Magazine article American Forests

Better Forests after Rocket Attacks

Magazine article American Forests

Better Forests after Rocket Attacks

Article excerpt

The Jewish National Fund (JNF) in Israel is applying an old adage--when life gives you lemons, make lemonade--to real life. During the outbreak of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah this last summer, fires from rockets caused widespread damage to the northern landscape, with more than 3,000 acres of planted forests and natural woodland destroyed.

Most of the damaged forests had been planted with Jerusalem pine 50-60 years ago at a time when the forestry policy was to plant primarily that species. Unfortunately, over the years Jerusalem pines have demonstrated a number of drawbacks, such as susceptibility to the pine bast scale (Mastuccocus josephii) and intolerance to the heavy snow loads that often occur in the high Galilee mountains. In response to these weaknesses, the Jewish National Fund has been evolving a new policy over the last 15 years or so.

The fires have presented an opportunity to start with a clean slate. According to Paul Ginsberg, director of the forest department for the JNF's northern region, "We have decided to replace previously planted Jerusalem pine mono-cultures with a mixed conifer/native hardwoods forest for ecological reasons. It is both more stable and has a higher level of biological diversity. …

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