Rehabilitation of the severely fire damaged Carmel Forest is one of main topics being discussed in the week long World Leadership Conference of Israel’s Jewish National Fund being held in Jerusalem. The annual conference for leaders in one of the country’s most important conservation and forestry organizations, will devote part of its agenda to reviewing plans to rehabilitate the Carmel Forest and mountain range, which was severely burnt by the massive wildfires which burned out of control for several days during the early part of December, 2010.
Usafia -where the Carmel fire began
The fire, which burnt down more than 5,000 hectares (12,350 acres) and cost millions of dollars in damages and 45 lives was the worst natural disaster in Israel’s 62 year history.
It is estimated that a generation will pass before the destroyed forest and natural brush areas of the Carmel will be sufficiently restored; and some areas may never fully recover to what they were prior to the fires, due to the reality of less annual rainfall from global warming and climate change.
One of the highlights of the conference will be a special tour of the damaged forests areas, especially those from abroad. They will see the sad results of the fires, which were only brought fully under control when the winds shifted and some rainfall finally fell to put out fires that even an international effort of fire brigades and airborne water tankers had difficulty in quelling.
Another important program of the conference is the prevention of “desertification” and sandstorms which are now a very serious consequence of climate change, especially in the Middle East.
Israel’s efforts to conserve and increase its water supply reserves will also be a part of this conference as well as participation in the country’s Spring National Clean Up Day on March 29th. But the main emphasis will be rejuvenating the Carmel Forest, which has been an important part of the Jewish National Fund’s forestry efforts in Israel during its long 110 year history.
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