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Forest management in Israel—The ecological alternative

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image of Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

Forest management (silviculture) is a long-established applied science, but also a field whose sustainability and ecological implications have been questioned. In this paper, we present the basic features of commercial forestry together with a review of novel approaches for ecologically oriented forestry. The "new forestry" advocates for multiple-species and structurally complex forests, and is directed toward a diverse array of objectives (ecosystem function, biodiversity conservation, wildlife habitats, visual quality, nutrient recycling, water retention, soil productivity, carbon sequestration, and amenity values), in addition to the provision of classic economic forestry commodities.In temperate forests, economic goals have not been abandoned. The challenge in these systems is to develop a new silvicultural approach that will keep forests sustainable and also fulfill their traditional timber production function. In Israel, the majority of forests are not economic in the traditional sense; therefore, the shift toward more ecological management should be easier. We discuss the applicability of ecological forestry to Israeli forests, suggesting ways by which forest management can be adapted for the new forestry objectives. The scientific community can aid this process by providing technical expertise to help bridge knowledge gaps. We hope that this discussion will help to create some common ground for discussions between conservationists and foresters in Israel in years to come.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Agronomy and Natural Resources, Agricultural Research Organization ; 2: Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


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