By Alon Tal
Read or Download All the Trees of the Forest: Israel’s Woodlands from the Bible to the Present PDF
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Extra resources for All the Trees of the Forest: Israel’s Woodlands from the Bible to the Present
The local Arab population also did not welcome the trees. This hostile reception translated into chronic disregard for grazing restraints, intermittent vandalism, arson, and even violence against forestry ofﬁcials. Moreover, the perplexing land registration dynamics, the political ambivalence that soon reigned among senior decision makers in London and Jerusalem, World War II, along with inadequate program funding and professional personnel, constituted a recipe for failure. To some extent, the disappointing results can also be attributed to the lofty aspirations that the British foresters set for themselves from the outset.
The most serious effort to reconstruct the boundaries of the historic vegetative cover throughout Israel was undertaken over ﬁfty years ago by geographer Hanah Margalit, as part of her doctoral dissertation. ≥π Integrating the many travel reports that had survived through the ages, ancient maps, and British aerial photography from the end of World War I, they sketched the landscape that existed in Ottoman Palestine before the modern British-Zionist era. Margalit not only demarcated the few remaining and decimated state forests, but also reconstructed the agriculture and crop proﬁle that existed in centuries past.
A few ﬁrst-hand reports from the period describe acute ecological decline. ∑∂ Located in the ‘‘triangle’’ in Israel’s heartland on the hills overlooking Wadi Ara, Umm-el-Fahem is one of the oldest Arab communities in Israel, ﬁrst documented in writing in 1262. The village’s name, ‘‘the mother of charcoal,’’ reﬂected the local economic specialization: preparing charcoal from the surrounding forests and groves. Today, as one passes through the ofﬁces of the city’s art museum, one sees a large image celebrating the local heritage: an archival photograph of trees piled high, waiting to be burned internally to prepare charcoal.
All the Trees of the Forest: Israel’s Woodlands from the Bible to the Present by Alon Tal