On Tu BiShvat 2018, KKL-JNF, thanks to JNF Canada, will hold tree plantings for local Jewish and Bedouin children in Mishmar HaNegev Forest in the northern Negev, northeast of Beersheba.
The area is now being prepared for planting as part of an ecological project adopted by JNF Canada for the benefit of the local residents, wildlife and the environment.
Trees planted in Mishmar HaNegev Forest on Tu Bishvat will be irrigated by flood waters that run off from the channels and loess-soil slopes. The shallow depressions (limans) and raised furrows along embankments (shikhim) in which the trees are planted will collect the water and help conserve the soil by preventing erosion.
Local trees such as carob, sycamore-fig (Ficus sycomorus), jujube (Ziziphus spina-christi), mulberry, acacia and Mount Atlas mastic tree (Pistacia atlantica) will be planted in the limans, and a combination of acacia, jujube and tamarisk will be used for the hills and shikhim.
David Ben-Gurion regarded the Negev as a primary challenge facing the State of Israel and as a place where the pioneering spirit of the nation could best be expressed. “It is in the Negev that the Jewish People and its state will be tested, because only by the united efforts of a volunteer nation and a state that plans and implements shall we accomplish the great task of settling the desert and making it bloom. This effort will determine the fate of the State of Israel and the standing of our people in the annals of mankind,” declared Israel’s first prime minister.
Mishmar HaNegev Forest fulfills functions that are important to both the local residents and the environment, as it serves as a green lung for the population of the northern Negev and provides them with a destination for excursions. In addition, it prevents soil erosion and helps combat desertification and climate change.