Munzur Mountains This is an IBA in danger! 

Country/territory: Turkey

IBA Criteria met: A3, B2 (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 585,044 ha

Protection status:

Doga Dernegi
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2016 very high very unfavourable low
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description

The Munzur Mountain consists of limestone and volcanic rocks. It includes the highest points of the Eastern Anatolian Region. It has 10 different peaks that reach 3000 meters. The altitude increases dramatically to the east and north at the southwestern end of the area. Steep rocky cliffs, which do not give passage except for the valleys established by the watercourses, continue to the peaks of the area. It is an area which has been protected from human pressure and it includes moren and glacier lakes at high altitudes (Eken et al. 2006).

The Munzur (Mercan) Dağları (Mountains) comprises an extensive mountain block rising to 3462 m., composed (argely of limestone and igneous rocks that extends for over 130 km. and is partly enrircled by the upper reaches of the Fırat Nehri. The bulk of the vegetation is composed of forest (including important, albeit relict, stands of Pinus sylvestris and natural Juglans regia), steppe and montane rock communities. Over 1500 taxa have been recorded, including 228 Turkish endemics, making this mountain block one of the richest not only in Turkey, but in Europe as a whole. The flora includes 143 nationally rare taxa, including an astonishing 45 speries apparently confined to this single site. One speries listed on Appendix I of the Bern Convention is present, namely Typha shuttlemrthii.
Part of the area lies within the Munzur Vadisi National Park and Permanent Wildlife Reserve, but the bulk receives no formal protection. Excessive levels of stock grazing and a continuing programme to construct dam lakes pose the most serious threats to this extensive site: It is thought that no fewer than eight taxa restricted to this single site have become extinct as a result of these activities (Byfield et al. 2010).

The KBA covers the south of Erzincan province and the north of Tunceli province together with the mountain range extending till the border of Bingöl province. Due to the rough landscape, transportation to the area is limited. The connection of Erzincan province to Southern provinces is provided by roads passing through the valleys which the Karasu Stream, one of the arms of the Euphrates River, has established to the west of the Pülümür Stream, which is to the east (Eken et al. 2006).

The Munzur (Mercan) Dağları (Mountains) IPA comprises the vast mountain block, extending for approximately 130 km., and bounded to the west and north by the Karasu (the upper reaches of the Fırat Nehri).
The massif is composed of a range of rocks, most notably hard white and light-coloured limestones of Mesozoic age of enormous thickness. These high peaks form the driest, wildest landscape, where karstic features are commonplace. The highest elevations lie between Kemaliye and Pülümür, and include many peaks over 3000 m., most notably Munzur Dağı (3188 m.) in the west and Akbaba Tepesi (3462 m.)- the highest peak - at the eastern end. The mountains drop away sharply to the Karasu canyon to the north and the Zeranik subsidence plain to the south: the terrain is steep and largely impassable, and cliffs reaches to 1000 m. in places. Overall the range has a characteristically Alpine type of morphology, and represents a branch of the Anti-Taurus mountains (the continuation of the Alps mountain chain in Turkey). The peaks have been subjected to the effects of the Pleistocene glaciation, as evidenced in glacial lakes, U-shaped valleys, hanging valleys and moraines. Apart from the massive limestones, igneous andesites and basalt flysch, metamorphic schists and ultrabasic ophiolitic rocks are amongst the other rocks exposed within the range.
The overall richness of the flora of the Munzur Dağlan is exceptional, and the mountain massif can be regarded as one of the richest mountain blocks both in Turkey and Europe, exceeded in richness by only a handful of (often considerably larger) sites (Byfield et al. 2010).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2018) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Munzur Mountains. Downloaded from on 15/12/2018.