Language: English with Hebrew summary.
From the preface:
"In recent years the ecological community became aware of the worldwide and large-scale annihiliation of the wetlands. The drainage of Lake Hula and of its surrounding swamps in the 1950s was one of the more recent acts of the worldwide fury to ‘sanitate’ the malaria-infested and evil marshes and to turn them over to ‘healthy’ agriculture.
In an often repeated scenario, no time was given to the scientists to tightly evaluate the impact of the project and to work out proposals for correct management. Thus it happened that Lake Hula, known since classical Egyptian times and studied by scholars from Josephus Flavius to Evelyn Hutchinson, ceased to exist. These were the southernmost wetlands in the Levant and the limnological lungs of the River Jordan, both a river and a symbol for much of humanity.
At the time of the misdeed, the scientific community in Israel and abroad did in fact voice its worries. An intensive sampling survey was started by the scientists of the young Hebrew University. Heinz Steinitz, one of the participants of the "Hula Expeditions", nurtured the intention to gather all the information about Lake Hula and its swamps and to publish it, before any projects of drainage would be carried out. The War of Independence (1947-1949), the needs and worries of the young State of Israel and not least the problem of the water-supply, hindered the production of this synthesis and its publication. Even the collected samples, kept on the Mount Scopus campus were for many years in an inaccessible enclave.
After a lifetime has passed, we are trying to complete this work now. Strangely enough, this is nota mere "post-mortem" for a lost lake: environmental history and attitudes swung back almost full circle. After the destruction of a wealth of environments and of life forms, after causing unforeseen impact on downstream Lake Kinneret and River Jordan, after the lessons learned from the best possible use of the drained swamplands and after some preservational experience, the bed of the Hula swamps will be flooded again.
This time, the knowledge of the past environments and the reasonably full picture of the original biodiversity of Lake Hula and of its swamps can supply the yardsticks for restorational work.
The scientific work was based mainly on the collections kept in the "Israel National Collections of Natural History" at the different Universities in Israel, and on the painstaking study of every bit of information and every available sample. The Jewish National Fund, the Lake Kinneret and Hula Administrations, the Regional Council of the Upper Galilee and the Nature Reserves Authority have joined their support. This is a good guarantee that our present monographic treatment of Lake Hula will serve not only the scientific community at large, but also the planners of a reborn lake."
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