We started a project in 2010 about conservation of Anatolian orchids where the species are heavily collected for culinary use in Turkey. The project aimed application of sustainable harvest method, establishing “Orchid Conservation Areas”(OCA) in biologically diverse areas as sanctuaries for the species under serious human threats and public awareness about salep harvesting. Concentrated mainly on three areas Milas-Gökova Bay, Antalya-Elmalı and Kastamonu Turkey, the project team contacted collectors in the field and showed them how to save the plant after collecting the new tubers. During the field trips identification, distribution and rarity of the orchid species that have been collected for decades have been recorded. Some new species discovered in Gökova area where has not been reported before.
Meetings with Directorate of Nature Protection and National Parks (DNPNP) have ended up with success and the first OCA was declared by DNPNP in Bafa Lake Nature Protected Area in Milas region in 2011. There is no management plan for the OCA and no enforcement at all. A sustainable management plan including fencing the certain area, bringing different and especially rare species and replanting them, enforcement on protection, building a visitor’s center and awareness studies on collectors should be prepared for proactive conservation within and around the OCA.