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The composition of woody plants in the cemeteries of various religious communities in Istanbul-Turkey

Servet, Caliskan, Aktağ, Ayşe
Urban forestry & urban greening 2019 v.43 pp. 126350
Abies nordmanniana subsp. equi-trojani, Buxus sempervirens, Cupressus, Euonymus japonicus, Fraxinus ornus, Jews, Ligustrum lucidum, Liquidambar, Muslims, Pinus, Pistacia terebinthus, Prunus mahaleb, Rosa, Viburnum tinus, biodiversity, cultural heritage, forests, inventories, population characteristics, shrubs, threatened species, traditions, trees, urban areas, woody plants, Turkey (country)
Cemeteries harbor and protect the diversity of forest species in urban areas. Inventories of species contribute to a valuable understanding of the indigenous biodiversity within the cemeteries. The goal of this study was to compare the composition of tree and shrub species in cemeteries belonging to the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities in Istanbul, Turkey. Five cemeteries (Karacaahmet - Muslim; Zincirlikuyu - Muslim; Şişli - Greek Orthodox; Balıklı - Armenian; Hasköy - Jewish) were analyzed to identify and interpret similarities in the density of floral species. The importance of preserving some of these species due to their rarity or threat level was established. Effects of management practices among the selected cemeteries were also encountered. Abies nordmanniana subsp. bornmuelleriana, Viburnum tinus, Fraxinus ornus Cerasus mahaleb, Euonymus latifolius and Liquidambar orientalis were important threatened species. Each of the five cemeteries exhibit different vegetation characteristics and species important to the individual religious traditions. The most widespread species at Karacaahmet were Cupressus spp. (46%) and Pistacia terebinthus (15%). At Zincirlikuyu, tree species were almost identical to those at Karacaahmet and included Cupressus spp. (34%) and Pinus spp. (18%). Tree species identified at Şişli included Cupressus spp. (43%) and Buxus sempervirens (16%). At Balıklı, Rosa spp. (46%) was widespread over the entire site. Cupressus spp. (19%) and Euonymus japonica (15%) were the most widespread tree species at Balıklı. Finally, the most prevalent species at Hasköy were Ligustrum lucidium (35%), and Euonymus japonica (18%). The Karacaahmet and Zincirlikuyu exhibited the diversity of plant species. They were followed by Balıklı, Şişli, and Hasköy, respectively. The density of plant species was highest at Zincirlikuyu, followed by Karacaahmet, Hasköy, Şişli, and Balıklı. A centralized system of management that recognizes and respects the differences in religious beliefs, cultures, and site conditions could be beneficial for the Istanbul cemeteries which are natural and cultural heritage bridges from the past to the future.