Operation Northern Renewal - FAQS
FAQs on the Northern Forests
Q. How many trees were lost during the war with Hezbollah?
Q. How many acres were damaged during the war?
Q. Were these natural forests?
Q. Aside from tree damage, what other environmental damage occurred? What does the loss of trees mean to the environment?
Destruction of the forests also altered the food chain and destroyed the habitat of forest-dwelling wildlife. Nesting and roosting sites, forage and food sources, dens and lairs were all decimated. While some larger animals managed to escape the fires, most slow-moving animals, reptiles and insects were killed. The habitat must be restored in order to facilitate nature’s healing process.
Tourism, the lifeblood of the north, slumped by 25% during the war. JNF forests are a main tourist attraction and boost the local economy with the traffic they bring in. For tourism to thrive, the forests must be restored.
There is also increased risk of invasive plant species overtaking areas, and the possible depletion of the seed bank and regeneration potential within the area.
Q. What are the plans to replant?
The multi-faceted plan -- defined by ecological, social, economic, and intergenerational principles so as to answer all needs of the society -- includes working with natural systems and the enhancement of biological diversity as a central guideline; preserving the size and quality of the current forest inventory for future generations; advancing the economic use of the forest for tourism, wood production, pasture etc; and keeping access open and free for all to use. As the plan proceeds, a research program entitled “Rehabilitation of Mediterranean Ecosystems in Northern Israel Following Missile-Ignited Wildfires” will be conducted and shared with the world.
Much of the forest area in Biriya has steep slopes. It is important to make sure that soil erosion is not sped up by logging too many trees at once. Therefore, many of the burnt trees are being left to see if they reseed and what natural vegetation occurs. About 250 acres will be cleared for immediate replanting and the clearing, pruning, preparing, and planting is being done by the thousands of volunteers who have come forward looking to help. People all over the country, if not the world, are identifying with this tragedy. It is important to keep them as stakeholders in this endeavor.
Each year will bring with it additional clearing and replanting. It is estimated that the initial replanting process will take five years and about $40 million; it will take 50 years for the forests to be as they were. The process will also include the maintenance of firebreaks -- geographical gaps within forests that block the progress of fires -- and salvage cutting which decreases density and vermin, helps control forest fires, and rids the forest of unhealthy trees that have less reserve and are unable to fight off parasites and disease.
Q. What types of trees will be planted?
Burnt stands of brutia pine, more resilient than the Jerusalem pine, will be allowed to reseed themselves and where deemed necessary, additional broadleaves will be planted to diversify the mix.
Some of the trees will be fruit- or berry-bearing. This will create more mast and nesting opportunities for wildlife -- which would include various bird species, wild boar, gazelles, rock rabbits, foxes, tortoises and various reptiles -- as well as chances for the visiting public to enjoy these fruits.
Q. Why were the pines planted in the first place?
Q. Is this diversification process only taking place up north?
Q. What ecological advantages will we see as a result of using native
Q. What are the environmental impacts of planting non-native forests?
Q. How long will it take for these forests to rejuvenate?
Q. What are the benefits of trees?
1. Trees help to offset human carbon dioxide emissions by absorbing CO2 -- the primary greenhouse gas and a main cause of global warming -- from the atmosphere. Through photosynthesis, trees absorb CO2, removing and storing the carbon while releasing the oxygen back into the air. About 50% of plant dry matter is carbon.
3. Trees improve air quality by filtering particles and pollutants from the atmosphere and absorbing odors.
4. Trees prevent soil erosion, flooding, and landslides. Roots hold soil in place, increase soil permeability, and absorb water, reducing runoff and flooding after rainstorms.
5. Trees provide food and a safe habitat for wildlife.
6. Trees act as sound barriers, helping to muffle urban noise.
Trees beautify their surroundings, increase property value, and provide peace and tranquility. Studies have shown that patients recover more quickly from surgery when their hospital rooms afford a view of trees.