Identification of Priority Areas for Conservation in Lake Egirdir and Lake Kovada, Turkey

Identification of Priority Areas for Conservation in Lake Egirdir and Lake Kovada, Turkey

Mustafa Özgür Berke (WWF, Turkey), Ercan Sütlü (WWF, Turkey), Basak Avcioglu (WWF, Turkey) and Engin Gem (TUBITAK, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2824-3.ch018


The second Turkish case study was implemented in Lake Egirdir and Lake Kovada which are in the southwestern part of Turkey. Both lakes are surrounded by agricultural areas and are located in the same basin with high biodiversity. The focus of the case study in Lake Egirdir and Lake Kovada was identification of priority areas for conservation.
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The case study focusses on Lake Eğirdir and Lake Kovada (See Figure 1). With a maximum surface area of 479 km2, Lake Eğirdir is the second largest freshwater lake in Turkey (See Figure 2). Also known as the ‘Seven Coloured Lake’ thanks to the colour variety it displays throughout the day, Lake Eğirdir is a Drinking Water Reservoir, Natural Site and an Important Bird Area. Lake Kovada is part of the same hydraulic system and has been designated a National Park. Both lakes are among 135 wetlands of international importance in Turkey. The basin hosts a variety of species such as red pine, sweetgum, oak, juniper, cedar, jungle cat, wild goat, caracal and crayfish.

Figure 1.

Location of Lake Egirdir and Lake Kovada in Turkey (copyright Google)

Figure 2.

Lake Egirdir

The water quality in Eğirdir Basin has been one of the best in Turkey and Lake Eğirdir is already the main drinking (potable) water resource of Isparta, Eğirdir and other towns around the lake. However, the water quality in Lake Kovada is deteriorating substantially. The area is perfect for nature sports such as mountaineering, trekking, caveing, windsurfing and cycling, and is identified as an eco-tourism area in ‘Turkey’s 2023 Tourism Vision’. Turkey is the fourth largest apple producer in the world and 20% of Turkey’s total apple production is produced in Isparta. Lake Eğirdir is important also as a fishery, with economic value mainly from common carp, pike-perch and crayfish. However, the populations of these species, and therefore the fishery, are threatened primarily due to over exploitation of fish resources and pollution caused by intensive agricultural activities (See Figure 3). Regulating agricultural and fishing activities (See Figure 4) is one component of tackling the threats. Another component is introducing alternative means of income for the locals. Promoting eco-tourism (or sustainable tourism in more general terms) is one approach.

Figure 3.

Agricultural Pollution in Kovada Channel (connecting Lake Eğirdir to Lake Kovada)

Figure 4.

Fishing in Lake Eğirdir

The Project

The aim of the socio-economic and mapping project was the identification of priority habitats for conservation in the light of emerging tourism investments. As mentioned, agricultural pollution is already the main threat to both freshwater systems. The objectives of the project were:

  • Minimizing the environmental effects of tourism regarding those priority habitats.

  • Providing an alternative means of income for local people in a sustainable manner.


The socio-economic project consisted of interviews and questionnaires with locals. Locals from Barla town were selected as the town is active in all three major economical sectors; fishing, agriculture and tourism. A total of 9 people were interviewed within the framework of the project. The mapping project, was implemented in Lake Kovada. A special individual, who is active in agriculture, runs a family hostel and restaurant, and is a part-time conservationist hired by Provincial Directorate of Forestry and Water Affairs, conducted the mapping (See Figure 5).

Figure 5.

Mapping exercise at Eğirdir Basin

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