Today, LOP and its partners must grapple with the challenge of balancing the phenomenal growth and development Israel has experienced in the last decade with the maintenance of an ecologically sound environment. JNF has been increasingly responsive to the rapidly evolving needs of the country: new water resources, including finding alternative techniques for utilizing waste water as well as brackish and flood water sources, soil conservation issues and river restoration.
JNF, historically committed to strengthening the ties between man and land, has led successful efforts to ensure the legislative protection of designated areas and forests. With today's technological advances, JNF's role as guardian of the land becomes ever more critical. Israel is one of only two countries in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees. But Israel was not blessed with natural forests; its forests are all hand-planted. When the pioneers of the State arrived, they were greeted by barren land. To claim the land that had been purchased with the coins collected in JNF blue and white pushkes, the next order of business was to plant trees among the rocky hillsides and sandy soil.
Since it was established in 1901, JNF has planted more than 240 million trees all over the State of Israel, providing luscious belts of green covering more than 250,000 acres. JNF national forest development work creates “green lungs” around congested towns and cities, and provides recreation and respite for all Israelis. While the forests of Israel belong to the people, JNF ensures their environmental soundness and is focusing on diversification, planting trees indigenous to the Middle East such as native oaks, carob, redbud, almond, pear, hawthorn, cypress and the exotic Atlantic cedar.
You can purchase trees and help maintain Israel's green spaces through our online Tree Planting Center by clicking here.
JNF battles approximately 1,000 forest fires every year during the five fire-prone months. Although half are caused by negligence, the others are attributable to arson and hostile actions. With a commitment to research, equipment and training, JNF is making demonstrable progress in minimizing loss.
After 10,000 acres of hand-planted forest were destroyed by Katyusha rockets in the summer of 2006, JNF launched Operation Northern Renewal to help replant and replace the topsoil that was burned away. JNF donors also answered the call to replace Israel’s aging fleet of fire trucks with new, compact trucks that can more easily maneuver in forests or city streets. Many more are about purchasing a fire truck for a community in Israel by calling your local JNF office at 1-888-JNF-0099.
Restoration of deteriorating, nonproductive agricultural lands and the transformation of land in the Negev for agricultural use are today's primary challenges in maintaining Israel's agricultural independence. Good farming depends on good land; good land depends on JNF.
In Israel, JNF is the only body with responsibility for soil conservation. A founding member of the International Arid Lands Consortium, JNF has put Israel in a global leadership position on soil conservation. Current activities include limiting the devastation of further erosion in the Negev and efforts to preserve soil quality in the inland valley areas.