For Tu BiShvat: 9 Facts About the Advantages of Living Next to Forests

Maintaining a healthy life, protection from floods and paying less for electricity: in celebration of the Tu BiShvat holiday, KKL-JNF presents 9 interesting facts about the advantages of living next to forests.
Gilad Ostrovsky, KKL-JNF's Chief Forester: "Those who live next to a forest enjoys a healthier and more relaxed life, and for this reason, there is great importance in expanding the forest territory, especially near big cities."
A few facts about living next to a forest:
1. It reduces the risk of floods – soil-preserving trees that stand near the forest help reducing surface runoff.
2. Reduction of electricity consumption – during the winter, each tree reduces the impact of the wind and in the summer it provides shading. Both reduce need for extreme heating/cooling electrical measures.
3. Healthy body and mind – as a significant number of researches show, the possibility of travel in the open nature has proven itself to have a positive influence on the body and mind, encouraging sport activities, providing an escape from the stress of daily routines and more. Researches also show that living next to a forest reduces anxiety, balance mood changes and reduce general stress.
4. Landscape – the forest landscape is irreplaceable. The forest, the constitute the green lungs of Israel, are an inseparable part of the Israeli landscape, a wild view spreading across about 4 million acres.
5. Shading – living near a forest provides shading and temperature control, creating cool and pleasant surroundings.
6. Maintaining biodiversity, which is important for humankind's wellbeing.
7. Living near a forest provides a view of millions of birds that pass each year through Israel on their way to Africa from Europe and back, as well as different species of birds of prey that make their home in the forests.
8. Living near a forest also makes people aware of the ecosystem that they are a part of, and help them understand what is required to protect the environment.
9. Trees in the forests absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to the climate crisis, and in doing so help the fight against the crisis. Trees also reduce the rise in temperature caused by the crisis by 3-5 degrees and provide shading for day walkers. 
KKL-JNF Chairwoman Ifat Ovadia-Luski: "KKL-JNF has been active for 120 years in caring for the forests, and there's no better time than the week in which we celebrate the Tu BiShvat holiday to learn of the advantages of living next to forests."
Living next to a forest is possible in many locations across Israel, but social and cultural activities near a forest can be found in the 20 community forests planted between Tiberias in the north and Eilat in the south. A community forest is a green lung found in close proximity to the urban space, including the urban space and its environment, with goals that include varied social and cultural aspects as recreation, culture, health and welfare for the local population. Community forest management policy is based on active involvement of the local community and interested parties. The community forest provides a solution for a growing group at the Israeli public, which recognizes a connection between living standards and positive relationship in the community, green environment and emotional connection with place of residency, as a reaction to the burdens and stress of modern life. The national and regional community forest network represents all the social groups in Israel: Arabs, ultra-orthodox Jews, religious Jews and secular Jews.
Omer Ratzon, Community Forests Manager at KKL-JNF: "About five years ago, we have brought the new community forests model from the United Kingdom, according to which KKL-JNF created and promoted a new operation and activity model that provides the necessary frame needed to take care of the forest with help from the local councils and the community, ensuring its continuation. We work closely with the forest trustees, who do an amazing job at the forests, and help them whenever they need. We create the childhood experience through initiatives and activities led by the communities and the local council. We expect that in the years to come, urban communities will plant more forests, in order to improve the quality of life and contribute to the preservation of forests for the next generations.