 71, 74, 75, 77, 81,
                                         84-88, 96, 101, 102

Fourth division        IV         I      20, 21, 52-55, 57, 59, 64,
in Site B.D.F                            65, 67, 68, 69, 71, 74,
                                  II     75, 81, 87, 88 1-19,
                                         22-24, 46-51, 56, 58,
                                         60-63, 66, 77, 84-86, 96,
                                         101, 102

Fifth division         V          I      1-8, 10, 14, 16-22, 24, 62
in Site B.D.F.G
                                  II     9, 11-13, 15, 23, 46-51,
                                         61, 63, 96, 101, 102

Table 2. Determined groups of sample plots (mapping units)

Division level    Determined groups         Sample plots

First division    Site A Map unit           25-32, 44, 45, 89, 95,
                                            97-100, 103-107

                  Site B                    1-24, 33-13, 46-88,
                                            90-94, 96, 101, 102

Second division   Site B.C Map unit         70, 72, 73, 76, 78-80,
B                                           82, 83, 90-94.

                  Site B.D                  1-24, 33-43, 46-69, 71,
                                            74, 75, 77, 81, 84-88,
                                            96, 101, 102

Third division    Site B.D.E Map unit       33-43
                  Site B.D.F                1-24, 46-69, 71, 74,
                                            75, 77, 81, 84-88, 96,
                                            101, 102

Fourth division   Site B.D.F. H Map unit    52-60, 64-69, 71, 74,
B.D.F                                       75, 77, 81, 84-88

                  Site B.D.F.G              1-24, 46-51, 61-63, 96,
                                            101, 102

Fifth division    Site B.D.F.G.K Map unit   3-12, 14-24
                  B.D.F.G.L Map unit        1, 2, 13, 46-51, 61-63,
                                            96, 101, 102

Table 3. Outputs of chi-square tests in TWINSPAN groups and
determined groups

Attempt           TWINSPAN   Confirmed groups   Chi-     Sig. level
                  groups                        square   (validity)

First division    I.I        Site A MAPUNiT     21.448   0.000

                  I.II       Site B

Second division   II.I       Site B.C MAPUNiT   64.869   0.000

                  II.II      Site B.D

Third division    III.I      Site B.D.E         46.576   0.000

                  III.II     Site B.D.F

Fourth division   IV.I       Site B.D.F.H       26.826   0.000

                  IV.II      Site B.D.F.G

Fifth division    V.I        Site B.D.F.G.K     14.863   0.000

                  V.II       Site B.D.F.G.L
                             (the stop point)

Table 4. Indicator species of the sites based on interspecific
correlation analysis

Site Units   Species                                 Direction of

A            Alnus orientalis var.pubercens               +
             Cephalanthera rubra                          +
             Hedera helix                                 +
             Mentha spicata var. spicata                  +
             Nerium oleander                              +
             Pistacia terebinthus                         -
             Platanus orientalis                          +

B.C          Dapne gnidioides                             -
             Junglans Regia                               +
             Juniperus oxycedrus                          +
             Origanum onites                              -
             Sideritis pisidica                           +
             Verbascum spp.                               +

B.D.E        Calicotome villosa                           +
             Campanula delicatula                         +
             Cynoglossum creticum                         +
             Knautia inteprifolia var. bidens             +
             Satureja thymbra                             +
             Tordylium apulum                             +
             Trifolium campestre                          +

B.D.F.H      Arbutus unedo                                +
             Jasminum fruticans                           +
             Micromeria myrtifolia                        +
             Olea europaea var. sylvestris                +
             Quercus infectoria                           -

B.D.F.G.K    Cephalanthera rubra                          +
             Gladiolus italicus                           +
             Limodorum abortivum                          -
             Ornithogalum armeniacum                      +
             Platanus orientalis                          -
             Quercus infectoria                           +
             Silene aegyptiaca subsp. aegyptiaca          +
             Thalictrum orientale                         +

B.D.F.G.L    Cercis siliquastrum                          +
             Stachys antalyensis                          +

Site Units   Species                                  Chi-    Sig.
                                                     square   level

A            Alnus orientalis var.pubercens          36.570   0.000
             Cephalanthera rubra                     16.355   0.000
             Hedera helix                            12.120   0.000
             Mentha spicata var. spicata             12.742   0.000
             Nerium oleander                         19.998   0.000
             Pistacia terebinthus                    14.770   0.000
             Platanus orientalis                     45.589   0.000

B.C          Dapne gnidioides                        17.725   0.000
             Junglans Regia                          13.539   0.000
             Juniperus oxycedrus                     30.551   0.000
             Origanum onites                         20.782   0.000
             Sideritis pisidica                      14.008   0.000
             Verbascum spp.                          12.112   0.001

B.D.E        Calicotome villosa                      17.787   0.000
             Campanula delicatula                    43.103   0.000
             Cynoglossum creticum                    18.868   0.000
             Knautia inteprifolia var. bidens        30.450   0.000
             Satureja thymbra                        75.460   0.000
             Tordylium apulum                        20.427   0.000
             Trifolium campestre                     14.058   0.000

B.D.F.H      Arbutus unedo                           10.124   0.001
             Jasminum fruticans                      12.524   0.000
             Micromeria myrtifolia                   17.204   0.000
             Olea europaea var. sylvestris           10.235   0.001
             Quercus infectoria                      10.471   0.001

B.D.F.G.K    Cephalanthera rubra                     18.028   0.000
             Gladiolus italicus                      12.640   0.000
             Limodorum abortivum                     14.221   0.000
             Ornithogalum armeniacum                 12.742   0.000
             Platanus orientalis                     8.387    0.004
             Quercus infectoria                      20.087   0.000
             Silene aegyptiaca subsp. aegyptiaca     34.775   0.000
             Thalictrum orientale                    18.960   0.000

B.D.F.G.L    Cercis siliquastrum                     24.473   0.000
             Stachys antalyensis                     10.052   0.002
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Author:Ozkan, Kursad; Mert, Ahmet
Publication:Journal of Environmental Engineering and Landscape Management
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:7TURK
Date:Dec 1, 2011
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