Medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) have been important natural resources for improving local livelihoods in Köprülü Kanyon National Park, located in Turkey. Sustainability of these resources is important to meet the needs of present and future generations. Accordingly, this study examines the MAP-based community capitals to seek better opportunities in terms of community development, poverty reduction and sustainable livelihoods in the National Park. The method of the study included a series of stages such as fieldwork and interviews. Assessment of the data shows that a sustainable livelihood strategy is needed for bringing a positive synergy in terms of the sustainable use of MAPs in the national park, as MAPs as natural capital have led to the emergence of human, social and financial capitals to lift local livelihoods out of poverty. Finally, a number of recommendations for improving the sustainability of MAPs and local livelihoods in the park are discussed. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.