Cikk Hozzászólások

Zöld Izrael » Kiemelt, Természet, Természetvédelem » The Israel Nature and Parks Authority

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority

The Spirit of the Land
Conservation of Nature, Landscape, and Heritage in Israel
The Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) is a governmental body charged with the protection of nature, landscape and heritage in Israel. To carry out these functions properly, the INPA has three main goals:

1. Protection of biodiversity, ecosystems and landscapes in national parks, nature reserves and open spaces.

2. Protection of heritage sites in national parks and nature reserves and fostering them for the benefit of visitors.

3. Education to instill the values of protection of nature, landscape and heritage sites and to increase public awareness of these issues.

In August 1963, the Knesset passed the National Parks and Nature Reserves Authority, establishing two separate government bodies, the National Parks Authority and the Nature Reserves Authority. These two bodies were unified in 1998 to become the INPA.

The Structure of the INPA
The INPA is a legally incorporated body under the aegis of the environment minister. Most of its budgets are self-generated, mainly through entrance fees to nature reserves and national parks. The INPA’s activities cover five regions, each of which is in charge of its particular nature reserves and national parks, with their diverse natural assets.

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority
Significant Achievements
Despite the serious problems Israel faces, and the dearth of land and water resources, the INPA has achieved remarkable accomplishments: As of May 2007, 190 nature reserves and 66 national parks have been officially declared so far, covering an area of approximately 20 percent of Israel’s land mass. But the INPA does not rest on its laurels: More than 200 additional proposed nature reserves and national parks are in various stages of the declaration process.

Only in Israel
Israel is blessed with a variety of landscapes, climates, and rare natural assets. Despite its small size, Israel boasts Mount Hermon with its snow-capped peaks in the winter, green Mediterranean surroundings and wetlands and arid expanses. Israel also boasts a world record: the shore of the Dead Sea, which is the lowest place on the face of earth, and Makhtesh Ramon. These phenomena are present in Israel thanks to a rare combination of processes involving types of rock, geological events and climate change.

Our country’s variety of climates and habitats contributes greatly to the rich diversity of species. Its geographical location also plays an important role: Israel is the meeting place of plants and animals from Europe, Africa, and Asia. No fewer than 26 species of fresh-water fish inhabit Israel, along with six species of amphibians, some 90 species of reptiles, more than 500 bird species and 90 species of mammals.

Some 2,400 species of vascular plants flourish in Israel – an amazing variety in such a small country. More than 100 species are endemic, that is, they exist only in Israel and nowhere else on earth. In comparison, all of Great Britain, which is 10 times the size of Israel, has only 1,50 species of plants.

Israel is also special from the point of view of its contribution to world culture. Since the dawn of history many cultures have left their mark on this country. The faith in one God developed in the Land of Israel, and it is rich in sacred sites to Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other faiths.

Protection of NatureUntil the modern era, balance was more or less preserved between human activities and the world of flora and fauna. However thereafter, the development of lands for agriculture. uncontrolled hunting and the growth of communities took a great toll on groves and forests. Until the 19th century, animals such as the roe deer, the Syrian bear, the fallow deer, and the cheetah could still be seen. But firearms had wiped them out completely by the time the state was established.. Only after1955, when the Knesset passed the Wild Animals Protection Law, the country’s first nature conservation legislation, were conditions created for the protection of animals from extinction.

Reintroduction of Species

The INPA invests great efforts in supporting the population of wild animals that has survived in Israel and in reintroducing those that have become extinct. To this end the INPA operates two breeding centers, in the Arava and on Mount Carmel. at Hai-Bar Carmel we raise species that originated in the Middle East, while Hai Bar Yotvata fosters animals from Asia and Africa. So far, the INPA has successfully reintroduced to the wild in Israel onagers, Arabian oryxes, ostriches and fallow deer. Sahara oryx born at Hai Bar Yotvata have been donated to Ghana and reintroduced to their natural African environment. The INPA also works to strengthen endangered wild populations of species, including vultures and the spotted leopard.


The INPA is involved in a variety of activities to preserve biodiversity in Israel. It is active in educational efforts against the picking of wild flowers, enforcing laws against trafficking in wild plants, enforcing afforestation regulations to protect wild species in Israel, and preventing the illegal harvesting of spice plants.

