KKL-JNF Sustainability Policy

KKL-JNF champions the principle of sustainable development, the meaning of which actually can be found within the organization’s very name “Keren Kayemeth” (“kayamut” is Hebrew for sustainability) – making it a part of the organization’s worldview.
Allocation of lands and natural resources in Israel by the KKL-JNF is based on the use of “interest” on the “principle” that nature provides, together with meticulous protection of the “principle” for the future.

Protection of natural resources and ensuring the quality of life for all residents of Israel and their descendants is a paramount environmental objective among KKL-JNF’s organizational priorities.

Sustainable development constitutes the natural continuation of the historic role of the KKL-JNF: Protection of the land and its development for the benefit of the entire people, today and tomorrowte

Afforestation Objectives

KKL-JNF, through its Land Development Authority, is the official afforestation administration for Israel, pursuant to a covenant signed with the government in 1961. The KKL-JNF’s afforestation policy is designed to serve all of Israel’s citizens today and in the future, and shall be based on the principles of sustainable development.

Consistent with these principles, KKL-JNF forest management will entail:

  • An ecological approach that will be implemented consistent with the natural ecosystem, and not counter to it.
  • Societal considerations according to which the forest serves the public and the community.
  • Promotion of economic uses and initiatives that include tourism development, grazing, timber industries, etc.
  • Opening the forests to the public for free with unrestricted access, in keeping with the principle of intra-generational equality.
  • Preservation of the extent of Israel’s woodlands and their quality out of concern for future generations.

The KKL-JNF is committed to the implementation of international treaties to which Israel is a signatory in the sphere of afforestation and environmental protection, such as Agenda 21, as well as the implementation plan pursuant to the afforestation sections of the Johannesburg Convention, the War on Desertification, Biodiversity conservation, and more.

Ofakim Park. Photo: Tania Susskind, KKl-JNF Photo Archive

The objectives of afforestation are:

  • Improving the landscape and ensuring its diversity.
  • Providing vacation, recreational, and hiking spaces for the public.
  • Preservation and strengthening of Israel’s ecosystems and natural processes in order to enable the forests to sustain ecological services.
  • Increasing the planting of trees by the public, as well as strengthening its connection to Israel’s forests.
  • Increasing the economic utilization of forests and of other areas planted with trees.
  • Creation of employment during times of economic crisis.
  • Arboreal protection.
  • Participation in the preservation of Israel’s open spaces.

Financial income from forests, whether from wood production or otherwise, will be considered a secondary output of forest maintenance, and shall not constitute a primary objective of afforestation in Israel.

Planting forests and / or their rehabilitation, and likewise the care of existing woodlands, shall be performed at maximum efficiency and shall be implemented using the most natural processes possible.

Applied afforestation policies shall be based on afforestation and ecological theories, as well as on the vast practical experience accumulated in the management of Israel’s open spaces.

Where it all starts: KKL-JNF tree nursery. Photo: Tania Susskind, KKl-JNF Photo Archive

The concept of sustainability will be manifested in the creation of sustainable forests together with the establishment of professional principles of management, accordingly:

  • Determination of the composition of forests will be made in order to maximize the natural renewal of trees, supplemented with planting, based on the diversity of existing eco-systems in forested areas.
  • Consultation with the public, afforestation professionals and stakeholders will be made in order to adapt the objectives and the physical makeup of forests to the expectations of their users and others who will be affected by them.
  • The tree plantings and maintenance of the forest will be conducted in a manner that will not harm the environment in the long term.
  • Use of the forest for recreation and for grazing will be carried out without causing harm to natural systems.
  • Planning the mix of forests will be made with the objective of increasing, to the extent possible, ecological durability and natural renewability, while minimizing as much as possible ongoing management activity.
  • Physical, legal and administrative protection of woodlands and open spaces will be made against development in order to ensure their availability for future generations.
  • Protection of trees is done in order to preserve natural scenery and heritage.
  • Ongoing improvement of management practices is based on up-to-date knowledge, information, and experience based on research and forest monitorin.
Ilanot Forest. Photo: Tania Susskind, KKl-JNF Photo Archive

Bringing Israel’s Freshwater Streams Back to Life

As KKL-JNF sees Israel’s freshwater streams as a natural and scenic treasure as well as a vital social, historical, spiritual, tourism and ecological resource, it will continue, together with its historic partners, to do everything in its power to rehabilitate the streams.

