Soil organic matter and land degradation in semi-arid area, Israel

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36 Scopus citations


Soil organic matter (SOM) was monitored at five research sites along a climatic transect extending from the Judean Mountains (mean annual rainfall 700 mm; annual mean temperature 17 °C) to the Dead Sea (mean annual rainfall < 100 mm; annual mean temperature 23 °C) in Israel. At four sites, representing four climatic regions, Mediterranean (site GIV), semi-arid (site MAL), mildly arid (site MIS) and arid (site KAL), four to eight soil samples were taken four times a year, in January, March, May and September, from 1992 through 1993 and 1994 and in April and August 2000. In the last 2 months soil samples were also taken from another site (MAB) in the semi-arid area. Comparison between the sites along the climatic transect shows that, except for site MAB, SOM increased significantly in both 0-2 cm and 2-10 cm, from the arid site, through the mildly arid site and the semi-arid site, to the Mediterranean site. Analysis of SOM temporal patterns of the two semi-arid sites (MAL and MAB) shows significant change from the normal SOM pattern in both the regional scale and the soil profile scale in one site (MAB). The a-normal pattern of SOM and the low soil aggregate stability at MAB indicates land degradation and it is attributed to overgrazing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-55
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2006


  • Aggregate stability
  • Climatic transect
  • Organic matter
  • Overgrazing
  • Soil degradation
  • Tempo-spatial patterns


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