August 04, 2007

The environment, at a crossroads


By Michael J. Caduto

News from the Middle East usually describes conflicts and their root causes in
politics, religious fundamentalism and the struggle between Israelis and
Palestinians for a homeland. Threats to peace and security are indeed a
backdrop for daily existence, but that is only part of the story.

Continue reading "The environment, at a crossroads" »

Kinneret Basin Authority formed to revive area

The Jerusalem Post

Aug. 1, 2007

rory kress

The Kinneret Basin Authority was established this week to protect the soil in the region surrounding Israel's largest freshwater source.

Lake Kinneret has long been an environmental concern due to its receding water level, and most recently, last week's forced closing of its public beaches due to sewage contamination of the water.

Continue reading "Kinneret Basin Authority formed to revive area" »

July 26, 2007

Israelis discover bug that saves eucalyptus groves


July 25, 2007

By Eli Ashkenazi

A tiny wasp that has ravaged eucalyptus groves in the Mediterranean Basin, Africa and the Far East, and which arrived in Israel a few years ago, has proven anew that no organism is eternally dominant. Israeli researchers have found a predator one millimeter in length called Closterocerus, which thwarts the wasp's advance.

Continue reading "Israelis discover bug that saves eucalyptus groves" »

Lacking water, trees turn to carbon dioxide


July 25, 2007

By Mijal Grinberg

Towering over the trees of the Yatir Forest on the southern slopes of Mount Hebron is a green metallic building. Passersby may mistake it for just another weather forecast station, but in fact, the research conducted there could help combat desertification around the world. The research station, operated by the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, is the only facility in the Middle East capable of measuring greenhouse gases.

Continue reading "Lacking water, trees turn to carbon dioxide" »

July 11, 2007

Israeli discovery paves way for cost-efficient wood alternative

Israel 21c

July 01, 2007


By Ilana Teitelbaum

From the moment we wake up in the morning and open a box of cereal to the hours we spend at work among printers, faxes, and copying machines, to times spent relaxing in the evening with a magazine or mass market paperback, we are constantly surrounded by paper.

Continue reading "Israeli discovery paves way for cost-efficient wood alternative" »

July 01, 2007

Wilderness almost non-existent on planet Earth: study

Middle East Times

June 28, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO-- Humans have domesticated the planet to such a degree that few untouched spots remain, researchers report in a review article published in the journal Science.

Earth is so tamed that conservationism should shift focus from protecting nature from humans to better understanding and managing a domesticated world, the authors said.

Continue reading "Wilderness almost non-existent on planet Earth: study" »

War-ravaged northern forests get makeover


Jun. 27, 2007

Sheera Claire Frenkel

Nature filled the Land of Israel with olive, cypress, tamarisk, acacia, and carob trees. Now, after years of planting pines in their place, the Jewish National Fund is replenishing the trees native to Israel's northern forests which were devastated by the Second Lebanon War.

Continue reading "War-ravaged northern forests get makeover" »

June 19, 2007

Jordan's forest areas threatened by desertification, logging

Jordan Times

June 18, 2007

Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN -- Jordan's 1 per cent of green cover is expected to disappear in the coming few years, unless serious measures are taken, the Jordanian Society for Desertification Control and Badia Development (JSDCBD) warned on Sunday.

"The Kingdom's forests are decreasing as a result of illegal logging and random grazing of livestock by ranchers. People are uprooting trees for constructing investment projects and houses, instead of planting trees," JSDCBD President Abdul Latif Arabiyat told The Jordan Times yesterday.

Continue reading "Jordan's forest areas threatened by desertification, logging" »

March 11, 2007

Herzliya's hidden wildlife wealth


March 7, 2007

By Zafrir Rinat

The coastal plain used to be full of winter ponds that would fill with rainwater and dry up in the summer. After years of construction and agricultural use, most have disappeared, and only three large winter ponds remain in Israel.

One is in western Herzliya, and the municipality is seeking to build a park in its place. Part of the area does indeed suffer from neglect and disuse, but a careful survey found it is a hidden trove of flora and fauna that may disappear along with the pond.

Continue reading "Herzliya's hidden wildlife wealth" »

March 03, 2007

Biblical roots at Neot Kedumim

The Jerusalem Post

Feb. 22, 2007


In summer, fig trees bear their succulent fruit; in autumn, boughs of olives suggest the impending harvest; by winter, citrons hang heavy with scent.

