An Ecosystem Services Inventory: Lessons From the Northern Negev Long-Term Social Ecological Research (LTSER) Platform

  • Daniel E. Orenstein Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
  • Elli Groner Dead Sea and Arava Science Center
  • Eli Argaman Ministry of Agriculture
  • Bertrand Boeken Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
  • Yakir Preisler Weizmann Institute of Science
  • Moshe Shachak Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
  • Eugene D. Ungar Volcani Center
  • Eli Zaady Gilat Research Center
Keywords: Ecosystem service assessment, semi-arid ecosystem, Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) site, Long-Term Social Ecological Research (LTSER) Platform, Land Use Policy, Dryland Forestry, Agriculture


Despite the burgeoning popularity of the term ‘ecosystem services’, relatively little work has yet been done to identify, characterize and quantify ecosystem services and their spatial distribution across the landscape. In this study, we test a methodology for taking inventory of ecosystem services in Israel’s semi-arid Northern Negev region. We survey site managers of five long-term ecological research (LTER) sites regarding the presence/absence of 86 ecosystem services, and their level of confidence regarding their answers. There was a high percentage of services in three categories (provisioning, regulating and cultural) across all sites, and no significant differences based on environmental factors between sites. The only factor that correlated with differences in the package of services offered at each site was management agency (Ministry of Agriculture or Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael). Through principle component analysis, we find that management agencies, through their land use policies, can alter the package of services, for example by emphasizing agricultural- or forestry-oriented services or particular cultural services, like those associated with education or tourism. We conclude our analysis with a discussion on both the distribution of services and our reflections on the learning process from our ecosystem service assessment.


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