Principles and Guidelines for the Rehabilitation of Burnt Areas

Land Development Authority
KKL-JNF Forestry Division
 
Rehabilitation of burnt areas will be based on:
 
a.      The practical and extensive experience acquired with past fires in the Carmel, Biriya and the Naftali Mountains, and Sha’ar Hagai.
 
b.     Implementation of the recommendations of inter-office professional committees that were established in the past after the afore-mentioned fires.
 
c.      Conclusions and recommendations of the many special research studies funded by KKL-JNF, which focused on examining forest rehabilitation processes after fires.
 
Rehabilitation of the burnt areas will be carried out according to the new forest management policy that was published in 2014 and was approved by the KKL-JNF directorate.
 
In general, the planning of the rehabilitation of burnt areas will be carried out from an inclusive basin-based perspective.
 
The guiding principle is to rely on natural regeneration processes, with interface activities focused on directing these processes.
 
In the first stage, surveys will be conducted to assess the extent of the areas that were burnt and the damage to the forest, roads, public areas, and so on.
 
Immediate interface activities after the fire will focus on removing safety hazards and reducing the risk of erosion, if such a need arises.
 
Removal of burnt material from the areas will be carried out according to security considerations, such as the danger of recurrent fires; scenic and aesthetic considerations, land preservation, protection of natural assets, accessibility and implementation capabilities. Priority should be assigned to removal of material in cases of safety hazards and when there is a high risk of recurrent fires as determined by location, local conditions and amount of dry material (burnt material). Low priority for treatment will be assigned to areas with limited accessibility.
 
When there are considerations of land preservation and protection of heritage and natural assets, the removal of burnt material in some of the areas should be avoided, or very careful measures should be taken, such as removing the cut down material manually or leaving it on site.
 
In those places where it was decided to remove the burnt material, it is recommended to do so after the first winter following the fire, in order to decrease erosion. In the winter, when the ground is damp, these activities should be avoided. It is recommended to complete the removal of the burnt material within four years from the time of the fire, in order to lessen security risks due to collapse of trees, thereby minimalizing the damage to the new growth.
 
Plantings will be done in those cases where natural regeneration does not provide the desired response according to the plan for the area, the purpose of the forest and the ecological services that the area unit is intended to provide for the benefit of the public. As a general rule, it is recommended to wait two years before planting. Planting immediately after a fire will be done only according to specific local needs.
 
Forest fires are also an opportunity to deal with erosion hazards and to rehabilitate ancient agricultural terraces and infrastructures. In addition, fires create opportunities to change the composition of the forest and its structure according to the goals and purposes defined for the area unit, and according to the ecological services that the area unit is intended to provide, in accordance with the guidelines of the new forest management policy.
 
Groups of trees that stayed alive in burnt areas will define the scenery in the first years of rehabilitation. It is expected that these trees will be attacked by various pests (bark beetles). Monitoring will be carried out in order to make interface decisions to protect these trees.
 
If there is a need, and according to the extent and the intensity of the damage in the burned areas, KKL-JNF will improve and prepare the forests and recreation areas that border on the burnt areas in order to provide a solution for the general public that had been accustomed to spending leisure time in the burnt forests.