Explaining that he graduated from Ankara University Biology Department in 1973 and started working as an assistant at the same university right after his graduation, Vural stated that he has been living a life intertwined with plants for 48 years.
Pointing out that he has been working on Turkey’s endemic plants and plants that need to be protected in the last 25 years of his academic life, Vural said, “I started my first study of plants that need to be protected, with the Love Flower plant in Gölbaşı, which we know as ‘iridescent’. Now it is under the protection of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization. He bought the Flower of Love. He still follows them, and I support them.” said.
“Many of these species are on the Ayaş-Beypazarı-Nallıhan route and in its vicinity”
“Approximately 2,200 natural plant species live in Ankara. In the past, this number was higher. When subspecies and varieties are added, this number approaches 2,400. 400 of them are endemic. 90 of these endemic plants are endangered. Many of them grow in the steppes. These endemic plants have different protection status. There are 25 species that need to be protected with priority, we call them ‘grave species’. About 35 endangered ones. And 30 ‘vulnerable’ species…
We are working selflessly with the Ankara Provincial Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks to protect 25 species in grave condition (CR category) that may disappear in the near future if urgent measures are not taken. Many of these species are located on the Ayaş-Beypazarı-Nallıhan route and its immediate surroundings.
“7 plants were surrounded by wire mesh as an emergency measure”
Stating that there are many plants in the gypsum, calcareous and clayey soils of Aysantibeli, Vural said that among the plants he is working on and struggling to protect, Turkish rock rose (Aethionema turcica), Ayaş bellflower (Campanula dambolthiana), Yörük stonebag (Aethionema fumii), Ayaş kasidesi ( Scutellaria lightning), Yurtman (Astragalus panduratus), Ayas silver, lady tea (Sideritis gulendamii), purple clover (Crepis purpurea).
Noting that with the support of the General Directorate of National Parks and local administrators, information boards have been placed in Ankara where 14 plants are in danger of extinction, Vural said that 7 of them were surrounded by wire mesh as an emergency measure.
Indicating that Ayaş Aysantibeli is an important area that needs to be protected, especially with its white soil steppes and endemic species, Vural stated that they need the support of the local people so that the effort to protect 8 endangered plants in Aysantibeli is not wasted.
Mecit Vural emphasized that in order to leave something to future generations, it is important to introduce, protect and embrace these plants with on-site training activities.
“We just want these creatures to live”
prof. Dr. Vural stated that one of the rarest species of Ayaş is the “Türkkaya rose” and that this plant was introduced to the new scientific world and that they followed the development of the plant and continued his words as follows:
“Currently, it is in good condition because it is protected. The destruction and pressure on the plants is high, of course. It is the same for every plant. The most important reason for the destruction of endemic plants is human-induced. Our needs for natural resources are increasing. Since we do not handle the work consciously, the use of the areas is a bit out of control. “Habitat fragmentation is the biggest factor. There are many reasons, from the narrowing of the habitats of natural plants, from road widening to industrialization activities, from uncontrolled plowing of pastures to agricultural areas.”
Pointing out that the Türkkaya rose, which blooms in pink in May and is among the most important endemic plants of the capital Ankara, is on the verge of extinction due to unconscious plowing of agricultural areas, Vural said that they had to surround the plant with wire fences to protect it.
Vural said, “They ask us: ‘What is this plant good for?’ “We only want these creatures to live. Future research will reveal the features that can benefit from these plants. We do not want these plants to disappear from nature. They live in a very narrow space.” said.
Ayaş Çançiçek shows the line up to Kazan
Emphasizing that Ayaş bellflower is also in danger and a species action plan has been made, Vural said that the flower is distributed on the line up to Kazan district of Ankara.
Explaining that the ripe fruits of these endemic plants were seen in July and they shed their seeds, Vural noted that they are working to raise awareness of local governments and schools.
“It is not right to randomly collect endemic plants from the area”
Stating that they observe whether there is a change between the populations every year by making censuses and also examine whether the pressure on the species is increasing, Vural said:
“I serve for the world’s creatures. I do not want these plants to be wiped out from the face of the earth. After I retired, I became vigorous thanks to plants. I have been working harder for 6 years. Every day I go to the regions where the plants are found. I visit institutions one by one. The hills of Ayaş you see are one or two centuries ago. It was a forest. It has been turned into steppes from degraded oak forests. Steppes can also be divided and fragmented for various purposes now. Construction activities are destroying the habitats of species. Many plants that need to be protected are disappearing from their life associations. The relationship between animals and insects should not be broken. Ankara is a very ideal place for beekeeping. area. The creatures living here also increase the productivity of our orchards. It is not right to collect endemic plants from random areas.”
Pointing out that Turkey is much better at protecting the endemic plant than it used to be, Vural added that the works are continuing rapidly and that inter-institutional relations should be strengthened for this continuity.