LANDSCAPE DYNAMICS CHANGES OF THE PROTECTED MARY VALLEY, TURKEY
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This paper presents the case of Mary Valley's protected catchment, which is located in the northeast Black Sea Region of Turkey, and was declared a national park in 1987. The study area has sensitive ecosystems, with rare and endangered endemic plants. Nevertheless, current unsustainable economic activities, uncontrolled tourism and population migration have adversely affected its sensitive ecological integrity. This research aims to monitor and analyze the landscape dynamics changes of land use-land cover and landscape structure by change detection and landscape metrics in 1987, 1998, 2009 and 2016. The relationship between LULC and habitat changes linked to those of endemic plants were aimed to be determined. The findings indicated that forest areas with the highest loss transformed into grassland, shrubland and bare land areas, while bare land experienced the highest gain. However, forest area has the highest and bare land has the lowest habitat function. Additionally, endemic plant habitats have an inverse relationship with the habitat value of forest and bare land areas and a direct relationship with shrublands. These unsuitable changes can adversely pressure the sensitive landscape dynamics of Mary Valley protected area. Thus, landscape dynamics and their changes should be monitored to protect and manage for the sustainable development of Mary Valley resources.