Managing and Studying Forests at KKL-JNF

How does KKL-JNF work with trees to improve the environment in Israel? Read on!

KKL-JNF manages and maintains 300,000 acres (120,000 hectares) of woodland and open spaces, which remove approx. 1.2 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere each year. Backed by careful planning and research, the forests are managed in accordance with our sustainable development policy that combines environmental preservation with strictly regulated development.


The desert is a unique ecosystem, not normally characterized by forests. How, then, did KKL-JNF achieve the stunning feat of 40,000 acres (16,000 hectares) of desert afforestation to date?

This is due to the afforestation methods developed by KKL-JNF for the desert; savannization – planting single trees or clusters of trees in areas where climatic conditions do not permit woodlands or shrubs to grow without substantial human intervention.

Their growth relies on advanced water harvesting techniques that capture runoff rainwater in ridges, depressions, terraces and limans (tree clusters planted in reinforced water catchment basins). Savannization has an added value to it as well: the trees slow down soil erosion, one of the biggest environmental problems in the Negev.
An example of Savannization: A sapling planted in the desert area of Nahal Karkor. The sapling is protected by a sleeve to control climate factors and a ditch has been dug around it to contain water from flash flood runoff. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

Research - The Tree of Knowledge

Our forests would not be what they are without research – we take our forestry work seriously! We study what to plant and how to match trees with their environment to create and restore habitats to their original state.

At KKL-JNF, we are committed to forestry research to improve the quality of our trees, to develop environmentally friendly methods of dealing with pests, prevent erosion and desertification and create forests that people can enjoy.
A tree being monitored at the LTER station in Yatir Forest. Photo: Tania Susskind
A tree being monitored at the LTER station in Yatir Forest. Photo: Tania Susskind

Forest Management – An Unending Task

Despite our best efforts forests change – trees grow older, fires break out and sometimes aggressive pests attack. To keep our forests healthy and thriving, we have to battle these elements by maintaining a top-notch firefighting system and early-warning fire network, maintaining forests and preserving them, and rehabilitating burnt areas, in short, by continuing to invest in our forests, even when we think our work is done.

Sharing Our Forestry Knowledge

Following the UN Climate Change Conferences, KKL-JNF updated its environmental policy to contribute to the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We will continue the essential work we are already doing and improve it by:
  • Planting trees to prevent soil erosion, conserve soil and reduce soil carbon emissions
  • Sharing our knowledge with developing countries helping them implement more environmental methods of forestry and farming
  • Developing strategies to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to climate change: green construction, solar and other alternative energy sources