Natural ecosystem-units in Israel and the Palestinian authority - Representativeness in protected areas and suggested solutions for biodiversity conservation

Dotan Rotem, Gilad Weil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

The geographic location of Israel and the Palestinian Authorityon the border between Mediterranean and desert climate, and the strong topographic and geomorphological variation resulting from its position on the Great African Rift Valley, combine to sustain a great diversity of landscapes in a very small country. The purpose of this study is to determine whether the protected areas in Israel and the Palestinian Authority adequately represent the range of landscapes and ecosystems in the region. Altogether, we defined 23 natural ecosystem-units in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, of which 17 are terrestrial landscapes and 6 are aquatic systems. In considering the adequacy of coverage in protected areas, we mapped Israel and the Palestinian Authority landscapes according to a set of environmental factors (climatic, geomorphological, geological and botanical) that we believe most effectively distinguish landscape types in this region. When the separation between adjacent units relies on sharp topographic or edaphic change in the landscape, the mapped units can be separated by a clear and sharp line. When adjacent units are actually a gradient of continuous environmental conditions the separation lines relied mostly on botanic characteristics. The main land use categories in this analysis were urban areas, agricultural areas, nature reserves, national parks and forest reserves. For the first time in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, we quantified the different landscape types under the different categories of land use. This process, known as systematic conservation planning, allowed us to detect natural landscapes that are underrepresented in protected areas, and can guide decision makers to establish or improve management for the better representation of biodiversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-109
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Landscape Ecology(Czech Republic)
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ecosystem-units
  • Systematic conservation planning
  • biodiversity conservation
  • land use
  • mapping ecosystems
  • representativeness in protected areas

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