Formed in 2006 following a decade of work in long-term ecological research (LTER) stations, Hamaarag – Israel’s National Ecosystem Assessment Program operates within the framework of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. HaMa’arag is a consortium of organizations engaged in policy and management governing open landscapes in Israel: The Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Jewish National Fund – Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel, and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, together with leading ecologists from a variety of universities and research institutions. Hamaarag’s overarching purpose is to promote and advance science-based open landscape management for the benefit and long-term sustainability of both nature and people.
Following an initial exploratory period, the Israel National Ecosystem Assessment process is moving forward. Hamaarag is currently in the design and planning stages of a national-scale Israel ecosystem assessment. The assessment will cover Israel’s ecosystems, their services and the biodiversity engaged in their provision. This will include the Mediterranean woodland, shrubland and grassland ecosystems as well as desert, coastal, marine and cultivated ecosystems. The project will highlight the significance and value of Israel’s ecosystems for human well-being, and the need to consider ecosystem services in decision-making relevant to environment and development.