The KKL-JNF seeks to restore Israel’s streams for the public’s benefit and enjoyment, as well as to protect nature. The KKL-JNF sees freshwater stream rehabilitation as a national initiative and an historic project as part of its ongoing mission to redeem the Land of Israel.

Israel’s freshwater streams have always constituted an integral part of Israel’s cultural landscape, and their rehabilitation is a modern-day expression of the mission of redeeming the Land. Freshwater streams are sites for activities such as swimming, fishing, sailing, hiking, recreation, and a quiet place for prayer and contemplation. The KKL-JNF will strive to meet the diverse demands of the public, as well as to improve the streams’ physical, hydrological, and ecological functioning.

Each stream has its own character and properties. As such, stream rehabilitation must be founded on a detailed master plan that gives expression to each stream’s special character and physical environment, containing its ecosystem and the needs of local residents. At the same time, there are fundamental, unifying principles that characterize all KKL-JNF rehabilitation activities.

Freshwater streams should represent a window into Israel’s recent and ancient past, and rehabilitation activity must add to the transparency of that window, to the historical landscape that it reflects. According to the philosophy that has emerged over the years, the objective of freshwater stream rehabilitation is not to replicate the streams’ primeval characteristics, but rather to enable their ecosystems to recover and transform them into balanced, yet dynamic entities aided by natural processes.
Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive
Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive
Those same freshwater streams that lie in the heart of Israel’s crowded center obligate KKL-JNF to encourage personal and community involvement in their ongoing planning and management. The KKL-JNF sees the streams’ environments as total and complex ecosystems, the balance between whose components must be preserved. Israel’s freshwater streams play an important role as buffer zones between urban blocs, and they make an important contribution to shaping the relationship between Israel’s open spaces and built-up zones. Therefore their rehabilitation must improve, and subsequently preserve and maintain this delicate relationship. Furthermore, streams play a vital and central role in the drainage of floodwaters. Therefore, their rehabilitation must combine all of the above-stated functions in planning and implementation.

The rehabilitation of Israel’s freshwater stream requires the preservation of their Mediterranean character, manifested in the abundance of water in the winter (flooding) and the gradual lessening of water during the dry season. This seasonal hydrological model is the foundation for the unique biological dynamic of freshwater streams in our region. The creek bed is accompanied by the unique properties of the land, which is also an integral part of the stream’s ecosystem.

The stream rehabilitation process is a prolonged one, stretching over years, and its success depends upon a combination of activities and pollution prevention measures along its drainage basin. Furthermore, it is a process that crosses borders and requires the addressing of pollution sources along the entire drainage path, including some lying in jurisdictions that are not under Israel’s administration or sovereignty. The KKL-JNF will take on part of these activities as per its budgetary and professional capacity, including improving water quality.

The Israel Stream Authority was established in 1985 to advance cooperation between various bodies whose objective is to bring about the successful restoration of Israel’s freshwater streams. As an organization with professional expertise and operational capabilities at its disposal, that is prepared to lead the national rehabilitation effort and cooperate with all parties involved, the KKL-JNF remains committed to joint activity with government agencies, local governments, public interest groups, scientists, and private partners to advance stream rehabilitation.

As such, a distinction must be drawn between rehabilitation of year-round streams, whose clean water flow must be restored, and seasonal streams, wherein rehabilitation must focus on natural systems. Despite the fact that seasonal streams differ in character from perennial streams, many of the KKL-JNF’s stream rehabilitation principles apply equally to seasonal streams.

The KKL-JNF’s freshwater stream restoration policy is founded on the four cornerstones of sustainable development: ecology, economics, social welfare, and inter-generational responsibility.