This is Neot Kedumim, Israel's biblical landscape reserve.

Continue reading "Biblical roots at Neot Kedumim" »

February 28, 2007

Quarries do damage you can see - and some you can't

The Daily Star

February 26, 2007

State inaction allows industry to imperil water resources and depress property values
By Hani M. Bathish
Special to The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Some of Lebanon's most picturesque areas bear the unsightly scars of quarrying, a frequent visual reminder of what can happen when the state consistently fails to regulate an industry whose work has so much potential for far-reaching side-effects. But the damage is more than skin-deep: The quarry industry's de facto freedom to act as it sees fit also contributes to a variety of economic, environmental and public-health problems whose impacts are no less damaging for their lower visibility.

Continue reading "Quarries do damage you can see - and some you can't" »

King reiterates importance of land use plan

Jordan Times

February 22, 2007

AMMAN (Petra) — His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday reiterated the importance of the land use plan, part of the Amman Master Plan prepared by the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM).

Continue reading "King reiterates importance of land use plan" »

February 19, 2007

2,000-year-old date seed grows in the Arava


Last Update February 25, 2007

By Ofri Ilani

The wind ruffles the leaves of the date sapling in its planter, and Dr. Elaine Soloway quickly shields it. "There's only one plant like this in the world, and I'm still worried about it," she says. Methuselah - that is the sapling's name - is indeed unique. In 2005, Soloway, from Kibbutz Ketura in the Arava, germinated it from a 2,000-year-old date seed found at Masada.

Continue reading "2,000-year-old date seed grows in the Arava" »

January 30, 2007

Environmental studies MA and research positions

We are looking for masters students in environmental studies for the
AKIS/AIES program. We accept students with BA or BSc who are looking
to work in topics related to the environments. Currently we have few

§ Masters on environmental legislation and policy. Hebrew
reading and writing, BA or BSc, subject less important. Date of start
25th February 2007. Need to apply ASAP.

§ Masters on the impact of grazing on biodiversity. The study
looks at Bedouin decision making regarding grazing, for example: where
to take the herds at different seasons, ratio of goats to sheep, herd
size, who herds them. Also it looks at the behaviour of the goats and
sheep and the impact on desert plants. Could chose one of the above
subjects only. Requires BSc in biology, agriculture or related
subjects, or BA in humanities. Date of start 25th February 2007. Need
to apply ASAP.

§ Masters on domestication of desert plant species in Jordan.
Wild plants that have undergone domestication can be grown for
agriculture. We would like to try and introduce some of them to
Jordan. Requires BSc in biology, agriculture or related subjects.
Date of start 14th October 2007.

§ Masters on conservation of rare desert plants. In an attempt
to save rare species, we will look for populations in Jordan. Requires
BSc in biology, agriculture or related subjects. Date of start 14th
October 2007.

Storms blasting California oranges prove a boon for Israeli farmers


24.1.07 | 11:15 By Amiram Cohen
Israel's farmers are making hay as the sun shines in the Middle East and storms
whip at California, the source of most things orange in the U.S.

The icy weather and pounding precipitation destroyed 70% of the state's citrus
crop, and counting.

The damage in California, which is the world's largest citrus producer, is
estimated at a billion dollars.

How does Israel benefit? Japan is taking advantage of the citrus crisis as an
opportunity to renew its imports from Israel for the first time since 1988,
says Tal Amit, head of the citrus sector at Israel's Plants Production and
Marketing Board.

Japan had stopped importing citrus from Israel for economic reasons. But
recently Israeli farmers received orders to ship 800 tons of oranges a week.

Amit said yesterday that he expected additional citrus orders by Japanese and
South East Asian markets. He doesn't believe the shortfall in California would
affect prices here, though.

This potential boon comes at a point where citrus prices have climbed
considerably over the past year.

During the third week of January, retail prices of red grapefruit were 33
percent above the same period last year. Similarly, prices are up for white
pomellos (19 percent), red pomellos (35 percent), and pomelits (78 percent).

In the wake of the disaster, Spain and Morocco, both major citrus suppliers to
the European Union, decided to redirect a considerable share of their crops to
the U.S., leaving the EU out in the cold.

