US Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen and KKL-JNF World Chairman Daniel Atar..
(photo credit: GUY ASSIAG)
After a weekend in which hundreds of fires broke out across Israel, causing thousands of residents to be evacuated from their homes, the US Department of Agriculture's Forest Service and the KKL-JNF announced on Sunday that together they are embarking on a new collaboration to combat climate change.
In her first visit to Israel since taking up the role of US Forest Service chief, Vicki Christiansen met with KKL-JNF officials, including World Chairman Daniel Atar and several of the organization's scientists and regional directors.
The two organizations have come together to take necessary actions to combat the effects of climate change in order to protect and strengthen Israel's many forests.
"During the legal wildfires in California last year, we felt committed to standing in solidarity with the US Forest Service and all the courageous firefighters," said Atar. "Our organizations are the same age, both established in the very beginning of the 1900s, and both leading with the same vision: Caring for the land and serving the people."
He said the project began by studying what is already being done around the world, including in the US and Israel.
As part of the cooperation between the organizations, which was first established in 1987, over 170 delegations from the US Forest Service have taken part in different projects and visits in Israel.
"I am in awe of the foresight and innovation that you all bring to forest conservation here," Christiansen said. "We have a similar history, rich in both science, conservation of the land, and in social elements.
"I am very proud of our 32-year partnership, and our commitment to learning together, because this is a global environment," she continued. "If we do not have the foresight to look after our future generations, then we are not doing our jobs."
The two organizations have also carried out 26 joint research projects, and over 50 KKL-JNF officials took part in international seminars with the US Forest Service throughout the years.