Jerusalem (Aleppo) Pines Settle in on the Natural Groves of Ramat Hanadiv
Most of the pine groves at Ramat Hanadiv were planted by the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael) between 1976 and 1978. Experts recommended that the ‘Jerusalem Pine’, which was known for its sensitivity to aphids, not be planted there, and that other tree types be favoured. Today, 30 years later, Ramat Hanadiv’s natural grove regions are home to a great many Jerusalem Pine trees, which were never planted there, but were dispersed onto the region and have ‘settled in’ there.
The ‘Jerusalem Pine’ is the only pine tree to be witnessed settling in like this, although groves of Cyprus, Canary Island and Nut Pines can be witnessed throughout the reserve.
The question begging to be asked is: what is the source of the Jerusalem Pine trees populating the Nature Park? Among the possible answers: the cluster of trees planted along the entrance path, more distant tree clusters (such as those found in Zikhron Ya’acov) or individual Jerusalem Pine trees that were planted at the site in the past.
As part of current research conducted at Ramat Hanadiv by researchers Dr. Yagil Osem and Ayala Lavi, the scope and dynamics of the Jerusalem Pine trees’ dispersal onto natural grove regions are being studied, in an attempt to comprehend the various environmental conditions (soil, rock formation, topography, vegetation and grazing-related) that bear influence on this process.
Within the framework of this research, Jerusalem Pine trees spread out across the region have been located and labelled on an aerial photograph using GPS location technology. The trees have been classified by size, development stage, health and age through annual tree ring drilling, and the relationship between these characteristics and the various conditions at the trees’ habitat has been studied.
The pine trees’ settlement process could impact the natural grove in terms of its landscape characteristics, vegetation and wildlife make-up and the region’s overall sensitivity to wildfire. Comprehension of the process therefore bears great consequence in terms of vegetation management at the site.
Ayala Lavi and Yagil Osem