Cedar timber was so sought after by the civilisations of the Mediterranean for thousands of years, that the once vast forests of the tree have disappeared. The timber is not only strong and resistant to damp, but has a scent pleasant to human beings but repellent to insect pests. An aromatic volatile oil can be extracted from the wood.
Çamkuyu is the paradise of the Toros cedar, and here the protected Cedar Research Forest is situated in the district of Elmalı west of Antalya. Of the many ancient trees in the forest, the 1050 year old Great Cedar and a 800 year old stinking juniper (Juniperus foetidissima) are the oldest. The area also abounds in other plant and animal species. Just west of Çamkuyu is another nature reserve, Çığlıkara, where there are nearly four hundred plant species, many of them unique to this region, and numerous large mammals, including bears, lynxes, hyenas, jackals and badgers.