January 22, 2007

Traditional hima system offers more flexible alternative to Western-style conservation

Indigenous technique has long history of involving communities in protecting
their own environment
By Maria Abi-Habib
Daily Star staff
Wednesday, January 17, 2007

BEIRUT: Nature conservation in Lebanon now has a new face with the revival of
the hima, a 1,000-year-old method of sustainable development. The Society for
the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL) is building partnerships with
villages to create himas - areas in which wildlife and natural resources are
protected from exploitation and used in a responsible manner.

"The idea behind himas is the hima versus the nature reserve. Himas are
community-based conservation," says SPNL general director Assad Serhal. "Nature
reserves ... in the Middle East are a translation of the Western system to
conserve biodiversity. The hima is from our region and has evolved over time to
include sustainability to allow us to use nature for our survival, whereas in
nature reserves you can't even step into the area."

Himas give back to the community by generating income with ecotourism activities
such as hiking. Traditional businesses will also be revived, including basket
weaving and bed and breakfasts.

"The human angle here is very important," says Serhal. "We can't only be
romantic about nature, [we also need to be] practical. For the local people
conservation is not enough; they want to see the profits and benefits. You have
to be realistic."

Himas were in use over 1,000 years ago in the Middle East, serving as communal
plots of land for sustainable use of wildlife and vegetation. The first modern
hima in Lebanon was created from a bird sanctuary in 2004, on land considered
an important bird area by Bird Life International (BLI).

Initially attempting to figure out how best to preserve the bird sanctuary, SPNL
decided himas were preferable to nature reserves across the country.

"We work for the birds and also for the people through the himas at the same
time," says Ibrahim al-Khader, head of BLI's Middle East division. "People may
be the problem, but they are also the solution."

Two land himas have already been created in Lebanon, the first in Ibl as-Saqi in
Marjayoun and the other in Kfar Zabad, in the Bekaa. A marine hima is also under
construction off the coast of Qleileh, outside Tyre.

In an attempt to raise awareness of the himas' benefits, the SPNL announced
Tuesday that it has published the first Arabic translation of Richard Porter's
"Field Guide to the Birds of the Middle East."

Porter is a UK-based ornithologist and conservation expert. The book was first
published in English in 1996 and is the only field guide to the region's birds.

"Water conservation and the threat to wetlands from draining marshes are very
dangerous for Middle Eastern birds, but so are hunting and cutting down trees,"
Porter says. "The solution to this is to make people understand their
environment and then they'll see the threats it faces and want to help.
Hopefully this book will help their understanding."

"We train the villagers and provide them with capacity building and teach them
how to manage the hima in a sustainable way," says Khader. "You offer them
alternatives for income like ecotourism, a bed and breakfast and selling local
goods. At the same time you're teaching them about the benefits their land
offers - and we're not taking their land away from them" as opposed to
government-controlled nature reserves.

Serhal believes that people will continue to exploit natural resources as long
as they are marginalized from the process of conservation.

"If you don't involve the community, in times of hardship they'll scale the
fences of a ... reserve and exploit its resources," he says. "In a hima the
community owns everything - the medicinal and edible plants, water, birds or
fish - which we teach them to manage."

Lebanon will host a regional hima workshop in March.

"There used to be a hima in every village," says Serhal. "We only destroyed this
in the last 30-40 years, [isolating] from nature, and we've lost touch with

Making money out of thin air

Israel may soon ‘sell’ air at special ‘stock market’ trading oxygen emitted by

Amir Ben-David
Published: 01.16.07, 12:30

Air stock market? Yes, there is such a thing. There is also a chance that Israel
will join it and start making money off the rockets that fell during the second
Lebanon war .

Allow us to explain. Human actions on earth, mainly the burning of fuels and the
emission of gases, as well as the interference with various natural processes,
have brought about the interruption of the natural balance which previously
existed here.

The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
is the main international system designed to deal with that issue.

Among other things, the protocol allows for entities which “stop” the emission
of toxic gases into the air (buy planting trees) to calculate the amount of
gaseous activity their intervention actually prevented.

The protocol also allows for the “worth” of the above gases to be sold in a
special international “stock market”.

Those who pay are the operators of industrial factories and other international
companies which are required to cut down on the amount of toxic gas they emit,
although that proved to be a difficult task.

It is here that the Jewish National Fund (JNF) enters the picture along with the
many trees consumed by fires during the Lebanon war.

Money could be used to maintain forests
The head of strategic planning at JNF, Yishai Schechter, said that planting new
trees would increase Israel’s contribution to the prevention of unwanted gases
being emitted into the air.

