ITU Green Campus Preservation Program

Mar 24, 2017, 16:12
Within the scope of the Green Campus project that we initiated four years ago and which has led to bigger changes with every effort, we have started our struggle against the pine processionary moth, which is threatening our Ayazağa Campus’ forested areas. Through the use of mechanical solutions instead of chemical methods, thanks to this work, which is expected to be continuous, we aim to remove the risk causing great harm to the living beings on our campus, our forest areas, plants and trees.

Koru-koruma (4)

Prof. Dr. Hayriye Eşbah Tunçay: "Our Ayazağa Campus is an important ecological reserve for the whole city."

Prof Dr. Hayriye Eşbah Tunçay of the ITU Landscape Architecture Department and our Vice Rector, Prof. Dr. Tayfun Kındap shared their valuable opinions with us on the Green Campus project’s past, present, and future struggles with the pine processionary moth. Our academics delivered important information to inform our students, academics, administrative staff, and all ITU members about the point of their studies and the road to be taken afterwards in the context of Green Campus. Our faculty member, Prof. Dr. Hayriye Eşbah Tunçay stated that the Ayazağa Campus is of great importance, due to its location, as a green area that remains despite dense construction surrounding it. Our faculty member recalled that when Green Campus first began, its main goal was to create a center of science, balanced both in terms of structure and plant cover, serving the whole urban ecology, especially Sarıyer; thanks to outdoor thematic studies, Dr. Tunçay said that the starting point of the project was to create a more livable campus for the ITU family, determining that areas where libraries, cafeterias, sports facilities and buildings offering social facilities were located should be the starting point. Our academics, underlining the consideration of the water cycle and biodiversity of the campus in this landscape landscaping study, emphasized that they are leaning on an understanding that will give more support to the pond area. Before the Green Campus project, Dr. Tunçay pointed out that we had a campus filled with dense asphalt parking lots, limited green areas, and areas with no plant cover due to the fact that it was an impermeable surface; with the Green Campus project, the Ayazağa campus has reached a point today where it is a place visited by Istanbulites, and an area rich in biological diversity. Dr. Tunçay stated that millions of plants were grown and many different species came to life at the Ayazağa Campus, and that their social effects could be felt as a result. Our academic provided the development of our students' relationship with green spaces as an example. Our academic also pointed out that in order to use less water in the studies, plants that need the least amount of water were chosen. She added that Green Campus, which is a model project for other areas of Istanbul, is an important ecological reserve with its forest cover and pond area, and will also work to raise awareness with an internationally recognized certificate.

Prof. Dr. Tayfun Kındap: “We welcome the support of all ITU members for Green Campus studies.”

Our Vice Rector, Prof. Dr. Tayfun Kindap stated that the Green Campus project, started 4 years ago in a challenging environment but with a good foundation; overcoming these difficulties was aided by Prof. Dr. Mehmet Karaca’s expertise in the field of atmospheric and climate sciences, as well as having other academics and who are experts in environmental sciences in other departments of the university and at the administrative level. Dr. Kındap said that the success of these studies is very important to the accumulation of knowledge at ITU emphasizing that all of these factors coming together would provide a good structure to reap the benefits of Green Campus. Our Vice-Rector noted that due to the current conditions of the project during the preparation phase, it should proceed in a “first break down, then replace” manner, and that ITU members would first have to be convinced of these studies, adding that confidence in the project would increase as the rewards are reaped.

Koru-koruma (7)-2

Emphasizing that "Green Campus" is not just about improving "green", but also, by today’s standards, making the campus infrastructure and superstructure more sustainable in order to improve recycling and the lives of people with disabilities, adding that a more livable, aesthetic, meaningful and sustainable campus could be attained but that this was still not enough. Dr. Kındap stated that the Green Campus project breathed new life into a very old campus, but that the goal was to attain a "smart campus". After indicating that an accurate water and energy management plan, the right transportation system, and a high air quality campus must be implemented, he emphasized that very big problems were also identified during the project’s studies.

Koru-koruma (5)

Our Vice-Rector pointed out that there are man-made, inappropriate, densely planted forests on our Ayazağa campus that are vulnerable to insect infestations, adding that they had seen a loss in diversity of plant cover due to the lack of cleaning out of dried and insect-infested trees and that the solution was a process that required expertise and financial capacity. Recently, they found that the insect invasion was at a very high level and that we face the risk of losing our forests; for this reason, Dr. Tayfun Kındap said that whatever the cost, they agreed on a conservation and sustainable forest plan. He pointed out that one out of every three trees is at risk, especially from the pine processionary moth. Our academic reminded us that if we use chemical methods, we might lose other animal species while fighting only one insect in our forests where countless birds live, that combatting the risk through natural methods is preferred, even though this is a more costly and difficult method.

For the health of our forests, Dr. Kındap added that it is necessary to leave the healthy ones to time and to plant trees unique to Istanbul and the Marmara Region on the Ayazağa Campus, adding that a long-term conservation plan has been created for this reason. Dr Kındap stated that though Istanbul has gone through periods of drought, with the Green Campus project, our pond will never dry out, adding that there is also a system that will provide healthy water drainage from the pond to avoid flood events that could be encountered in case of heavy rainfall. He stated that as part of Green Campus studies, clean rainwater will ve transferred to the pond on campus and that delivered the happy news that, projects aimed at diverting gutter, canal, and road water to the pond are also slowly coming into effect. Dr. Kındap also pointed out that, at the end of these studies, the Ayazağa Campus will have a water management system where watering will occur using only pond water. Explaining that work continues on becoming a campus that can generate its own energy, especially solar energy, that despite the time and cost concerns that arise from the fact that the Green Campus is based on a campus built from scratch, our academic stated that with the help of Scientific Research Projects (BAP), TUBITAK, and ISTKA supports, that our academics are starting to work on the Green Campus and that this is very satisfying. He stated that we could start to produce energy from cafeteria waste and from food not eaten by the animals, citing that a good example is that we could even make fertilizer from these wastes and use it in Green Campus projects.

Koru-koruma (1)

Asst. Prof. Dr. Ahmet Hakyemez: "The Ayazağa Campus is a good example of the struggle against the pine processionary moth."

Istanbul University, Faculty of Forestry, Department of Forestry Entomology Protection faculty member Asst. Prof. Dr. Ahmet Hakyemez stated that, considering the plant cover in our country, one of the insects most likely to pose a risk is the pine processionary moth, adding that it is a very common problem that has caused great damage to tree and plant development. He drew attention the fact that even after the damage caused by these insects occurs, other harmful insects and diseases also increase the effectiveness of the event, causing the death of the tree. Dr. Hakyemez emphasized that important steps have been taken in recent years regarding methods of mechanical and biological control against the pest, and that one of the best examples is the application at the Ayazağa Campus. He explained that point of intervention needs to occur at the point where the pests return at night, having devoured the leaves of the tree, to the “sac”- like structure found in the middle of the trees’ body; this “sac”, which houses the larvae, is found on trees located in wooded areas of our campus. Indicating that mechanical methods are used very accurately and effectively against this problem on our campus, the academic reminded us that mechanically collecting the sacs and destroying them with proper techniques is very important in terms of continuing the battle against the pest.

The Ege Trap, to be used as a mechanical means to fight the pine processionary moth, will see them falling into traps, thereby reducing their population, and protecting the life of other living beings on our campus.