Forest Facts & Figures

What do forests do for us?

Forests provide us with many benefits: they are wonderful recreation areas, provide shade in summer, store carbon and improve global climate, provide food and shelter for animals and produce many goods for medicinal, cultural and spiritual purposes.

What do we do for our forests?

Unfortunately a lot less than what they do for us. Many forest ecosystems throughout the world are threatened and sometimes lost by forest habitat degradation. But we have begun to realize what forests really mean to us, and the percentage of forest area designated for the conservation of biological diversity has increased significantly in the last twenty years.

Some fabulous forest facts

  • More than 1.6 billion people around the world depend on forests for their livelihoods, e.g. fuel wood, medicinal plants and forest foods.
  • There has been significant growth in forest products such as herbal medicines, wild foods, handcrafted utensils, and decorative items.
  • Trees provide a wide range of benefits in agricultural systems: Fruit for nutrition, medicine to fight disease, fodder to improve smallholder livestock production, timber for shelter, and fuel for energy.
  • KKL-JNF has planted over 300,000 acres worth of trees in Israel for the benefit of people and the environment.
  • KKL-JNF forests, which are among the largest planted forests in the Mediterranean Middle East, are a source of substantial carbon sequestration.
  • KKL-JNF has developed over 1000 recreation areas in its forests that host tens of thousands of visitors.
  • KKL-JNF has built over 7000 kilometers of forest roads to improve access to the public. Increased accessibility of forests to the public encourages people to value and care for them.

Forestry figures for Israel

  • The State of Israel is one of the few countries in world that has more trees today than it did a century ago.
  • In 1901, the year KKL-JNF was established, Israel had only 1,400 hectares (3,500 acres) of forests.
  • In 1942, the country had 3,500 hectares (8,750 acres) of planted forests.
  • In the early 1970s, there were ~60,000 hectares (150,000 acres) of planted forests.
  • By 2019, KKL-JNF had planted more than 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres) of forests.
  • Israel's first planted forest was the Herzl Forest (Hulda Forest), in which the first ~18 olive trees were planted in 1907.
  • The country's largest forest, the Yatir Forest, extends over ~3,800 hectares (9,500 acres).

Distribution of forest areas according to species

In 1960, approximately 85% of all trees planted by KKL-JNF were coniferous (pine) species and only about 3% of them were in natural woodlands.
By 2008, some 70% of all plantings were of native and broad-leaved species, with pine trees making up the remaining 30%.

In recent years, 55% to 65% of all saplings planted in forests have native and broad-leaved tree species; the rest are coniferous species, more than half of which are mediterranean pines that are planted primarily in picnic and recreation areas and other sites designated for public use.

Forest area distribution figures, according to species:

  • 44% coniferous and mixed-species
  • 26% planted broad-leaved, woodland, orchards, bustans, and native trees
  • 11% acacia, tamarisk, eucalyptus
  • 19% areas with a predominance of woodland, garrigue, and scrubland

Distribution of planted forest areas according to age

  • New forests (0-10 years) – 5%
  • Young forests (11-20 years) – 6%
  • Between young and mature forests (21-30 years) – 15%
  • Mature forests (31-60 years) – 33%
  • Veteran forests (60+ years) – 11%
  • Multi-age forests – 14%
  • Indeterminant – 16%

The absorption and survival rate of planted forest trees is 94%, according to the national annual average.

Did you know?

  • The average lifespan of a pine tree is ~100 years
  • Olive and oak trees live to 600 years and more