Fields of Activity

State of Nature Report: A periodic report that quantitatively and qualitatively describes the state of nature in Israel and its dominant trends, based on information gathered within the framework of programs conducted by HaMaarag and other bodies. Its aim is to provide an up-to-date and reliable assessment of the state of nature in Israel to decision-makers with respect to open landscapes. Within this series of reports, the following reports have been published: a National Report for 2010, and Special Feature Reports on the State of the Mediterranean Sea (2013) and the State of Aquatic Habitats (2014).

The National Terrestrial Biodiversity Assessment Program: Within the framework of this program, the flora and fauna throughout Israel are monitored on a regular basis by field surveys, surveillance cameras and sensors, where each monitoring cycle lasts for two years. HaMaarag produces an annual report that publishes the data and analyzes processes in the field; the analysis provides the basis for the state of nature reports. The purpose of the monitoring is to quantitatively and qualitatively characterize Israel’s biodiversity, thereby obtaining an evaluation of the state of nature and the significant changes taking place within it. Based on these insights it will be possible to propose ways and means for dealing with and curbing damage to affected habitats. In addition, as a part of this program, HaMaarag runs a biodiversity monitoring program in agricultural systems, in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture.

The ‘Ecosystems and Human Well-being – a National Assessment’ Program: This project aims to estimate the benefit that humans derive from Israel’s ecosystems and to ascribe a quantitative value to these benefits where possible. In this way, the project expresses the importance of functioning ecosystems, and of the biodiversity that supports them, to decision-makers. The project is based on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and similar projects that were conducted around the world, and is conducted in partnership with dozens of scientists and experts. The final product of this process will be a comprehensive report to be published in 2016 that will present an up-to-date assessment of service provision and benefits from Israel’s various ecosystems.

 

Past Activities

The Ocean Health Index for Israel: The World Ocean Health Index is a tool that examines the services provided to humans by the ocean and ways to maintain a healthy ocean and service provision over the long term via policy change. In this project, HaMaarag adapted the World Ocean Health Index to the Israeli region of the Mediterranean Sea and to local targets, with the assistance of the NCEAS (National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis) and Conservation International. The index was launched in September 2014, and this year received a score of 62 out of 100. The score represents the state of nine central services that we receive from the ocean.

Biodiversity Assessment Program for the Mediterranean Sea: HaMaarag ran this program in partnership with the Department of Marine Biology at the University of Haifa. Within the framework of this program, different characteristics are monitored by technical diving at a number of sampling sites in the rocky habitat of the Mediterranean Sea. Similarly to the terrestrial program, the purpose of this program is quantitative and qualitative characterization of biodiversity present in the monitoring sites of the Mediterranean Sea, on a systematic, long-term basis, in order to evaluate the state of nature in the sea and identify significant changes.