This research and others at the Desert Research Institute of Ben-Gurion University spearhead the Green focus that has become the target of KKL-JNF activity in recent years, arousing much interest and curiosity among international bodies, including the US Forest Service which is closely monitoring their progress, plus various government ministries in countries where KKL-JNF representatives have direct work and research relationships.
Another parallel research study within Yatir Forest is the investigation of annual and multi-annual growth, where controlled grazing by flocks from local Bedouin villages is permitted within the forest; an arrangement has been in existence in the last few years to the mutual satisfaction of both KKL-JNF foresters and Bedouin owners of flocks.
The desert boundary is itself a subject of research aimed at conserving land and water. KKL-JNF is partner in several researches on trapping flood waters and surface runoff water by constructing low embankments in planted areas, to catch whatever little water there is, to prevent soil erosion and the silting up of river channels. Such research has a strong impact on decision making about the development of new farming areas, especially in the Negev.
KKL-JNF’s research together with infrastructure on different methods to combat global climate changes, have already gained scientific recognition worldwide. The restoration of rivers, primarily the Beersheba Riverbed project will bring about major changes in the quality of life of the Negev's capital and are high in KKL-JNF’s order of priorities, with help of JNF America and Canada. Cleaning up the Beersheba Riverbed channel and removing most of its polluting elements will result in an ecological turnabout. Already floodwaters in the channel no longer pollute it as they did in the past, and their re-usage for agriculture in the western Negev – mainly the Besor Region – is a simple matter. Far less pollution from the restored riverbeds now penetrates the underground pools and the quality of those pools is being maintained at reasonable standards. It is not by chance that Efi Stenzler, World Chairman of KKL-JNF, said that KKL-JNF has moved from being an organization dealing mainly with afforestation to becoming the most important ecological body in Israel.
One of the major driving forces behind this trend in KKL-JNF is Dr. Alon Tal, a member of KKL-JNF’s directorate and head of its Sustainable Development committee. Tal, whose career includes fervent activism in environmental preservation organizations, is an eager proponent of KKL-JNF’s cooperation with academic research institutions. He says, “Yatir Forest would never have been planted where it is, if a scientist had been the one to make the decision to do so,” Professor Dan Yakir often says about the green expanse that is the topic of his important research. The results of that research, though still only partial, already show that Yosef Weitz’s vision is reaching fruition, even bringing unanticipated strength in the war on global warning. In scientific terms, Israel’s contribution to this international battle cannot be overrated: KKL-JNF’s work both enhances Israel and helps the international community.