Integrated European
Long-Term Ecosystem, critical zone and
socio-ecological Research

The Negev Highland LTSER platform conference - Israel

2 January 2022

On Thursday, October 28, 2021, an unusual audience gathered at the Mitzpe Ramon Community Center - scientists from various fields of knowledge, along with stakeholders from the Negev Highland and the Makhteshim country.

The Scientific consortium of the LTSER Platform, led by Dr. Noa Avriel-Avni, organized the conference around three socio-ecological issues:

1. Restoration of the Asiatic wild ass (Equus hemionus) population, extinct from the region a few hundred years ago - the session dealt with issues of herd management and the effects of the growing ass population on the nature reserve and on the vineyards. The issue is also placed in the socio-geographical-political context and by this many further questions have been raised.

2. Agricultural farms in the Negev highland valleys – Is it possible to make a living from agriculture only in this arid area, and what is the best way to combine it with agro-tourism? Landowners, agricultural consultants, landscape planners, tourism experts and scientists have jointly discussed these issues and sharpened the questions, which need to be researched and monitored.

3. Tourism as a key economic anchor in the Negev Highland - how can it be combined with the preservation of biodiversity, the culture of the Bedouin shepherds, and other environmental values?

The challenge the conference posed was to strengthen the partnership between stakeholders and scientists; in this respect, the conference was a great success.

Donkeys at the Negev Highland LTSER