The Aegean Forest Foundation was established on Bakioğlu Forest, which was planted in 1995 with the contribution of Bakioğlu Holding and Group Companies with 70,000 saplings around Izmir Airport. “Protecting the existing forests and growing new forests in the country is the national and humanitarian duty of all individuals living on these lands, not just of the state. If everybody raised a forest, our whole region would be verdant.” This was the idea expressed by Cem Bakioğlu, Chairman of the Board of Directors, at a ceremony attended by 2,000 people, and set the grounds for the Aegean Forest Foundation, which was established in the same year. Since its establishment, the Aegean Forest Foundation has continued to plant millions of saplings with the support of nature lovers.
Bakioğlu Holding places great store by rural development through afforestation projects that provide solutions to climate change, and forms carbon sink areas in cooperation with forest villagers. It also supports the projects of the Aegean Forest Foundation, which contributes with a sustainable approach to the solution of Earth-threatening environmental problems, and reduces the carbon footprint of its enterprises by growing new forests each year.
Solar for Forests Project
The “Solar for Forests” project, carried out by the Aegean Forest Foundation since 2013 with the support of the Izmir Development Agency, has been ongoing since July 31, 2014. Established in the Menderes Oğlananası region, and having a solar energy production capacity of 500kWp, the plant aims to produce over 900,000 kWh of energy per year. The facility is one of the first solar energy systems (photo-voltaic power systems) established on the ground in Turkey. While a small portion of the energy generated in the system is used for the Aegean Forest Foundation’s olive groves, the economic value obtained from the redundant energy is also put to use in the afforestation projects. As an indicator of the importance attached to clean and renewable energy, this project aims to prevent more than 770 tons of carbon emissions per year.
Ecotourism Step-by-Step is a project carried out by the Aegean Forest Foundation and sponsored by the Izmir Development Agency under the Tourism and Environment Financial Support Program. The project was initiated to protect the natural, historical and local cultural heritage on the Efemçukuru-Çatalca route in the Menderes district, and on the Karagöl-Kayadibi route in the Bornova district, to raise the level of knowledge and awareness about ecotourism, and to develop tourism alternatives such as rural tourism, ecotourism and outdoor sports on these routes. In accordance with this purpose, a nature walking track has been established on each of the routes, and eco-markets have been set up in suitable villages.
Great importance has been attached to the participation of local communities to ensure that the project can achieve both the expected results and sustainability, and 60 people from the local communities have been trained by expert ecotourism academics. 6 volunteers from both regions were trained theoretically and practically in field guidance by professors on the subject to ensure that inventory information on the natural, cultural and historical heritage of the region is better conveyed to tourists visiting the region.
Project Name: Ecotourism Step-by-Step Project
Projec Owner: Ege Orman Vakfı
Project Participants: Menderes District Governorship, Bornova Municipality, Bakioğlu Holding, Ege TV
Project Supporters: Izmir Regional Directorate of Forestry, Izmir Regional Representation of the Turkish Mountaineering Foundation, Çatalca Ltd. Agricultural Irrigation Cooperative, Efemçukuru Ltd. Agricultural Development Cooperative, Kayadibi Aegean Yuruks Foundation, Mukhtar’s Offices of Çatalca, Efemçukuru and Kayadibi, and Ebruli Tur.
Sancaklı Village Apicultural Products Project
The Sancaklı Village Apicultural Products Packaging, Bundling and Storing Facility Project is carried out by the Aegean Forest Foundation and sponsored by the Izmir Development Agency under the Rural Economic Diversification Financial Support Program.
Sancaklı Village was chosen because of its inadequate economic strength, and because Izmir and all local beekeepers in its vicinity are located at equal distances. It was targeted for branding as a "Honey Village". In the Sancaklı Village Apicultural Products Packaging, Bundling and Storing Facility Project, the idle elementary school and garden in Sancaklı Village was converted to a production facility in about 10 months. With this project, the village’s economic level has been boosted by employing 10 people from Sancaklı Village. A portion of the annual profit to be obtained from the facility is transferred to the mukhtar’s office, to be spent on the further development of the village.
Within the scope of the project, the registered members of the Izmir Association of Beekeepers have been trained in the production and marketing techniques of bee products. 10 people from the Sancaklı Village local community, in the meantime, have been trained in the use of packaging equipment and machines.
Project Owner: Aegean Forest Foundation
Project Partners: Karşıyaka Municipality’s Presidency of the Union for Providing Services for Villages, Izmir Association of Beekeepers, Aegean Directorate of Agricultural Research, Izmir Commercial Exchange
Project Participants: Ege TV and Izmir Provincial Directorate of Agriculture
Project Supporters: Bakioğlu Holding and Bakiş AŞ., a Bakioğlu Holding company