National Master Plan 22 for Forests and Afforestation

NOP 22. the National Outline Plan for Forests and Afforestation, was drafted in 1990-95. Adding a vital aspect to national planning, it relates to the attributes of open spaces and the cultivation of their assets. It classifies and stipulates types of forest and afforestation, guiding their conservation, cultivation and integration into overall planning, covering a total area of 1.62 million dunams, (7.4% of the country) containing various forms of forests and reservations.

Future forestry areas were chosen with care, in recognition of the merits of spatial assets and their benefit to man, and out of concern for the shrinkage of open spaces due to development pressures. It lays down elements of organizing both built-up and open spaces in the center of the country, the most densely populated, saturated area, stipulating designated forestry areas primarily for public benefit: riverside plantings along the streams descending from the hills to the sea and interfingering central cities, coastal parks on the sandy shoreline strip, and the hilly axis of the eastern lowlands. The National Master Plan for Forests and Afforestation has two overall goals, yielding a series of subordinate aims.

The two main goals are: Protecting Israel’s vegetative resources – including its planted forests and natural woodlands; Maintaining quality of the environment as an open, green “home front” for the population, for purposes of relaxation, leisure and recreation. For each goal, subordinate aims were stipulated with further elaboration and reference.

The aims were subdivided into categories – social, environmental, scenic-natural and economic. In the years since NOP 22’s approval, sustainable development became a key concept for planners in Israel and around the world. This approach was weighed with respect to the forestry system, and amplified. To adopt and foster approaches of sustainable afforestation means: “Managing and utilizing forests in a manner and to a degree that protect and sustain the biological diversity, productivity, regeneration, vitality, and potential of forests to fill ecological, economic and social functions without causing harm to other ecosystems.”

Since its approval, NOP 22 has markedly impacted on planning and development. It has been assimilated by all national and regional outline plans, and has reached the level of local planning.

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