LTSER platform established at 2008

Site manager: Shayli Dor-Haim

Contact: Shayli Dor-Haim

Operating Organization:  KKL – JNF


General Site Description:

The Northern Negev LTSER platform is located in the upper part of southern Israel. Most of the area is plane, covering an area of about 5000 sq. km. As part of the World Desert Belt, it is a semi- arid region, having a mean annual rainfall of 150-250 mm; mean annual temperature 30ₒ C. The area includes semi-arid scrubland, agriculture, forested areas of various densities, open areas and diverse settled areas such as: big cities; moshavim; kibbutzim; Bedouin settlements; community villages.

Most of the forested and open areas in the Northern Negev platform is under KKL functional rehabilitation management of desertified ecosystems. System rehabilitation and the cessation of degradation processes both require management intervention based on an understanding of the connections between hydrology, ecosystem structure and ecosystem function in water-limited zones. Management actions include: (1) Alteration of the ecosystem’s physical infrastructure – facilitates in-situ storage of scarce water and soil resources, and encourages the regeneration of biotic components on-site; (2) Forest tree planting – to supply a diversity of ecosystem services for human welfare.

The northern Negev is a cultural landscape. Demographic and land-use changes in the past and present have caused, and still cause, desertification and ecosystem damage. The management activities aim to rehabilitate desertified areas and integrate a variety of land uses into them. Functional rehabilitation increases the conservation of water and soil resources, and in turn, the conservation of biotic resources. These activities are carried out for the goal of ecosystem rehabilitation and for the welfare of the area’s residents, based on ecological research and statutory authority.

In addition, ecosystem services increase as a result of the functional rehabilitation activities:

Regulating Services: regulates the water cycle to prevent resource loss and mitigate flood damage; regulates and prevents soil erosion; increases primary productivity as a driver in the ecosystem’s energy and nutrient cycles; supports populations of natural enemies of agricultural pests; regulates pollination services; regulates carbon cycling through increased rates of carbon sequestration.

Cultural Services: supplies recreation and leisure sites, native wildflower sites, bicycle trails, parks and community forests; preserves historical and cultural heritage assets; supports forest-based tourism, thus encouraging visitors to use guest facilities at neighboring communities, making an economic contribution to peripheral settlements.

Habitat Supporting Services: causes an overall increase in the productivity of degraded ecosystems; supports several key species important to ecosystem function (termites, ants, snails and spiders); ensures secure habitat for rare bird species and provides shade and sheltering spots for wildlife threatened by hunting; increases resilience to the effects of predicted climate change on various habitats in the northern Negev.

Provisioning Services: supplies rangelands for an increasing number of sheep, goat and

cattle herds owned by the local population; and, supplies firewood to the local population for cooking and home heating.

The LTSER Northern Negev Platform includes four established LTER sites and the area between them: Park Shaked, Shagririm forest, Migda-Gilat and Yatir forest.

Purpose of Platform:

Establishing a multidisciplinary scientific and social knowledge base for sustainable development in the platform area.

Sub – goals

  • To use transdisciplinary approach in order to design sustainable solutions for social-ecological issues.
  • To deepen the understanding of the behavior of a desert social-ecological system, in the face of climate change.
  • Halting desertification processes, restoring ecosystems and providing a wide range of ecosystem services.

History of platform:

The platform has been established at 2008 and merged the four LTER sites (Shaked, Shagririm, Yatir, Migda), KKL-JNF rehabilitation activities in the Northern Negev and other socio-ecological activities.

A workshop with scientists, stakeholders and government representative enabled to develop a working plan and identify the platform borders. In addition, KKL-JNF published a position paper on functional rehabilitation of desertified ecosystems in the Northern Negev (2015) that summarize the the scientific basis for activities for the rehabilitation of desertified ecosystems in the northern Negev region of Israel.

Monitored parameters:

Four LTER sites regularly monitor climate and ecology parameters in the platform area.

Long-term monitoring of the following parameters is taking place in the platform area:

  1. Quantitative reduction of runoff and erosion, and increased soil moisture;
  2. Soil quality;
  3. Productivity and functional biodiversity;
  4. Flood prevention.



  • Arnon, A., Svoray, T., & Ungar, E. D. (2011). The spatial dimension of pastoral herding: a case study from the northern Negev. Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution57(1-2), 129-149.‏
  • Collins, S. L., Carpenter, S. R., Swinton, S. M., Orenstein, D. E., Childers, D. L., Gragson, T. L., … & Whitmer, A. C. (2011). An integrated conceptual framework for long‐term social–ecological research. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment9(6), 351-357.‏
  • Dick, J., Orenstein, D. E., Holzer, J. M., Wohner, C., Achard, A. L., Andrews, C., … & Van Ryckegem, G. (2018). What is socio-ecological research delivering? A literature survey across 25 international LTSER platforms. Science of the Total Environment622, 1225-1240.‏
  • Hoffman, O. (2011). Positive Feedback Interactions Between Annual Plants and Geomorphic Processes in Northern Negev Semi-arid Shrubland(Doctoral dissertation, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev).‏
  • Kahn, B. M. (2002). Redistribution of resources and land-use pattern in a semi-arid rangeland: The case of Bedouin sheep herders in the Northern Negev Desert, Israel. The University of Wisconsin-Madison.‏
  • Orenstein, D. E., Groner, E., Argaman, E., Boeken, B., Preisler, Y., Shachak, M., … & Zaady, E. (2012, December). An ecosystem services inventory: lessons from the northern Negev long-term social ecological research (LTSER) platform. In  Res. Forum(Vol. 32, No. 2012, pp. 96-118).‏
  • Sheffer, E., von Hardenberg, J., Yizhaq, H., Shachak, M., & Meron, E. (2013). Emerged or imposed: a theory on the role of physical templates and self‐organisation for vegetation patchiness. Ecology letters16(2), 127-139.‏
  • Thompson, T. L., Zaady, E., Huancheng, P., Wilson, T. B., & Martens, D. A. (2006). Soil C and N pools in patchy shrublands of the Negev and Chihuahuan Deserts. Soil Biology and Biochemistry38(7), 1943-1955.‏
  • Ungar, E. D., & Perevolotsky, A. (2008, January). Man as A Super-Engineer in Semiarid Ecosystems: Past Evidence and Future Role. In The 2008 Joint Meeting of the Society for Range Management and the America Forage and Grassland Council.
  • Wilske, B., Burgheimer, J., Karnieli, A., Zaady, E., Andreae, M. O., Yakir, D., & Kesselmeier, J. (2008). The CO 2 exchange of biological soil crusts in a semiarid grass-shrubland at the northern transition zone of the Negev desert, Israel. Biogeosciences5(5), 1411-1423.‏
  • Zaady, E., Groffman, P. M., Shachak, M., & Wilby, A. (2003). Consumption and release of nitrogen by the harvester termite Anacanthotermes ubachi navas in the northern Negev desert, Israel. Soil Biology and Biochemistry35(10), 1299-1303.‏
  • Zaady, E., Yonatan, R., Shachak, M., & Perevolotsky, A. (2001). The effects of grazing on abiotic and biotic parameters in a semiarid ecosystem: A case study from the Northern Negev Desert, Israel. Arid Land Research and Management15(3), 245-261.