JNF to host afforestation event at Durban

Jewish National Fund event to focus on adapting forest practices to the effects of climate change in climate summit.

November 30, 2011 03:10
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In conjunction with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change currently occurring in Durban, South Africa, the Jewish National Fund will be hosting an official side event on adapting forest practices to the effects of climate change.

The program, called “Modifying Afforestation Practices in Adaptation to Climate Change,” will occur on December 3, and will share the techniques of the JNF – and Israel in general – toward keeping forests healthy in semi-arid regions, particularly when the regions encounter disasters such as last year’s Carmel fire.

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“Our knowledge is required more and more today because of a desertifying world and water scarcity,” said Dr. Orr Karassin, board member of JNF, leader of the Israeli delegation to Durban and faculty director of the Open University’s sociology and public law departments.

“What we’re trying to do at this conference is share some of this knowledge with other countries, especially with developing countries,” she said.

Many developing countries in the southern hemisphere share Israel’s issues of land dryness, and could benefit from the JNF’s “low-tech” solutions for cultivating forests, as a result of far less deployable hitech strategies, according to Karassin.

Another issue that will be a target point at the event is how to effectively prepare forests for an ever-drying environment that is more and more susceptible to forest fires, she explained. The organization will be presenting a report that it has conducted in the past year following the Carmel fire.

“We are trying to share this knowledge and gain some knowledge from them, especially from the US,” she added.

Allowing for biodiversity and “natural re-growth but with containment,” is key to preserving forests after fires, according to Karassin.

“We’re trying to allow more diversity because we know today that biological diversity, ecological diversity, is a key component to an ecosystem,” she said.

Aside from speaking about the aftermath of fire, the event also intends to address different types of forest maladies that can endanger plant growth.

“Climate change is not only a human health issue but also an ecological issue,” said Karassin.

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