This paper suggests a new approach that recognises distinct forest types based on altitude and associated factors for the high mountain region of Turkey. It describes the situation in four case-study regions of Turkey, in comparison to observations elsewhere such as the Alps. The Turkish high mountain areas have distinct life zones associated with broad geographic areas and changes in altitude, and the altitudinal distributions of tree species in the Turkish mountains are generally placed in three groups. Four zones differentiated by altitude are described in the case-study regions of the Turkish high mountains. These are: 1) 'Lowland Forest', 2) 'Mountain Forest', 3) 'High Mountain Forest and 4) 'Alpine'. In applying this approach to close-to-nature forest management, in contrast to traditional more formal treatments, it reflects local ecological conditions and distinctive forest character. Awareness of zonation and its reflection in practical management is a key to close-to-nature silviculture. It also brings added benefits of enhanced landscape value, nature conservation, and ecosystem functions which potentially improve the economic impacts of tourism.