Seeds to Grow Saplings .
(photo credit: kkl)
A KKL-JNF team set out to gather pine cones from the tops of the trees along the Nahal Tut stream in northern Israel, to provide seeds for the next generation of pine forests. KKL-JNF produces three tons of seeds every year, and this huge seed bank is the source of the vast number of trees that the organization plants all over the country. Pine seeds are gathered during the hot summer months, when the cones are mature but have not yet opened; the seeds are still inside them, waiting to be scattered.
Aviv Eisenband, Director of KKL-JNF's Forestry and Professional Development Department, led a team from the organization’s Seeds and Nurseries Division that set out to gather pine cones from forested areas along the Nahal Tut stream in northern Israel. The pine trees here soar to impressive heights, but these professionals are skilled at this complex task: they are trained in rappelling. On this occasion, they have also hired a special Akavish (Heb. Spider), an elevated work platform with jointed 'legs' that weaves its way easily among the trees before hoisting itself to a height of twenty-four meters off the ground, giving the workers easy access to the very tops of the trees. Seeds are collected from only the very best trees, which are characterized by great height, vitality, resistance to drought and immunity from the depredations of pests and disease. These seed-producing trees are carefully selected, as there is a good chance that the offspring will resemble the parent tree and reproduce their desirable characteristics.
“In certain cases, trees are propagated vegetatively from cuttings, and this method allows us to clone the original plant,” explains Eisenband. “When we find a tree that has special qualities – for example, one that has survived in harsh conditions when all the others around it have died, or a tree whose appearance is especially impressive – we propagate it in a series of cuttings.”
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