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Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats (TEMA)

The TEMA Foundation was founded in 1992 with the objectives;
• to increase awareness of environmental problems and engage in capacity building for their solution,
• to promote protection and establishment of national policies friendly of natural habitats and ecosystem conservation of water resources and vegetative cover of the soil, sustainable use of agricultural lands and rangelands,
• to develop models for action to combat soil erosion in impoverished rural areas of Turkey and inspire the implementation of similar models in other parts of the country,
• to establish the necessary organization and legislation with the support of volunteers.

Date of Establishment:

11-Sep, 1992

Purpose of Organization:

TEMA’s mission is to create effective and conscious public opinion on environmental problems, specifically soil erosion, deforestation, biodiversity loss and climate change:

• To prevent erosion, desertification, drought, pollution and the use of environmentally destructive agriculture techniques on the land;
• To combat national and international administrative, political and economical pressures concerning the destruction of natural habitats, and to create solutions toward overcoming these problems;
• To protect and increase the efficiency and sustainability of biological diversity, land, water and other natural resources;
• To ensure that policies concerning the protection of natural habitats are created by governments, that much needed legal regulations are made, and that international contracts are followed.


To fulfill its mission, TEMA operates at local, national and international level. It implements educational activities, organizes awareness raising events and campaigns for community mobilization and empowerment. It implements model projects of various scale and intervenes on government policies for proper environmental protection and conducts legal activities, both by legislation drafting and through its lawsuits. While actively influencing and accelerating the processes at local and national level, through its strong international links, TEMA follows the international agenda and links the global perspective to local and national one.

Two of the most important of TEMA’s legal successes are the unanimous ratification of “Grazeland Law” by the Turkish General Assembly in 1998 which has not been passed by parliament for 38 years and the enforcement of “The Law on Conservation of Soil and Land Management”, the first law in Turkish history drafted and ratified by the efforts of an NGO. (For details please see Annex 1)

The most important lawsuits are cases for the cancellation of tourism sites and against power plants in specially protected natural areas. TEMA has opened or intervened in 158 court cases of which 78 resulted in favor of TEMA’s stance. TEMA has a 75% success rate of the cases that came to a verdict. Total of 70.020 hectares of fertile agricultural land was saved through TEMA lawsuits so far.

TEMA believes that a strong education program is the key to address problems and create social change for preventing environmental problems such as soil erosion, deforestation and climate change. TEMA cooperates with the Ministry of Education, Turkish Armed Forces, Presidency of Religious Affairs, Ministry of Interior and Turkish National Police providing conferences and trainings to public officials. The number of people who attended TEMA`s various education programs is around 2,5 million.

TEMA is the publisher of a series of books on a wide range of environmental issues. To date, including the State of the World series by the Worldwatch Institute, TEMA has published over 83 books.

TEMA also has one of Turkey’s biggest environment libraries in its premises with almost 4000 books and 120 periodicals. Library is open for public visit.

It is an accredited NGO of UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) and UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and partner of UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) and UNEP-MAP (United Nations Environment Programme-Mediterranean Action Plan). TEMA also has a consultative Status with UN ECOSOC (United Nations Economic and Social Council).

It is a member of IUCN (World Conservation Union), member of CAN-Europe (Climate Action Network – Europe), Executive Board Member of MIO-ECSDE (Mediterranean Information Office for Education, Culture and Sustainable Development), Executive Board Member of EEB (European Environmental Bureau),a member of GWP-MED (Global Water Partnership- Mediterranean).

TEMA is a member of the DRYNET which focuses on strengthening civil society networks to address dryland degradation and poverty issues in the context of strategic development frameworks with the participation of 15 NGOs from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

In order to show practical and innovative ways to combat soil erosion and natural habitats loss, TEMA has designed and implemented over 150 demonstration projects that can be classified as; Sustainable Rural Development Projects, Reforestation Projects, Biodiversity Conservation Projects, Combating Desertification and Climate Change Projects.

Sustainable rural development projects aim to promote sustainable land management through introduction of ecological agricultural practices that protect the soil and plant cover in forests, pastures and farmlands. They achieve sustainable development while preventing erosion and protecting the environment, through creating environmentally friendly income opportunities for the rural community. Beekeeping, production of fodder crops, improvement of livestock breeding, introduction of good agricultural practices, eco-tourism, grazeland rehabilitation, fruitculture, horticulture, reforestation and training on social and technical issues are the activities in our projects. (For details please see Annex 2)

Reforestation, afforestation, carbon sequestration projects are implemented in areas subject to erosion in order to regain the green cover, wildlife and ecosystem health while achieving carbon sequestration. Between the years 1993 and 2011, about 10 million saplings and 650 million acorns have been planted through the sponsorship of individuals, institutions and private companies.

Biodiversity conservation projects focus on forest ecosystems in Northern Turkey. Kaçkar Mountain Sustainable Forest Use And Conservation Projects (For details please see Annex 3) was a 56 months long project which was supported by the EU to slow down and reverse the process of degradation of forest ecosystem and the loss of biodiversity in Turkey. As a result of the project, an integrated conservation system was developed for the whole project region which is one of the global biodiversity hotspots.
Two of the most important projects for combating desertification are the international drylands integrated research areas project (I-DESIRE) (2006-2008) and Creation of Rational Opportunities for Conservation and Marginal Arid Lands (CROP-MAL) (2009-2012) funded by Mitsui-co. Projects adopt an integrated perspective to the problem of desertification and land degradation in arid lands with a scientific sensitivity while taking into account the current political and social conditions. Throughout the project, various scientific outputs have been produced such as desertification sensitivity maps, crop pattern maps, anthrospace tables indicating the dependency of the crops and the zones, analyses of change in water resources, which all formed the basis for the sustainable land use model specifically designed for Karapinar Microbasin, the Crop-Mal site. The project is in progress and the expected final outcome is the sustainable land management plan of Karapinar Microbasin. The plan will help the decision makers to adopt the most effective strategy to achieve a sustainable development in the site as a guiding reference paper.

Regarding climate change, TEMA is realizing two different projects with the support of Airclim and following the international and national agenda via participation to CAN- Europe General Assemblies, COP meetings and visits to Ministry of Environment and Urbanization- Climate Change Department. In the frame of the first project, TEMA is building up an NGO network to work collectively and implement advocacy on climate change in Turkey. Besides, TEMA is developing internal capacity of foundation on national climate change information and policy work in order to strengthen its active role in climate change policy development process.
Countries in which organization is active:
  • Turkey

Contact Details
Street Address:
Halaskargazi Cad. No. 22 Kat:7 Daire:8 34371 Sisli
Telephone No.:
Fax Phone:
Organization founded:

NGO Information
Focal Area:
  • Biodiversity
  • Climate Change
  • Land Degradation
  • Organization Type:
  • Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)
  • Geographic Scope:
  • National

  • Contact Person
    Dr. Baris Karapinar Key Contact Person
    General Manager

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