Israel is sacrificing open space every year equal in area to a medium-sized Israeli city, wildfires are increasing in frequency, intensity, and size, and two-thirds of the country is exposed to light pollution to a level that is damaging the ecosystems and biodiversity.
Similarly, nature reserves are broadening on land and at sea, and there is better vegetation cover in the rainier northern half of the country, because of conservation efforts.
These and many other findings are stated in the annual report published on Thursday of HaMaarag. It is the national program for evaluating the state of nature.
Crawling urbanization has resulted in an increasing fragmentation of natural space, which makes it more challenging for wild animals to move around inhabited areas.
It also implies that 83% of the country north of Beersheba is presently located less than one kilometer away from the nearest road.
Artificial light during the dark hours not just prevents us from detecting the stars. It can influence everything from insect movement, foraging, reproduction, and hunting, to the exposure of turtles heading out to sea and the potential of birds to avoid flying into buildings.
The report, which for the first time establishes a threshold for light pollution harmful to nature, says that “the amount of artificial light has increased by 30% over the past decade.”