|Ph.D Thesis||Department of Architecture and Town Planning|
|Supervisor:||Prof. Emeritus Amir Shaul|
The dynamic process of Israel’s growth and development is creating ever-increasing difficulties in nature conservation, suggesting a need to examine national conservation policy. This research analyzes the formulation process of the current policy, and examines the relevance of both current and alternative approaches and principles of nature conservation in the Israeli context. The main research tools utilized for these purposes were: (a) policy analysis models, principally the system approach and the incremental improvement model and (b) interviews with senior decision-makers and scientists from the field of nature conservation.
The main findings of the research are: (a) the identification of a clear developmental pattern of trends in nature conservation policy that can assist in the prediction of future policy directions; (b) the incremental evolution of policy since the period of the British Mandate; (c) throughout the 90’s alternative conservation approaches were proposed, principally: ecological planning, biosphere reserves and a regional system of protected areas; (d) the principal deficiencies in current policy are found to be lack of clarity, partiality and insufficient professionalism; (e) while decision-makers and scientists in the policy domain are aware of policy limitations, they also appreciate the difficulties involved in making fundamental changes; (f) they express a consensus acceptance of universal conservation goals; (g) they doubt the feasibility and effectiveness of alternative policy approaches and principles, and advocate a focus on current nature conservation achievements by employing a far more active resource management regime; and (h) they are willing to consider the incremental improvement of current policy through the addition of some form of ecological planning.
The researcher’s forecast is that, in the coming years, some form of ecological planning, that provides a certain degree of protection to open (unprotected) areas, will become a formal part of Israel’s conservation policy. This forecast requires the development of the essential knowledge and tools for the implementation of this addition to current policy. Therefore, the researcher recommends that clear and scientific guidelines for the implementaion of the anticipated policy increment be formulated and agreed upon, despite the limitations of knowledge in this field. Furthermore, there is a need for a clear definition of current policy goals and the determination and application of scientific and comprehensive conservation principles.