The Taurus Mountains, the Hotspot of Western Palearctic Biodiversity, Is in Danger: Marble Quarries Affect Wildlife


Albayrak T., Yılmaz T.

DIVERSITY, vol.16, no.5, pp.1-11, 2024 (SCI-Expanded)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 16 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/d16050267
  • Journal Name: DIVERSITY
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Geobase, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-11
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

The Taurus Mountains in the Mediterranean Coastal Basin, considered a biodiversity hotspot, have a rich biodiversity in the Western Palearctic. The number of marble quarries in the Taurus Mountains has dramatically expanded over the past ten years. The objectives of this study are to (i) determine the impacts of quarrying on wildlife and (ii) determine the potential impacts of quarrying on the future of Taurus. A total of 57,547 photos and video images were analyzed on 5447 photo-trap days in two areas, the marble quarries and the control areas. Using 97 randomly selected marble quarries, the area they cover and their annual growth rates were determined. The most commonly seen animals were the wolf (Canis lupus), fox (Vulpes vulpes), lynx (Lynx lynx), and wild boar (Sus scrofa) in the control area, and the jackal (Canis aureus) and hare (Lepus europaeus) in the marble quarries (p < 0.001). Additionally, we found a significant positive correlation between the distance from the geographical center of the marble quarries and the number of dates of wolf, fox and wild boar sightings, with a significant negative correlation for hares (p < 0.05). A positive correlation was found between the area of marble quarries and the duration of operation (R = 0.89, p < 0.00). The waste from quarries, which makes up 79.7% of the total land used for this purpose, is the greatest cause of habitat degradation. According to calculations, even if no new marble quarries are built as of right now, 7.14% of the Taurus Mountains may have disappeared by the year 2027, and by the year 2032, 8.25% of the Taurus ecosystems may have disappeared completely. The Taurus Mountains, a center of Western Palearctic biodiversity, are being threatened by marble quarries. This study advances our knowledge of how marble quarries may affect wildlife. New strategies must be developed as soon as possible to protect the Taurus Mountains, the hotspot of the Mediterranean basin.