Masaryk University Forest School To Donate 100 Trees Masaryk Forest In Israel

The 100 trees represent each year of the Forest School’s existence and the anniversary of the Jewish National Fund. Photo credit: MENDELU.

Brno, 17 Feb (BD) – Yesterday, representatives of the Masaryk Křtiny Forest School handed over a voucher for the planting of 100 trees in the Masaryk Forest in Israel. Symbolically, they are donating one tree for every year of the school’s existence, as it celebrates its centenary this year. 

The handover took place at a benefit event for the Jewish National Fund at the Černín Palace in Prague, for the 120th anniversary of its founding. The date of the event was chosen for the Jewish holiday Tu Bishvat (New Year of Trees), which falls at the turn of January and February, when the growing season begins in Israel and the first trees – almond trees – begin to bloom. 

The benefit evening was attended by representatives of the Forest School and the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology (FFWT). “The trees are a symbolic link between the two forests that bear the name of President Masaryk. In this connection, we accelerate the awareness of belonging to the original Czech kibbutz and the common sharing of Masaryk’s values ​​in civic life. And, of course, real help in the restoration of a small forest in the desert areas of northern Israel,” said Tomáš Vrška, director of the Masaryk Křtiny Forest School.

Since 2020, students and experts from FFWT have been assisting with the revitalization of the Masaryk Forest and adjacent forests in Lower Galilee – in the areas of Nazareth and Haifa. “In all cases, these are suburban forests, and the range of forestry, landscape and arborist work carried out reflects this. Together with local foresters from the Jewish National Fund, we ensure the removal of dangerous trees from the stand, the pruning of spontaneously rejuvenating Halep pine and the modification of the species composition, including the planting of target trees in a mixed stand with oak, sycamore, carob and cypress,” said Jiří Volánek from the Institute of Geology and Pedology at Mendel University. 

At the same time, MENDELU experts take care of the planting from previous years. An important part of the revitalization is the disposal of invasive trees, such as parkinsonia, pajasan, acacia or hops.

Israel’s Masaryk Forest is located near Kibbutz Sarid near Nazareth. It was founded in 1930 as a gift for President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk’s 80th birthday by Czechoslovak settlers who came to Palestine in the 1920s. They planted about 13,000 seedlings on the spot. The existence of the forest was forgotten for many years, but recently its restoration began. MENDELU experts now travel regularly to Israel to take care of the Masaryk forest.

The fragmented forest, roughly half the size of the MENDELU Botanical Garden, was in poor condition a few years ago and was practically dying. Now several interventions have been completed, and planting is again taking place on the site. The goal is to build more of a forest park, and not just the pine forest that was there originally. 

MENDEL’s partner and administrator of most of Israel’s forests is the Jewish National Fund, which set forestation, forest restoration, care for the forest, water resources and landscape as its main goals as early as 1901. 

Currently, the Masaryk forest mainly serves the needs of the residents of the surrounding settlements, providing them with a place to relax and rest, and is becoming a popular recreational attraction for tourists.

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