A Brief History of Conifer Forest Management at Ramat Hanadiv

Forests are a complex ecosystem containing a range of biotic (trees, herbaceous vegetation, animals, fungi and more) and abiotic (soil, rock, water, light) components, where trees are the main component. Within the framework of forest management, the term ‘forest’ carries two meanings: one is a vegetation formation and the other is a landscape unit.

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The forest elements at Ramat Hanadiv are not natural and were a part of the initial process of planning the Memorial Gardens, taking also into consideration the landscape surrounding the Gardens.

In order to create a landscape experience in which the Gardens are hidden from the visitor’s eye, a pine grove was planted on the area between the access road to Ramat Hanadiv towards the Memorial Gardens. Additional conifers were planted in the open landscapes at different distances and in different directions from the Gardens, as landmarks that attract the visitor’s eye along the Garden’s paths and then leading the sight to the landscape beyond the Gardens’ walls. An example of this is the cypress trees that were planted on the slope above Hanadiv Stream, in order to lead the eye of the observer from the lookout above the Cascade Garden into the distance, westwards to the Mediterranean Sea.


In addition,  several oak trees were planted in the area to the west of the Gardens. This trials were not always successful, probably due to unsuitable habitat conditions.

In 1975, together with the JNF (KKL) Yad Hanadiv decided to forestate considerable areas of Ramat Hanadiv open landscapes, as a part of the 70’s national economic-commercial aspirations to establish a local timber industry and provide jobs.  The selection of planting plots mainly considered effort of land preparation costs and was less concerned with matching the habitat with the planted species. Therefore, most of the groves were planted on areas that were used in the past for agriculture, or if there was no choice, on rocky and stony areas with little natural woodland. According to the planting plan, the agricultural lands were to be planted with Mediterranean cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) and the rocky and stony areas were to be planted with Pinus brutia.

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Due to a lack of seedlings of the desired species in the nurseries of the Forestry Division, the planting was carried out in winter 1976/77 and again in winter 1977/78, and other species that weren’t part of the plan were also planted. Thus, 20–30 years later, the landscape mosaic of the Nature Park includes individual trees and even groves of stone pine (P. pinea), Canary Island pine (P. canariensis), Arizona cypress (C. arizonica) and Arizona smooth bark cypress (C. arizonica var. glabra). Except for sanitation activity (removal of desiccated individuals), maintenance activities were barely performed in the planted areas until 1985. The planting design, which was widely-spaced with respect to accepted practices, allowed relatively rapid development of the planted trees in the initial years, with no need for frequent thinning interventions (removal of some of the trees in order to facilitate proper development of the forest). The trees that were planted and grew into tall, dense groves, created structural changes to the local landscape, and the single-species, even-aged groves protruded above the diverse Mediterranean

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woodland characteristic of the site. At Ramat Hanadiv, as in the other planted forests in Israel, a significant number of trees, and even entire plots, showed signs of stress over the years, and the ‘forest trees’ turned from a solution to an issue that required consideration and intervention. With time, the profitability of Israel’s lumber proved disappointing, and recreational and ecological objectives came to dominate Israel’s afforestation approach.

In 1985, the management of Yad Hanadiv decided, in collaboration with the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, to change the land management approach of Ramat Hanadiv and according to ecological-landscape criteria while considering public use. Following this paradigm change, the approach to the planted forests also changed; thus, in the early 1990s, several thinning and clear-cutting interventions were performed in some of the planted groves, with the aim of fitting the forest component into the ‘desired landscape’ of the Nature Park. The dense, uniform cypress groves that did not provide shade for hikers or looked deprived and weakened due to disease or  ‘did not integrate well into the landscape’, were therefore removed or significantly thinned. The pine groves were restructured into

patches of small groups of trees, while the area between them remained open to facilitate development of the forest understory (natural vegetation that develops in the lowest layer of the forest) and allow the remaining trees to develop.

The land management approach of the Nature Park and consideration of the forest component, which became an integral part of the landscape mosaic, continued to evolve as more ecological knowledge developed. The planted forest at Ramat Hanadiv raised complex issues such as pine colonization, propagation of pine processionary nests, and the appearance of invasive species, some of which were planted together with the pines and cypresses in the 1970s, such as the sandarac tree (Tetraclinis articulata). On the other hand, some former cypress groves turned into traditional agricultural plots, facilitated the appearance of rare species (such as Allium schubertii) that had waited in the wings for the right time and conditions. The planted groves also had an impact on raptors, providing them with breeding sites, and provided refuge for the roe deer and other wildlife, and in this respect, raised important issues concerning the place and status of planted conifer trees in the Mediterranean landscape in general, and their place in the landscape of Ramat Hanadiv Nature Park in particular.

Of further interest...


The Fragrance Garden

The Fragrance Garden, established in 1985, is the youngest of the Memorial Gardens. Seeking a way to enable people with limited or no eyesight to enjoy the flowers, Mme. Dorothy de Rothschild initiated the Fragrance Garden

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Sustainable Gardening

Sustainable gardening is defined as gardening that considers the needs of the current generation without harming the needs of future generations. It includes garden design that considers the existing elements on site – the landscape, soil, environment and vegetation suitable for the region

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Dining Here


To complete your Ramat Hanadiv experience, you are cordially invited to enjoy the culinary pleasures of Mata’im, the cafe-restaurant on our premises.

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