Protection of Wild Animals
All animals in Israel are protected by law; hunting is prohibited unless the animals are considered sources of damage and have been officially declared permissible for hunting. Hunting is permitted as per wildlife protection regulations, which are periodically updated in keeping with changing conditions, and only with specifically permitted weapons. Clearly, some people oppose hunting on principle; however controlled hunting is a management technique that prevents an animal population explosion that would turn them into a source of damage. Thus, the use of poison for this purpose is avoided. In nature reserves, of course, harming wildlife is completely prohibited

Living water Utilization of water in Israel has resulted in a decline in the waterscapes with which Israel was blessed to only 0.03 percent of the country, amounting to only 8,500 dunams (2,125 acres)! Despite this harsh reality, the INPA has succeeded in obtaining special water allocations from the Water Commission for streams and wetland habitats. The water lily pools at the sources of the Yarkon and the Ein Afeq reserve are examples of wetland habitats that have been saved from destruction. In other reserves the INPA has dug pools and expanded bodies of water and moist meadowlands.

Protecting Nature’s Right to Water
The INPA, together with the Water and Streams Division of the Environment Ministry and other bodies, has prepared a program of water allocations for wetland habitats and protected streams in Israel to conserve the natural assets in these areas. In 2003, an official document was composed for the first time entitled “Nature’s Right to Water.” In it, the amount of water needed to maintain wetland habitats was estimated. The document reveals that most of the water needed by wetland habitats to conserve their diversity of species would be available for human use after it flows through the streams.

Saving Wetland Habitats
The INPA’s work in supporting water sources has saved a number of animal species from extinction. For example, Acanthobrama telavivensis, an endemic species of fish that in the past lived in bodies of water on the coastal plain, had become extinct in the wild. The INPA, in cooperation with the Zoology Department of Tel Aviv University and the Yarkon Stream Authority, has returned this fish to the coastal streams. This is an achievement of global note.

Coastal and Marine Areas

The Eilat Beaches

The Coral Beach Reserve, on the shores of the Gulf of Eilat, is the northern extent of the world of tropical corals, colorful fish and rare animals. Out of 11 kilometers of Eilat beach in Israeli territory, 1,200 meters have been declared a nature reserve. All of the gulf’s natural treasures are considered protected. The Coral Beach Reserve was one of the first nature reserves to be declared in Israel.

The Mediterranean Coast
Recently, with the risk of disappearance of coastal habitats the importance of declaring nature reserves along the Mediterranean coast has become apparent. The reserves along the 190 kilometers of Israel’s Mediterranean coast protect the world of flora and fauna of this special habitat. Ten national parks conserve the heritage of the region’s ancient coastal cities, among them Caesarea, Apollonia and Ashkelon.

Protection of the Open Sea

INPA efforts are also directed at protecting the open sea. Some 16 potential marine reserves have been identified, two of which have already been declared. Marine rangers monitor marine reserves by boat to prevent pollution and harm to marine animals.

Landscape Protection
The purpose of nature reserves is to ensure that Israel’s diverse landscapes remain in as natural a state as possible. The law defines a nature reserve as “an area in which flora, fauna, soil, caves, or water that are of interest to science or education are protected from unwanted changes in their appearance, their biological composition, and the process of their development.” In fact, the reserves protect all components of the landscape: the rocks and soil, plant life, animal populations, and archaeological sites.

Israel’s nature reserves protect not only landscapes popularly considered “beautiful” but also any open space that has special characteristics, such as woodlands and forests, wetlands, sand dunes, rain pools, and cliffs.

Involvement in landscape conservation
To accomplish its tasks, the INPA is involved not only in monitoring events as they occur, but also in planning and initiating operations. INPA rangers are also involved in the decision-making process of regional and national planning boards, where they represent INPA policy on environmental protection. The INPA works to protect natural assets and the integrity of quality landscapes with the goal of minimizing damage by development.

Rehabilitation after development and infrastructure projects
Many development projects, such as road-building, quarrying and building construction, change the landscape. The INPA invests great resources in minimizing the damage from such work and in rehabilitating ravaged landscapes. INPA infrastructure monitors keep a watch on the work of national infrastructure development bodies such as the Israel Electric Corporation and the National Roads Company, to ensure that their projects inflict as little damage as possible on the environment.

Protecting open spaces
Israel is one of the smallest and most densely populated countries on earth. Lack of space is a significant problem in Israel. Natural growth is high, and demand for space for construction and development is constantly on the rise and continually reducing the amount of open space. The INPA is working in various ways to protect Israel’s open spaces. The INPA has joined other bodies in creating a coalition to implement the Open Spaces Project. This coalition is working in a variety of ways, including planning, economics, the legal arena and public relations to create additional effective means of protection for open areas that will lead to their conservation in the future for the generations to come.

Protecting the greatness of the past
Israel’s historic and archaeological sites are assets that are hundreds and often thousands of years old, and are the foundation of our culture. The INPA sees the protection of these sites as of the utmost importance. Every decision regarding changes in these sites, which include Masada, Beit She’arim, and Megiddo, has significance and impact for the coming generations, since these are the sites that Israelis and visitors from abroad seek out in order to learn about the history and culture of the land. Thus, the INPA carefully protects the archaeological sites in its national parks and nature reserves. As required by the rules of professional ethics and international agreements, the INPA also protects the buffer zones around these sites so as to conserve the historic “arena of the story” and the link between sites and their surroundings.

