By Alon Tal
Read Online or Download All the Trees of the Forest: Israel’s Woodlands from the Bible to the Present PDF
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Extra info for All the Trees of the Forest: Israel’s Woodlands from the Bible to the Present
The Pathology of Deforestation The land of Canaan was settled extensively long before the Israelite return from Egypt and the rule of the Judges, when archeological evidence of their presence begins. A single formula, therefore, cannot adequately characterize the composition of the ‘‘original’’ tree stands. Human intervention constantly inﬂuenced the scenery, and usually not for the better. Warfare was a particularly salient driver of deforestation, and the trees of Palestine paid heavily for a litany of conquerors’ rapacity.
After boarding the boat home in the Jaffa Port he summarizes his impressions of Palestine: Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince. The hills are barren, they are dull of color, they are unpicturesque in shape. The valleys are unsightly deserts fringed with a feeble vegetation that has an expression about it of being sorrowful and despondent. The Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee sleep in the midst of a vast stretch of hill and plain wherein the eye rests upon no pleasant tint, no striking object, no soft picture dreaming in a purple haze or mottled with the shadows of the clouds.
The Biblical Nursery There is no doubt that the ancient land of Israel was dotted with woodlands. To be sure, Mediterranean climates produce natural stands that are sparser and shorter than the forests of temperate and tropical lands. These ‘‘maquis’’ scrublands are typical biomes in Mediterranean regions. Forests that receive modest precipitation look different than the towering, green ‘‘cathedrals’’ found around the world where rainfall is more abundant. Yet, for the locals these sprawling, shady groves dominated by four meter high oak trees, are no less meaningful and magical.
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