Critical Cartography & Restoration Project

Mapping Biodiversity in a Meditarranean Microclimate

Princes Islands Archipelago, Istanbul
2019-10 - 16th Istanbul Biennial: Island Songlines
The Princes’ Islands archipelago, two kilometers off Istanbul’s Asian shores, have offered freedom and isolation from the mainland metropolis for centuries and historically has been a refuge for artists, writers and thinkers. Today, the fragile ecology of the islands are under the pressure of development from the mainland metropolis.

In many ways, the islands reflect a past Istanbul, but can also speak optimistically about its future, one where new relations are found between the unique geography of the city, its guests, residents, its flora and fauna. Taking inspiration from Bruce Chatwin’s Songlines, “Island Songlines” explores how a contemporary definition of Nature is emerging today in the islands through the evolving migration patterns of birds, the depletion of fisheries, the transplantation of corals, the debates on banning horse carriages and conservation of the islands’ Mediterranean pine and maki forests.

With citizen scientists and volunteers, the local initiative Adalar Savunması has collected over 780 observations of 373 species as part of their Biodiversity Inventory Study. These maps visualize the rich biodiversity of the islands, a unique Mediterranean microclimate, as mapped by citizen scientists, from white storks and Spanish lavendar to Japanese crabapples and Turkish pine trees. These series of maps were prepared in collaboration with Daniel Marshall
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