If enough trees were planted in place of the ones burned down during the war,
JNF would be able to join the Kyoto Protocol and earn an income of hundreds of
thousands of shekels each year – money which could then be used to maintain

JNF was looking into whether the replanting of over 12 thousand dunam (3
thousand acres) of trees burned during the war would count as replanting and
not “restoring” the forest, which would not earn Israel points at the
international air stock market, otherwise known as The Clean Development
Mechanism (CDM).

Another point being looked into was whether or not it was profitable to replant
the number of trees needed for Israel to join the protocol.

JNF's estimates showed that the addition of any less than 10 thousand dunam
(2,500 acres) of forest area would not be profitable due to the high expenses
involved in the process.,7340,L-3352941,00.html

Editorial: Greener is better

Jordan Times

We have just celebrated Arbor Day by planting about 60,000 trees in 13 different
areas of the country.

That Prince Feisal, deputising for King Abdullah, took part in the event shows
support and determination, at the highest echelons, to make the country

There was a time when Jordan had considerably more vegetation, with forests much
more plentiful. According to historians, it was during World War I, and
specifically during the Ottoman rule, that forests were targeted and trees cut
to generate fuel and for construction. At the end of that era, forest areas in
the country were reduced to almost the current size.

Since we started to observe Arbor Day, the process of afforestation was set in
motion and thousands of trees, especially the drought-resistant kind, were
planted. Still the country looks barren when compared to many others. This
means we have yet a long way to go.

The question that remains, however, is why we failed to make our country greener
so far. There must be something wrong with the plans in place for this purpose
if we have so little to show for.

There is every reason to believe that had there been a more determined policy to
make the Kingdom greener, success could have been scored beyond the current
dismal rate. If trees could grow in the past, what is to prevent them from
growing now?

A more concerted effort must be exerted if we wish the country greener. But for
that to be attained, annual celebrations and tree-planting ceremonies are not

What about the construction boom that so savagely destroys nature in its wake?
What about inconsiderate citizens who show no respect for the little plant life
we have? Who litter, burn and cut the trees they so avidly seek when going for a

What about intelligent zoning regulations that put as much value, or maybe more,
on greenery as on concrete and tar?

The official drive to make the country green is there. Science and experience
help choose judiciously what to plant in a country starved for water. But much
more is needed to raise the citizen’s awareness than planting once a year, as
laudable as this is.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

October 06, 2006

CFP: The First Regional Scientific Conference on Traditional Arabic and Islamic Medicine

==== Message forwarded from Arisha Ashraf

The First Regional Scientific Conference on Traditional Arabic and
Islamic Medicine

Amman, Jordan August 8-10, 2007

Call for Papers:

We would like to invite all bodies and institutions, research centers,
and interested parties working on Arabic medicinal plants to
participate in The First Regional Scientific Conference on Traditional
Arabic and Islamic Medicine to be held in Amman, Jordan. The
conference will discuss historical and cultural aspects of Arabic and
Islamic medicine, and its contributions to modern medicine and human
well-being. The global scientific research on medicinal and aromatic
plants, pharmaceutical research, clinical trials, and international
legislation and intellectual property rights on Arabic and Islamic
medicinal plants of the region will also be reviewed.

Submission Guidelines:

Abstracts to be considered for oral presentation (or posters) should
include an outline of 1,000 words (2 A4 pages including Tables,
Figures and References if needed ). The Abstracts should be prepared
in a MS Word compatible format, on A4 size paper with margins of 2.5
cm. Only black and white colours are allowed. Abstracts should be
prepared in Times New Roman font using single spacing throughout the
text. The title should in bold-face type using 14 point font, while
the body of the abstract should be in plain text in 12 point font.
Please underline the presenting author. Insert one line between the
title and author name(s), one line between author name(s) and their
affiliation(s), and one line between the affiliation(s) and
the beginning of the text. The total size of the document must be
less than 4.5 megabytes. Abstracts should be sent via e-mail in an
attached file to by 31 January 2007.

Papers to be considered for publication should be submitted in full
text in Microsoft Word format not more than 4,500 words (8 A4 pages)
conforming to eCAM guidelines for authors ( ).
The deadline for submission of a full manuscript for review by the
Scientific Committee is 28 February 2007 . Manuscripts should be sent
via e-mail in an attached file to

Our conference website will be active by the end of October: