January 6, 2011 | By Michal Reihanian
Today we mark a month since the declared national disaster brush fire on Mt. Carmel in Israel. Five million trees were burned and nearly 8,000 acres of woodlands destroyed. But the forest has already started its regeneration. On the floor of the Carmel forest, millions of seeds released by pine cones during the fire have settled into the earth and ash, and some fresh grass and flowers have already appeared after a first burst of winter rains.
There is general agreement that the forest should be allowed to regenerate naturally, a process that will take decades. The pine seeds will naturally produce an abundance of new seedlings. In another few years they will have to thin out the trees, and take measures to prevent the next fires. The focus now will be on sustainable management of the forest in way that would enable it to regenerate with a variety of trees and survive in Israel’s dry climate – and under heavy public use. Eventually native species such as oak and pistacia will be planted to produce a mixed, less-vulnerable forest. The burned areas will serve as a living lab.
I can help you plan a trip to see how nature, with a little help from humans, is restoring this beautiful National Park and bringing back the home of all its incredible wildlife. Don’t miss this opportunity to see the rebirth of a forest and the return of one of the greatest sources of Israeli national pride.