Israel's National Master Plan (NMP1)

The National Master Plan (NMP 1), ratified by the Israeli Government on January 12, 2020,  is an outline plan for Israel that amalgamates all previous land major outline  plans, including the NOP 22 for forests and afforestation.
 

Aerial view of Kiryat Gat in the northern Negev. Albatross, KKL-JNF Photo Archive

Introduction

NMP 1, Israel's new master plan, is the result of a government decision instructing planning authorities to clarify and simplify national master plans, and to combine them in the framework of a single national master plan.
 
The rationale underlying this decision was the need for a single master plan that would unify all the numerous complex topical national master plans and provide a general comprehensive perspective that would regulate development, infrastructure and environmental systems.
 
Up until now, planning topics were spread over numerous plans, each formulated in its own specific language and style. Over the years, the plans underwent extensive modifications, and navigating them became a complex undertaking. This made it difficult to access the content of the plans for both professionals and nonprofessionals. NMP 1 combined the contents and  principles of the various topical national master plans in a simple, up-to-date compilation far greater than the sum of its parts.
 
The new plan is clear, simple, accessible to all, and can now serve as an effective aid in implementing national planning policy.

Provisions for Forest Designations in the 'Protected Areas' Section

The unified National Master Plan (NMP 1) was ratified by the Israeli government on January 12, 2020. The new master plan unified the many major national outlines plans into a single plan, which cancelled all previous plans that are now integrated and unified into NMP 1.
 
NMP 1 also replaced NOP 22 – the National Outline Plan for Forests and Afforestation that was approved on November 16, 1995. The many and varied changes in the plan included adding and removing forested and forest-designated areas, modifying the boundaries of forest areas and modifying the planning language that had been used up to this time.
 
NMP 1 united plans according to the topics they focus on: water and energy, transportation, waste and the like. Forest areas were integrated in the master plan under the "open spaces" title  in the section on "protected areas", together with nature reserves and national parks.
 
As a national master plan, NMP 1 did not modify detailed forest plans ratified before its approval. Their instructions are still valid in the areas they cover.

Principles of the Plan


1. The plan includes a number of guiding principles, some of which are different from what had been customary in the planning sphere, for example:


One designation for a given site

The master plan cancelled double designations on a national level. Thus, a site designated for groundwater enrichment cannot be designated at the same time as a site designated as forestland. 
 

Simplifying and unifying the planning terminology

The master plan endeavored to reduce the number of definitions and to prevent contradictions and overlapping between them.
 

Moving from general to specific

The master plan is divided into instruction levels that apply to all the sections and chapters in it, and into instructions that focus specifically on the topics in the various chapters. This is unlike what had been customary, in which every topical master plan contained its own specific instructions. 
 

2. The basic principles regarding forestlands in the new plan are different from those in the previous plan (NMP 22).


Reduction of the number of forest designations

The number of forest designations was reduced from eight to three: native forest, planted forest and open woodland.
 

Modification of the classification of forest designations

In some cases NMP 1 changed (from a planning aspect) the type of areas designated forests. Thus, for example, coastal open woodlands are now designated natural forests for preservation, and planted forests on riverbanks are now all designated open woodland.
 

Modification of the provisions regarding the various forest types

For example, the guidelines applied to native forests are stricter than the guidelines applied to nature reserves.
 

Nullification of the quota of permitted reductions from forest areas and modification of the reduction mechanism

NMP 22 defined quotas and permitted degrees of reduction (designation modification). NMP 1 modified, among other things, the permitted degree of reduction, which is now uniform for all the forest designations and identical to the reduction permitted in nature reserves.
 

Cancellation of duplicates

Many agricultural lands were marked as forestlands in NMP 22, and marked as agricultural land when detailed forest plans were prepared. Most of these areas are not marked as forestlands in NMP 1.
 

3. Summary

 

NMP 1 created a major change in the planning sphere in general, and in KKL-JNF in particular. Transitioning to NMP 1 is challenging from many aspects. Technologically KKL-JNF is required to reorganize in many fields, such as all aspects of establishing a new system for monitoring and controlling forest reductions. Moreover, it is also necessary to manage a different system of forestlands and become acquainted with new areas, as well as to learn and assimilate different statutory instructions, of what is permitted and not in forestlands. All these affect the protection of forestlands and visitor management in the forests KKL-JNF manages.