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Open Access Research article

Effects of forest areas on air quality; Aras Basin and its environment

Metin Demir1*, Turgay Dindaroğlu2 and Sevgi Yılmaz1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Landscape Architecture, Architecture and Design Faculty, Ataturk University, 25240 Erzurum, Turkey

2 Department of Forest, Sütçüimam University, 46100 Kahramanmaraş, Turkey

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Journal of Environmental Health Science and Engineering 2014, 12:60  doi:10.1186/2052-336X-12-60

Published: 10 March 2014

Abstract

Background

In the study, the Aras Basin and its environment, one of the most important hydrological basins of Turkey, was evaluated. In survey area, to determine the change of air quality, it was benefited from 23,770 pieces of hourly measured SO2 (Sulfur dioxide) and PM10 (particulate matter) concentration values for the December, January and February of 2009–2010 in which the pollution is at peak, by forming database in geographical information system (GIS), spatial analyze maps were attained. By comparing; maps showing attained numeral air quality and maps showing the spread of forest lands in the region, it was tried to determine the relation and interaction between air quality and forest lands.

Results

The results indicated that the Air Quality Index (AQI) values were the lowest for the forest land in the months which mean that the forest land was the most convenient place for health. The increase the AQI, air pollution also increases. The results indicated that the air quality index changed from 1 to 4 within the region. In the forest areas, the AQI values for the months were the lowest. This indicated that the most suitable places for health are the places with a high forest coverage rates (76,50; 66,46 and 96,78%). There was no forest area within the region where the AQI values were the highest, so the risk was maximum, for the months.

Conclusions

Authorities should create new afforestation areas and rehabilitate degraded forest lands to limit air pollution by increasing the quality of urban life.

Keywords:
Air quality; Air control; Forest land; Aras Basin; Planning