Afforestation in Israel

At KKL-JNF, we know the secrets of the forest. When we first started, our goal was to green Israel, and we planted large expanses of fast-growing conifers. For many years, KKL-JNF was synonymous with planted pine forests in Israel. As awareness on the importance of biodiversity grew, our approach to forestry changed. Today’s forests barely resemble those of the past – they are varied and open, providing a welcoming home to a broad range of plants and animals, and serve as wonderful recreation for all types of people.

Biria Forest. Photographer: Avi Hirshfield, KKL Photos Archive.
Biria Forest. Photo: Avi Hirshfield, KKL-JNF Jerusalem.
What Do Forests Do For Us?
 
Forests provide us with many benefits: they are wonderful recreation areas, provide shade in summer, store carbon and improve global climate, provide food and shelter for animals and produce many goods for medicinal, cultural and spiritual purposes.
 
What Do We Do for Our Forests?
 
Unfortunately a lot less than what they do for us. Many forest ecosystems throughout the world are threatened and sometimes lost by forest habitat degradation. But we have begun to realize what forests really mean to us, and the percentage of forest area designated for the conservation of biological diversity has increased significantly in the last twenty years.
 
Some Solid Forest Facts

 

  • More than 1.6 billion people around the world depend on forests for their livelihoods, e.g. fuel wood, medicinal plants and forest foods.

 

  • There has been significant growth in forest products such as herbal medicines, wild foods, handcrafted utensils, and decorative items.

 

  • Trees can provide a range of benefits in agricultural systems:

    - Fruit trees for nutrition

    - Medicinal trees to combat disease

    - Fodder trees that improve smallholder livestock production

    - Timber and fuelwood trees for shelter and energy

Trees in The Service Of Humanity

 
One of KKL-JNF's major achievements is undoubtedly the ratification of the National Master Plan for Forests and Afforestation (NMP22) in 1995. Thanks to this plan, Israel’s wooded areas and open spaces are safe from exploitation and misuse. It provides guidelines for the preservation and maintenance of forests and woodlands standing on close to 400,000 acres (160,000 hectares) of land, side by side with regulated, careful development – a true synthesis of the concept of sustainability.
 
Savannization - The desert is a unique ecosystem, not normally characterized by forests.
At KKL-JNF, we have developed afforestation methods for the desert; savannization – planting single trees or clusters of trees in areas where climatic conditions do not permit woodlands or shrubs to grow without substantial human intervention.
 
Their growth relies on advanced water harvesting techniques that capture runoff rainwater in ridges, depressions, terraces and limans (tree clusters planted in reinforced water catchment basins). Savannization has an added value to it as well: the trees slow down soil erosion, one of the biggest environmental problems in the Negev.
 

Aminadav Forest. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

 
Research - The Tree of Knowledge
Our forests would not be what they are without research – we take our forestry work seriously! We study what to plant and how to match trees with their environment to create and restore habitats to their original state.
 
At KKL-JNF, we are committed to forestry research to improve the quality of our trees, to develop environmentally friendly methods of dealing with pests, prevent erosion and desertification and create forests that people can enjoy.
 
Forest Management – An Unending Task
Despite our best efforts forests change – trees grow older, fires break out and sometimes aggressive pests attack. To keep our forests healthy and thriving, we have to battle these elements by maintaining a top-notch firefighting system and early-warning fire network,  maintaining forests and preserving them, and rehabilitating burnt areas, in short, by continuing to invest in our forests, even when we think our work is done.

Opening KKL-JNF Forests to All

 
Sustainable Forest Management – The Key to Survival
 
  • We have planted over 240 million trees for the benefit of people and the environment.

  • We maintain 100,000 acres of natural woodland.

  • KKL-JNF forests, among the largest planted forests in the Mediterranean Middle East, are a source of substantial carbon sequestration.

  • We have developed over 1000 recreation areas in its forests that host tens of thousands of visitors.

  • We have built over 7000 kilometers of forest roads.

 

Shaharia Forest. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

Meeting The Global Challenge of Climate Change

 
Sharing Our Forestry Knowledge
 
Following the UN Climate Change Conferences, KKL-JNF updated its environmental policy to contribute to the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We will continue the essential work we are already doing and improve it by:
 
  • Planting trees to prevent soil erosion, conserve soil and reduce soil carbon emissions

  • Sharing our knowledge with developing countries helping them implement more environmental methods of forestry and farming

  • Developing strategies to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to climate change: green construction, solar and other alternative energy sources