Functional Forests Zeytinalani, Turkey
Functional Forests Zeytinalani (FFZA) is situated amidst an arid agricultural land in rural Köyceğiz, Muğla. The farmers of the area rely on seasonal grains and small-scale animal husbandry.
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Overview & Impact

Functional Forests Zeytinalani (FFZA) is situated amidst an arid agricultural land in rural Köyceğiz, Muğla. The farmers of the area rely on seasonal grains and small-scale animal husbandry. The recent surge of migration from big cities to the area has impacted land prices dramatically and thereby incentivised local farmers to sell their land. This is having devastating effects on local culture, traditional land-use practices, and the environment. Functional Forests Zeytinalan is lead by an interdisciplinary team with rural and urban backgrounds. They are combining traditional and scientific knowledge through decades of design, implementation and entrepreneurial experience to design, implement, manage, monitor and disseminate Functional Forests. They have a holistic approach to regenerative, small-to-large-scale, poly-cultural production based on a culmination of Indigenous and Syntropic Farming Methods. Besides food, medicine, fodder, fuel, fibre, building materials etc, Functional Forests provide many other social, economic, ecological and motivational benefits for regeneration. The team is planting seeds, seedlings, and saplings of a multi-layered Functional Forest. At the same time, they are weaving relationships with local and regional players from all walks of life to develop the social fabric that is needed for social, economic, and ecological restoration.


Functional Forests Zeytinalani envisions a world where humanity associates the main source of its basic needs with Functional Forests. This ecosystem restoration community’s interventions on four different implementation sites, with differing soil, climate and socio-economic conditions, show radical transformation in biomass, biodiversity and organic matter. Hence there is also more moisture in the soil making it agreeable for native varieties to recolonise more rapidly. Simultaneously, Functional Forests is observing a massive increase in local fauna which has a significant, positive, impact on the resilience of their gardens where they produce food, seed, fodder, fuel, fiber and building materials. Functional Forests has demonstrated a sincere and committed attitude towards building a life in communion with nature since 2000 which has enabled them to build trust relationships with the local culture. They are therefore closely engaged in the exchange of know-how, skills, materials, tools, customs and social relationships (men and women) that improve the ability of the local community to better cope with the day to day life conditions.

Achievements & Partners

Functional Forests Zeytinalani has successfully planted approximately 6,000 saplings on contour and alongside the fence line and 2,500 meters of mulch has already been applied. As a result, even throughout the extended two month dry period, irrigation for the saplings was only necessary, on average, once a month with remote vehicles between May and late October, using only 250 tons of water. They achieved their goal of keeping 85% of the saplings alive under arid conditions with minimum intervention and use of resources. Functional Forests Zeytinalani workds in partnership with Yaşamı Besle.

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Activities that need your support ​

Compost making

Water retention

Tree planting

Food growing

Erosion control

Soil building

Cover cropping

Habitat creation

Education courses and experiences


Community building

Fire prevention

Restoration of livelihoods

Regenerative entrepreneurialism

Natural building

Facilities on site

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