Thursday, July 15, 2021 2:01 PM
What do you get when you cross a bushwalker with a sheep? Not a lambush, says KKL-JNF; we woolly welcome grazing flocks to our forests for the hotter months.
In mid-May of this year, KKL-JNF alerted the public to the grazing season that had begun in its forests and will continue until October-November 2021. During this period each year, shepherds graze their flocks in forests prearranged with KKL-JNF.
Allowing flocks of sheep to graze is very important, as it helps KKL-JNF to manage and protect the forests. By feeding off the winter vegetation that sprouts on the forest floor, the flocks help to reduce the prevalence of dry grasses, thus diminishing the risk of fire
and its spread.
In recent years, climate change and its attendant extreme weather events have led to unusually heavy winter downpours, which in turn encourage the growth of particularly tall and dense vegetation. This increased growth has made controlled grazing of forests vital, and grazing this year will continue until the autumn. This is also a safety precaution against possible dangerous and unseasonal events of a kind previously not known until a little over a decade ago, when devastating wildfire swept through the Mount Carmel forests in December 2010.
Moreover, apart from providing the flocks with a varied diet and saving shepherds money on fodder, appropriately controlled seasonal grazing has been found to enrich biological diversity in the forests and encourage the blooming of colorful anemones.
So next time you happen across sheep grazing in forests and parks, know that this is not a woolly situation at all. The flocks are fully authorized to be there and have the necessary permits. Their munching helps reduce baa-d fire dangers in KKL-JNF forests. Still, if hikers find it all a bit much they can always just make a ewe-turn.