In an effort to offset the air travel carbon emissions of the official Israeli delegation participating in the United Nations Climate Change Conference, KKL-JNF planted 420 trees in Yatir Forest in the Negev.
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Yatir Forest and the Ecosystem Services it Provides
Yatir Forest is the largest planted forest in Israel, with over four million trees of
different types: pine and cypress, carob, olive, eucalyptus, acacia, and native broad-leave species. It is located in the northeastern Negev about 30 kilometers northeast of Be’er Sheva. KKL-JNF began planting the forest in 1964 and the 4000 hectare (10,000 acre) forest is the largest in the country. The forest has many recreational attractions and restored archaeological sites and functions as a «green lung» for residents of the area.
The forest also hosts a number of studies in the fields of combating desertification, soil conservation, carbon sequestration, plant-water-soil relations and other ecological topics. This research is conducted in cooperation with the major academic and research institutes in Israel.
The forest is planted in the Mediterranean-Desert ecotone and managed with techniques especially adapted to the unique conditions in the area. In part of the forest KKL-JNF planted trees based on runoff harvesting-techniques. The trees were planted on terraces emulating the ancient terrace farming once used in this area. Terrace farming mitigates erosion and slows down runoff allowing more water to be absorbed by the soil, than would be otherwise. KKL-JNF plants these terraces in low densities of approximately 150 trees/ha. The trees help prevent soil erosion, increase biodiversity and improve soil fertility. This complex serves as a model for preventing and mitigating desertification, a problem that we share with semi-arid and arid countries throughout the world.
The forest has made the area more habitable for people, and thanks to that, new communities and agriculture have developed. KKL-JNF supports farmers by land reclamation and built a water reservoir to irrigate the orchards and the vineyards of the villagers living in the area. Controlled grazing by the Bedouin flocks reduces fuel-amounts and prevents wildfires in the summer.KKL-JNF for the Environment
KKL-JNF has many projects beneficial to the environment. These include savannization, desert afforestation preventing erosion and mitigating desertification, maintaining and caring for forests and woodlands, preventing and fighting wildfires, developing biosphere parks, restoring the Hula Wetlands and river rehabilitation.
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