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Forest Service ecologists exchange expertise with Israel on forest management

ISRAEL – In mid-October, California-based regional ecologists Hugh Safford, Pacific Southwest Region, and Malcolm North, Pacific Southwest Research Station, traveled to Israel to participate in a conference on forest ecosystems and management and to conduct related field visits. Dr. Safford delivered the keynote address during the conference, addressing links between forest mortality and fire severity and the role of wildfire use in resource management in California. Dr. North offered a presentation on post-fire reforestation practices.

Like California, Israel is shaped by seasonal drought. Winter precipitation, which widely varies between years, must supply water through 5-6 warm summer months without any precipitation. Under these conditions, fire is inevitable and has shaped both most ecosystems in both regions. The US and Israeli Forest Services have worked together for many years on ecosystem and fire management topics of mutual interest. Connections have been especially strong between California and Israel (and other Mediterranean Basin countries), due to similar climate, flora, and ecosystem management concerns.

Field visits before and after the conference included the Kedoshim Long-Term Ecological Research site in the Jerusalem Hills, a national park, Ramat Hanadiv ecological reserve in northern Israel to view science application to management, and several forest reserves to discuss climate change adaptation efforts and restoration work.

This trip was organized by the International Programs office.

Malcolm North discussing fuel treatment management with Israeli colleagues at the Ramat Hanadiv ecological reserve. USDA Forest Service photo by Hugh Safford.

Hugh Safford with an Israeli colleague discussing possible treatments to reduce Aleppo pine regeneration density at the Mt. Carmel experimental site. USDA Forest Service photo by Hugh Safford.