Download All the Trees of the Forest: Israel’s Woodlands from the by Alon Tal PDF

By Alon Tal

In this insightful and provocative booklet, Alon Tal presents a close account of Israeli forests, tracing their historical past from the Bible to the current, and descriptions the trouble to remodel drylands and degraded soils into filthy rich parks, rangelands, and ecosystems. Tal’s description of Israel’s trials and blunders, and his exploration of either the environmental historical past and the present coverage dilemmas surrounding that country's forests, will supply important classes within the future years for different elements of the realm trying to reestablish timberlands.

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Additional info for All the Trees of the Forest: Israel’s Woodlands from the Bible to the Present

Example text

Defining a vegetative baseline is further complicated, because like so much in the Middle East, politics tends to sully objective observations and scientific debate. Modern Palestinian nationalistic narratives do not particularly see the erosion and deforestation as notable characteristics of historic Palestine. Rather they focus on the sustainability of Palestinian fellahin (peasant) agriculture—and the dignity and beauty broadcast by those olive trees and prickly pear (sabra) cactuses that endured centuries of hardship as symbols of the Palestinian people’s bonds to their homeland:∫ Palestinians draw connections between their ancient presence in Palestine and that of the ancient olive tree rooted in the land of Palestine.

In Genesis 13:5 we learn that Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together. And so in the first documented case of sustainable stocking limits, they divided up the rangelands. The ecosystems that emerged from these prolonged interactions were anything but natural. Thus, by the time Joshua, Judges, and Kings ruled the ancient land Israel, the word wilderness was long since a misnomer. For forests in the land of Israel, ‘‘pristine’’ as a state synonymous with imperceptible human influence was already a romantic illusion that belonged to the distant past.

It was not just steep, rocky, and eroded lands that resisted British forestry efforts. The local Arab population also did not welcome the trees. This hostile reception translated into chronic disregard for grazing restraints, intermittent vandalism, arson, and even violence against forestry officials. Moreover, the perplexing land registration dynamics, the political ambivalence that soon reigned among senior decision makers in London and Jerusalem, World War II, along with inadequate program funding and professional personnel, constituted a recipe for failure.

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