LTER site established at: 1966

Site manager: Guy Dovrat


E-mail: dovrat@volcani.agri.gov.il, tel. +972-49-539-559, fax +972-49-836-936

Newe-Ya’ar Research Center, Agricultural Research Organization – Volcani Institute, P.O. Box 1021, Ramat Yishay 30095, Israel.

Operating Organization: Agricultural Research Organization – Volcani Institute

General Site Description:

Karei Deshe Experimental Range Station stretch on 1,450 ha of hilly Mediterranean Batha in the Upper Galilee region of Israel, extending from the Korazim Plateau to the Jordan River (32° 55′N, 35°35′E). The hilly topography is covered with basaltic rocks and the soil is brown basaltic protogrumusol. The mean annual rainfall is 551 mm. The vegetation is classified as Mediterranean Batha, dominated by grasses and forbs. The dominant perennial species are the hemicryptophytes, Bituminaria bituminosa (L.) C.H.Stirt., Echinops gaillardotii Boiss., E. adenocaulos Boiss., Ferula communis L. and Hordeum bulbosum L., which form approximately 30% of the plant cover. Most other species are herbaceous annuals, including grasses (Avena sterilis L., Alopecurus utriculatus Sol., Bromus spp.), legumes (Medicago spp., Trifolium spp.), composites, crucifers and umbellifers. Growth and development of the vegetation strongly depends on the climatic conditions prevailing during the short winter-spring growing season from late-October/ mid-November to late-April/early-May. A long-term research platform was established at the station in 1994 with eight paddocks grazed by cattle under controlled grazing intensitie treatments, comprised a high (1.1 cow ha-1 ) and moderate (0.5 cow ha-1 ) stocking rates, and two grazing management protocols: continuous stocking (four paddocks of 21–31 ha each) and seasonal stocking, which included an early season period and a late season period. These treatments have been maintained without change since 1994. The paddocks stocked with mature, medium-frame-size cows.


Purpose of Site:

Current research at Karei Deshe focuses on subjects of global interest, including: 1) Developing management practices to improve the efficiency and sustainability of cattle production in Israel; 2) Understanding the impacts of cattle grazing on the environment; 3) Understanding the effect of climate and climate change on rangeland and cattle production.

History of site:

Karei Deshe Experimental Station was established in 1955 on 1,450 ha of hilly land with herbaceous vegetation in the Upper Galilee region of Israel, stretching from the Korazim Plateau to the Sea of Galilee. It was established for the purpose of training rangers for breeding beef cattle and advancing rangeland research. In 1966, 200 ha in the center of the farm were divided into experimental plots, the first research projects were established, and research has been carried out continuously for over 50 years. The accumulated historical knowledge from these studies formed the basis for the establishment of the beef cattle industry and rangeland management practices in Israel. Current research practices include monitoring of individual cows to understand their grazing behavior, as well as continuous, long-term (40 years) vegetation monitoring to document changes inflicted by both cattle grazing and climate change. Research activities make use of advanced technologies, such as remote sensing, satellite imagery, and GPS technologies for monitoring individual cows.

Monitored parameters:

  • Long-term monitoring of vegetation composition and productivity
  • Long-term monitoring of cattle and rangeland fertility and carrying capacity
  • Continuous monitoring of climate variables
  • Soil parameters


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