Alarming increase in loss of open landscapes in Israel

The rate of removal of open landscapes is high, with an average of per year for development between 2017 and 2020.

Tel Aviv: The latest Israeli State of Nature Report found an alarming increase in the loss of open landscapes and in the frequency and scale of wildfires across the country, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said.

The annual State of Nature Report was written by Israel’s National Ecosystem Program, a partnership between the Ministry, the Jewish National Fund, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and Tel Aviv University, reports Xinhua news agency.

This comprehensive report presents the trends and processes occurring in Israel’s ecosystems, aiming to provide a scientific basis for developing sustainable management mechanisms for open landscapes and biodiversity in Israel.

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The report, which covers land-use changes, vegetation cover, mapping and protection of landscapes, light pollution and the impact of climate change on biodiversity, found that the rate of removal of open landscapes in Israel is high, with an average of 30 removed per year for development between 2017 and 2020.

Meanwhile, the increasing frequency of fires significantly impacted ecosystems in Israel and impeded their recovery, and most of the areas with a high frequency of fires are located in and around military training grounds, it added.

About 500, or 15 per cent, of the natural and afforested landscapes in the Mediterranean zone in Israel have been burned at least once between 2015 and 2021, according to the report.

In addition, about a quarter of the grasslands in the country were burned in the same period.

It also found that 67 per cent of Israeli territory north of the southern city of Beer Sheva is lit up at night at high intensities, harming ecosystems and organisms living in them, and 78 per cent of Israel’s beaches are exposed to a higher intensity of artificial night lighting than that of a full moon.

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