The Press Releases about the project ICON kick-off meeting, concluded in Antalya on March 11-13, 2016, generated significant interest in the Greek, but also the Turkish, media (see links below).
The project identifies illegal collection for salep production as the major threat to wild orchids in Turkey and an increasing threat in Greece. The facts are staggering. To produce one kilo of salep powder requires 1,000-4,000 orchid bulbs. To satisfy the yearly consumption of salep in Turkey, equalling 45 tonnes, some 45-180 million plants are destroyed every year. Even though orchid bulb trade was been prohibited since 1974, salep powder still finds its way to many Arab countries but also Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Russia and even Australia. Salep production in Greece has to date been limited and localised, however, there is an increasing trend and salep is now marketed as a “traditional” product in several regions.
A main goal of project ICON is to inform the general public, but also competent authorities, about the threats to the wild orchid flora of the two countries.