“We have planted millions of trees in the last decade. We have also constructed reservoirs, developed agricultural technologies for making the desert bloom, along with irrigation methods, including lessons learned from the achievements of the Nabatean desert dwellers, and various creative methods for wastewater treatment.”
Stenzler also noted KKL-JNF’s contribution to different projects in several developing countries including some with whom Israel does not have official relations. Perhaps, as a result of the success of these projects, the official relations issues will be resolved, as has happened in similar situations in the past.
Stenzler said that KKL-JNF is the largest green organization in Israel today and expanded on the matter of the fallow year (shmita in Hebrew) in Jewish tradition, which relates to the relationship between man and soil, the incessant exploitation of natural resources and the importance of the sabbatical year for the soil, trees and crops in Israel to get some rest. “Together we can work for a better future,” he concluded.
In a discussion with Chief Forester Dr. David Brand, he stated that “there is great importance in events of this kind, which enable encounters between decision makers on the highest levels, researchers, scientists and professionals, who deal with the issues and challenges in this field on a daily basis. All parties act with genuine intentions to prevent the degradation of ecosystems, agriculture and soil, but there is a gap in the language and understanding of the subject. The scientists often speak in terms that are not understood by the decision makers and do not understand their constraints, while policy makers often want to be told what needs to be done in simple terms."
“No less important,” continued Brand, “is KKL-JNF's participation in an event such as this and its involvement co-producing it. KKL-JNF has extensive and advanced expertise, and many years of experience in Israel and other countries, in everything related to ecosystems degradation, in combating the phenomenon of desertification, and in sensible sustainability management. KKL-JNF is an organization that not only conducts research studies and long term monitoring but also employs fieldworkers who know how to apply the findings of the studies and monitoring. KKL-JNF’s participation in this event allows it to expose its diverse activities to visitors from all over the world, to establish new contacts and to strengthen its significant role in this field.”
Dr. Brand also said that many joint meetings were being held with representatives and forestry directors from different countries including Turkey, South Korea, Armenia, Namibia and the EU, and that “Monique Barbut cordially suggested that we attend the conference in Ankara on combating desertification and present some of our innovative ideas there.”