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      Nature Society: Let Carmel Renew Itself

      The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) says tree-planting and human intervention should be kept to a minimum.
      By Hillel Fendel
      First Publish: 12/6/2010, 10:23 AM / Last Update: 12/6/2010, 10:18 AM

      Flash 90

      The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) calls upon the government to restore the fire-ravaged north by adopting the expert opinion that says to rely on the forest’s natural ability to rebuild itself, and not via re-planting.

      The SPNI notes that previous large forest fires in Israel have helped amass much knowledge as to how to correctly rehabilitate the Carmel forest, 40% of which was damaged in the just-ended calamitous fire.

      The mountainous Carmel is an important Mediterranean forest center that supports a wide variety of flora and fauna. It is also an important location for hikes and leisure time in nature. The damage caused by the fire includes, most notably and obviously, the beautiful view of lush greenery that could be seen from many areas of northern Israel. Also harmed were plant life infrastructures, invertebrates, soil, and more.

      Burnt trees should be left where they are at present, the SPNI says, “in order to prevent soil erosion, and to prevent the damage that would be caused by heavy machinery brought in for the purpose.

      “In order not to repeat past mistakes,” the SPNI announced, “the rehabilitation must be based on the area’s natural ability to renew itself given the seed bank in the soil, and not by bringing in saplings from outside. We have to give the area a chance to renew itself naturally, with intelligent intervention on our part. We should strive to create an ecologically-varied area.”

      New plantings should be done, if at all, only after ecological evaluations showing their importance, and only in small areas, according to the SPNI. “Pine trees should not be planted at all; they are generally foreign to the Carmel, and help fires spread.”