As a result of landslides and soil erosion, a substantial amount of soil has been lost in Turkey. Particularly, fertile lands have long been faced with the threat of erosion, largely as a result of traditional (unplanned) land use practices. This threat is more evident in the Black Sea Region with its rough topography and rainy climate. The basic reason for this threat is the lack of organization in land use planning and control. Although proposals, in the context of this requirement, are included in national development plans, they have not been implemented. Accordingly, in this study research based on spatial data evaluation was carried out for Sera Lake located in Akcaabat, Trabzon, Turkey. For this purpose, temporal area, depth and volume changes of the lake were determined by utilizing topographic maps, aerial photographs and hydrographical measurements. To evaluate determined changes in the size of the lake and to produce suggestions to legislators for required sustainable land management activities, information on land use/cover types, land ownership and climate in the vicinity of the lake was utilized. As a result, it was determined that the area, depth and volume of the lake were significantly decreased during the last decades, as a consequence of erosion mainly caused by traditional land use practices; thus, the lake is threatened with the danger of extinction due to erosion. Precautions required for the alleviation of erosion and other adverse environmental effects which largely seem to be caused by harsh physical properties (caused basically by topography) of the region were discussed. In support of the information inherent to the region, traditional arable land use was logically determined as the basic non-natural factor (which is directly prone to erosion) to be rearranged in the context of sustainable land management. In this context, beyond nationwide actions (national agricultural policy and Soil Protection and Land Use law), which may provide the required land management tools in the long term, it is proposed that planning and accordingly land management activities specific to the study area (Sera Valley) should immediately be commenced in close collaboration with the related public (owners or farmers). However, behaviours of different types of land users (engaged in commercial, subsistence and semi-subsistence farming) and also high number of owners and/or farmers (caused by small pieces of land parcels owned/used in shares) make the desired collaboration almost impossible. This socio-economical problem may be solved by further developing the current land registry and cadastre system in terms of customary land use rights, land use/cover changes and updating procedures. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.