The national parks and nature reserves open their gates to survey and research by licensed archaeologists who excavate and uncover exciting remnants of the past. The INPA Archaeology and Heritage department is staffed by professionals who supervise digs at the sites under its management.

Protection of Heritage Sites

World Heritage Sites in Israel

In 1972 the United Nations Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), adopted a charter to protect cultural and natural sites of global importance, by identifying and conserving these significant places.

The considerable resources invested by the INPA in gaining inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List have born fruit. In 2001 UNESCO inscribed Masada as a World Heritage Site. In 2005, the Biblical Tells – the national parks of Tel Megiddo, Tel Hazor and Tel Be’er Sheva were also inscribed. The following year the Incense Route and the Nabatean cities in Avdat, Shivta, Halutza and Mamshit national parks were also inscribed.

The inscription of these sites on the prestigious World Heritage List is a great privilege. There are also practical advantages: It obliges require the body maintaining the sites and their surroundings to protect them for future generations.

The INPA is working toward the inscription of additional sites, among them the Canaanite gate at Tel Dan (considering the oldest preserved arch in the world), Beit She’an National Park, and the Hula Valley, a site of global importance in terms of bird migration.

Tools for Protecting Nature and Heritage

The INPA conducts surveys and studies on an on-going basis to assess the status of flora and fauna throughout the country. Each year a count is made of gazelles, aquatic birds and raptors, and other animals, and INPA field personnel take samples of wild plants for assessment. In the Adullam reserve, the INPA maintains an ecological research station for long-term studies, which is connected to a network of international stations.

The INPA enforcement system includes its rangers and legal department. The rangers are the eyes of the INPA. These rangers, who have policing powers, are responsible for their particular area, and work to ensure that all activities in the field, both governmental and private, are in keeping with the law and do not harm nature or heritage assets. The rangers also have the authority to issue citations and charge those who damage nature and heritage assets in national parks and nature reserves.

Another arm of the INPA in the field is the Green Patrol (the unit for the supervision of open spaces). The Green Patrol is responsible, among other things, for preventing illegal takeover of public lands and open spaces.

Education and Public Relations
The law, well aware of the importance of education on nature, landscape and heritage, and viewed its advancement as one of the main functions of the INPA: “to initiate, carry out and encourage educational and public relations activities in the areas of nature reserves, natural and historical treasures…” The vision of the INPA also contains this goal: “To be a body that educates toward the love of the land, its values and heritage, for the inhabitants of Israel and the world, now and for the coming generations.”
To carry out the law and realize its vision and goals, the INPA has established 15 education centers, in which each year some 200,000 children from all backgrounds receive instruction. The main activities are geared toward school children and youth, as well as teachers and principles, field education coordinators, Israel Defense Forces field educators and cadets in command courses, who are the agents of change and transmitters of the message.

Additional parks and reserves
There are still quite a few places in Israel that are of paramount importance containing significant natural and heritage treasures. The INPA locates these areas, documents the species of plants and animals they contain, as well as their heritage assets, and works to have these areas officially declared nature reserves and national parks. The process is long and involved, and can sometimes take years.

The reserves and parks belong to all of us The INPA develops areas in nature reserves and national parks in a controlled fashion so that visitors can enjoy their beauty and understand their significance. The INPA prepares heritage sites for visits, installing signage and access for people with disabilities wherever this work is in keeping with the conservation of nature and heritage.

Keren HaYael and the Hai Bar Associations
Keren HaYael and Hai Bar are non-profit associations established to protect nature, landscape and heritage in Israel. The associations work in cooperation with the INPA to realize these goals.

The associations are involved in various projects to protect nature and heritage. Among them are:
Education, training and public relations in nature conservation and heritage in Israel.
Conservation and reconstruction at heritage sites such as Masada, Beit Shean and Tzippori.
Reintroduction and rehabilitation of wild animals such as gazelles and vultures and plants such as the acacia.
Rehabilitation of habitats such as the Hula Reserve, the coastal dunes and the Ramon Park.

The associations work to raise funds in Israel and abroad, holding cultural events and public activities to raise awareness of nature and heritage issues among decision-makers. The General Assembly of the associations consists of 50 members who represent the whole social and political spectrum in Israel. Among them are scientists, public figures and ordinary citizens imbued with a deep sense of mission in volunteering their time toward realizing the associations’ goals.


Kategória: Kiemelt, Természet, Természetvédelem · Cimkék: , , ,

Hozzászólás lezárva.