Carbon Cautious: Israel's Afforestation Experience and Approach to Sequestration

Alon Tal*, Jessica Gordon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


During the past 60 years, afforestation has transformed Israel's landscape, with forests planted or planned on 10% of the country's land, much of it with less than 300 mm of annual precipitation. After early efforts to establish a successful commercial timber industry failed, recreation and ecosystem services came to dominate forestry policy objectives. Given Israel's status as a 'developing country' under the Kyoto Protocol, forests' economic potential through carbon sequestration has been explored, but has not yet proven to be compelling. Several considerations cooled initial enthusiasm for seeking international carbon credits through afforestation. These include administrative obstacles associated with international accreditation, limited potential economic profitability, and ethical considerations. Rather, a voluntary offsetting program was adopted, allowing donors to plant trees in Israel, that balance individual carbon emissions. Afforestation in drylands exhibit meaningful potential to counteract chronic carbon loss due to land degradation. As trees planted in Israel's semi-arid regions exhibit surprisingly high carbon sequestration properties that are comparable to forests in temperate Europe, the potential for offsetting may become a growing factor in local forestry policy once Israel begins to regulate CO2 emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-428
Number of pages20
JournalSmall-scale Forestry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon
  • Forestry policies
  • Israel
  • Sequestration


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