Migda (LTER site from 2008)

Contact: Eli Zaady zaadye@volcani.agri.gov.il

General Site Description: 

A Loess plain devoted mainly to agro – ecosystem research. The site is subdivided into permanent plots which are exposed to various manipulations. The manipulation includes introducing of various crops and various grazing regime. The manipulation provides data on the effect of management and rainfall regime on agricultural productivity. In addition, the area includes ecological plots to study a natural succession, penology and productivity under various rainfall regimes. The site is also used to study climate change in relation to rainfall and runoff patterns. An important study is the dynamic of geophytes that are important as cultural ecosystem service in the area.

Purpose of Site:

To study the structure and function of agro – ecosystems in drylands. Specifically, to understand agricultural and natural productivity under various intensity of grazing by domestic animals. Also, the objective of the research in the site is to understand the combined effect of climate variability and grazing. Another aim is to study the effects of agro-ecological manipulations on soil quality and soil function. The overall aim is construct a model for dryland eco agricultural management that takes into consideration water flow and the interactions among trophic levels.

History of Site:

In 1961 as a part of studding the Northern Negev as a grazing system, the land of the site was allocated to long term research of the relationship between domestic animals , their productivity and landscape primary productivity.

Biogeographic Region:



A plain of loess soil originated from dry deposition of dust


a rainfall and runoff depended system. Runoff is generated from the interaction between rainfall and soil surface properties. Soil surface properties are related to the biological soil crust which regulates the redistribution of rainfall by runoff. Rainfall and runoff control soil moisture which is very heterogeneous due to the relationship between rainfall matter –soil surface properties and water flow connectivity.


Represent a two phase mosaic that includes woody plants consists mainly by small shrubs embedded in a matrix of annual plants. Shrub diversity is very low about 10 species while diversity of the annual plants is very high about 200 species.


The soil is loess soil which is characterized by small grains and surface in habitat by biological soil crust community. The depth of soil is very variable and depends on topography, rainfall intensity and the distribution of biological soil crust.


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