Binational and Regional Cooperation

Besides taking major part in international forums, KKL-JNF is maintaining continous binational and regional cooperation.

The Achievements of International Reseach Cooperation

KKL-JNF’s research projects are often backed by research in institutions of higher education in Israel. However in recent years, the numbers of KKL-JNF's research partners have expanded, even beyond the country’s borders. Thus, for example, in the last few years there has been cooperation with the American Forestry Service, various programs of the United Nations, as well as others.Regional cooperation among nations, with each focusing on finding solutions for one of the problems and then sharing its findings with its neighbors, is in KKL-JNF’s opinion one of the solutions for the advancement of all states.
KKL-JNF has continuous growing ties with countries in the Mediterranean Basin in the field of forest research. Many of these countries have similar problems and environments that resemble Israel and deal with issues that KKL-JNF has placed high on its agenda. The major Mediterranean countries we have established professional contacts with and exchanged knowledge and technology are: Italy, Cyprus, Spain, Greece, France and Turkey.

Within the Kingdom of Jordan, KKL-JNF has for many years had some shared research, modest in size but highly effective for both sides, one of which has been to eradicate the Mediterranean fruit fly, which harms extensive agricultural areas in the Arava, on both sides of the border. Cooperation on a more limited scale is also carried out with the Palestinian Authority.

Forest research has laid a strong foundation for international cooperation between KKL-JNF and other countries with especially close research links with scientists in Turkey, mainly owing to similarity of problems that foresters face in both countries. Good relations have also developed with foresters in Italy and Spain where cooperation focuses on a major “plague” in every forest – extinguishing forest fires and renewing the forests after a conflagration.

International cooperation sometimes brings results that could not have been gained in any other way. For example, during a study tour in Turkey, KKL-JNF representatives were able to collect seeds from cedars of Lebanon, bringing them to Israel for germination. These cedar saplings can already be seen planted in the Galilee, mainly in the Biriya Forest, which was badly damaged by fires during the Second Lebanon War.

At the end of 2008, a delegation of German forestry scientists visited Israel, to inspect at close range KKL-JNF’s unique achievements in developing forests on the edge of a desert. This was their very first visit in Israel and the German scientists were amazed by the very existence of extensive stretches of forest in Israel. In several professional meetings, the visitors presented different aspects of forest-care problems in Germany, and once again it was seen that here too, there is a common denominator and a common language when delving into forestry topics. Not that every solution that is used in Germany can be applied in Israel, but as a result of this visit another network of scientific cooperation has been formed between Germany and Israel, and in particular with KKL-JNF.
Climate Change & Forest Fire Conference. Photo: Tania Susskind
Climate Change & Forest Fire Conference. Photo: Tania Susskind

United States Forest Service (USFS)

The relationship began in 1987, with both KKL-JNF and the USFS collaborating in the "Friends and Partners" program. During the last twenty years, through this unique and diverse program, dozens of joint research topics have been conducted together by both organizations. Over forty missions of technical exchange have taken place with foresters from the USFS coming to Israel and over eighty reciprocal visits and study tours were organized in the United States.

The researches of the US Forest Service in the field and in professional training are a highly valued source of information amongst those dealing with forests in Israel. With its help, advanced methods to monitor forested areas in Israel were introduced to the KKL-JNF, by means of information beamed down from satellites. This remote sensing technology enables mapping and identification of problems that arise in forest areas as a result of pests or from changes in yearly precipitation. Forestry experts from the USA come to Israel for annual advisory visits, while forestry staffers and scientists from KKL-JNF participate regularly in professional workshops in the US held by the Department of Agriculture's Forest Service.

The three main areas of activity are in the fields of research, technological transfer and education. Although there are differences in resources, size of the countries and the nature of the problems, a large base of common issues has been analyzed with ensuing cooperation. Future collaboration will focus on the possibility of dealing with relevant issues of concern and expanding to new areas. Some of the latest topics include: USFS participation in the 2010 International Conference on Dry lands, Deserts and Desertification, a workshop on Cycling in Forests and Open Spaces in Israel, assistance from the USFS in the project of collecting the predatory fly Leucopis tapiae in Hawaii, KKL participation in the Jordan River Restoration Project, collaboration on migratory birds research, butterfly flyway conservation and KKL participation in seminars on protected areas and watershed management.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

The service for the conservation of natural resources operates within the framework of the US Department of Agriculture, assisting farmers in managing agricultural lands. KKL-JNF has developed professional ties with the organization focusing mainly on managing watersheds.

AMEP – The Arava Medfly Eradication Project

The Mediterranean fruit fly is one of the most serious agricultural pests in Israel, attacking some 60 different plant species. Current chemical pest control methods are harmful to the environment. AMEP is part of the EASTMED project to use biological methods to eradicate the medfly jointly in several Middle Eastern countries. KKL-JNF supports this and other studies as part of its policy to encourage the development of new, environmentally-sound farming methods.

The Green Agriculture Revolution in Africa

KKL-JNF has been invited to join as a partner in an international forum – The Green Revolution - which will involve Israeli NGOs and government ministries in an international effort to find ways to improve the environment and agriculture around the world. It is being currently sponsored by noted experts who led in advancing the United Nations Millennium Goals.

The Green Revolution is a term used to describe the period from around 1960 to 1990 when there was a tremendous boom in agricultural productivity in the developing world, especially in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Governments invested heavily in agricultural research and modern science was put to use to find ways of producing more food and fighting widespread famine.

A main concertation of the forum is to make certain that food production will be sustainable, and everyone, including poor farmers have access to take advantage of the Green Revolution's resources and breakthroughs. KKL-JNF is confident that its experience and innovative groundwork can help developing nations and make an important contribution to alleviating world hunger.

Rehabilitating Forests in East Timor and Indonesia

Top KKL-JNF forestry experts have been active in both East Timor and Indonesia. Their visit to the largest Muslim state in the world, that still does not officially recognize Israel, led to meetings with Indonesian scientists and foresters and even to the first-ever reciprocal visit by several of them in Israel. The KKL-JNF executives found that they can supply their Indonesian colleagues with much, varied knowledge that they require, in spite of basic difference between Israeli and Indonesian forests, which are rain forests. KKL-JNF helps the two countries to set up tree nurseries in order to rehabilitate forests that were damaged by the long war that raged in this region.

Afforestation and soil conservation in Australia

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed for cooperation in the fields of afforestation and soil conservation with the States of Victoria and New South Wales. In addition, KKL-JNF has been cooperating with CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia's national science agency and one of the most diverse research agencies in the world, for many years.
Particular areas of interest and exchange have focused on biological pest control, with Israel sharing its research and successful experience in fighting the wasps that ravage eucalyptus trees.

Israeli-German collaboration in forestry research

In 2008, as part of the Israel-Germany Scientific Cooperation Year, a group of 20 German scientists visited Israel. The scientists are involved in environmental research in German forests. There were initially some doubts and surprise – “Are there even forests in Israel?” one German professional wondered aloud. However, it soon became obvious that questions relating to forest development, rehabilitation, and the environmental effects on forests, are common to Israel and Germany, in spite of the basically different climates and vegetation between Germany’s immense forests and Israel’s modestly sized stretches of trees.

Annual forestry conference in South Africa

In May 2009, David Brand from KKL-JNF’s Forestry & Development Department participated in an annual forestry conference in Pretoria, South Africa. The conference brings together academics, foresters, and officials and focused mainly on discussion of forest diseases and pests. David Brand presented his hosts with vegetal material containing the natural enemies of invader wasps that have begun to affect large areas of forest in South Africa.