Ekşisu Marshes is a Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) consisting of a swamp 11 kilometers to the east of Erzincan province in eastern Anatolia. The majority of the KBA consists of seasonal wet fields and agricultural fields that provide a very important shelter for birds and other rare species in the area. One of these rare endemic species is the plant named Erzincan Milkwort (Sonchus erzincanicus), which is restricted to this KBA.
Since 2006 Doğa has been working to save these marshes from the main threats the site faces, which are interventions with the water system and the burning of reeds. The Ekşisu Reeds Wetland Management Plan was prepared in collaboration with relevant authorities. Through direct conservation action, the number of Erzincan milkwort has grown from a few hundred to 4,500 since 2006. The species has been granted legal protection, and the area has been designated as an absolute conservation zone. Locals have also started to appreciate and care for the unique wetland ecosystem in the area as a result of awareness-raising activities.
Photograph: © Ali Şenel