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Land and Resources, Plant and Animal Life
ibexes, wild boars, Partridges, gazelles, hyenas
Israel’s variety of natural environments—marked by regional differences in elevation, rainfall, topography and soils, and latitude—produces equally varied plant life. Of about 2,500 species of plants, the majority is xerophytic, or capable of enduring prolonged dry spells. Three distinct vegetative regions, each comprising many subregions, cover Israel: Mediterranean in most of the northern reaches, steppe in the northern Negev, and desert in the rest of the Negev. This variety of geographical regions supports a wide range of agricultural products, including citrus fruits, bananas, cotton, tobacco, grapes, dates, figs, olives, almonds, and avocados. Original evergreen forests largely disappeared because of centuries of cultivation and herding. Through a reforestation program millions of trees have been planted, especially in the hilly regions. Today natural woodlands and reforested areas cover 6 percent of the land.
Animal life is similarly varied. About 100 species of mammals inhabit Israel, including wild boars, gazelles, ibexes, jackals, hyenas, wildcats, and badgers. There are about 380 species of birds, including about 100 that migrate seasonally to other areas. Partridges, cuckoos, bustards, sand grouses, and desert larks inhabit the area. A variety of reptiles, fishes, and insects (including locusts) also prevail.
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