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
It is a hopeless, dreary, heart-broken land. . Palestine is desolate and unlovely. ∏≥ George Marsh, although largely forgotten today, was much more famous than Mark Twain when he visited Palestine in 1864. S. congressman, a past American ambassador to the Ottoman empire and Greece, and an accomplished linguist. He was also passionate about reducing human impact on the earth and highly erudite in his presentation. Frequently called ‘‘the ﬁrst environmentalist’’ because of these positions, Marsh argued convincingly in favor of conservation and was among the original geographers to identify the process of desertiﬁcation.
Integrating the many travel reports that had survived through the ages, ancient maps, and British aerial photography from the end of World War I, they sketched the landscape that existed in Ottoman Palestine before the modern British-Zionist era. Margalit not only demarcated the few remaining and decimated state forests, but also reconstructed the agriculture and crop proﬁle that existed in centuries past. The nineteenthcentury picture that emerges has most human settlements located in the mountains (presumably for security reasons) with the remaining coastal plain and valley areas largely unsettled and denuded of trees.
Yet, for the locals these sprawling, shady groves dominated by four meter high oak trees, are no less meaningful and magical. By the third day trees ﬁnd their place in the Genesis creation story. Despite the semi-arid conditions, they soon ﬁlled up the land of Israel and spread beyond. The Bible has four words for forests—presumably less than an Inuit vocabulary for snow or Arabic nomenclature for camels∞≥ —but still an important noun: yaar, which is the modern Hebrew for ‘‘forest,’’ appears more than forty times in the Old Testament and constitutes the predominant term; while choresh, the Hebrew for ‘‘woodlands,’’ is mentioned only ﬁve times.
All the Trees of the Forest: Israel’s Woodlands from the Bible to the Present by Alon Tal