Forests in Palestine

Posted in 2006 Papers

The Palestinian ecosystems defined here as West Bank and Gaza Strip, including East Jerusalem, are home to an estimated 23,159 hectares of forested areas. These forest environments provide a habitat for a great diversity of flora and fauna. This makes them an important key in protecting the biological resources of Palestine. Most of natural forest can provide a base for preserving very different ecosystems ranging from closed maquis forest to open grassland and batha. The Palestinian plant formations possess 60 species of natural trees and 90 of bush distributed all over Palestine. Natural, planted, and bare forests are the types of forests distinguished in Palestine. The natural forests are the main forest types inhabiting Palestine (79.1%), wherein Pinus spp., Ceratonia spp., Pistacia spp., Quercus spp., and Ziziphus spp. are the most representative tree species. Forests in the Palestinian Territory crucially contribute to the Palestinian economy through their non-timber forest products such as fruits, nuts, honey, wax, resins, dyes as well as timber/firewood as inputs for industry and heating. Perhaps the most important are the ecological functions of trees, notably by providing water retention, soil protection, biological diversity preservation, and climate stability. In addition, they represent a recreation center as a natural attraction. Little information has been collected about the contribution of forests to the economy in Palestinian Territories over the last centuries where successive wars and occupations did not give the chance for Palestinian development of research and inventory to take place. However, a Palestinian Forest Policy within the Ministry of Agriculture, Strategic Options, and Scenarios have been formulated with the aim to preserve forestlands and increase their areas, to conserve wild plants and animals and to organize their exploitation.

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