Survey and Monitoring for Conservation in Israel using EBONE approaches

Authors and Affiliations: 

Linda Olsvig-Whittaker, Science and Conservation Division, Israel Nature and Parks Authority, Jerusalem, Israel

Gilad Weil, GIS laboratory, Israel Nature and Parks Authority, Jerusalem, Israel

Shmulik Amir, GIS laboratory, Israel Nature and Parks Authority, Jerusalem, Israel

Margareta Walczak, Science and Conservation Division, Israel Nature and Parks Authority, Jerusalem, Israel

Ofer Steinitz, Science and Conservation Division, Israel Nature and Parks Authority, Jerusalem, Israel

Gil Ben Natan, Dead Sea and Arava Science Center, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Kibbutz Ein Gedi, Israel


The Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA), like most conservation organizations, has the responsibility to know the distribution and condition of species and habitats of conservation value in the areas under its responsibility.  Like most conservation organizations, we do not have the resources to survey and monitor in situ in all areas we manage.  We therefore joined the FP7 EBONE project ( ) to learn whether it is possible to survey and monitor by use of proxy using remote sensing and habitat-level approaches.

During the course of the EBONE project we tested methodologies for mapping by remote sensing, in situ mapping of habitats ranging from Mediterranean to desert, and correlation of these with distributions of plant and animal assemblages (Olsvig-Whittaker et al  2012a, b).  The EBONE project concluded 1 March 2012, and we have since moved into an implementation phase.

We have now begun development of a regional monitoring program for the Dead Sea Coast (Fig 1)  an area of approximately 2,000 sq. km., including rocky desert, dry streambeds, subtropical oases and agricultural lands, in response to environmental threats including a drop in sea level, increased fire frequency in the oases, tourism pressure and invasive species.  The EBONE approach, with reliance on remote sensing and stratified sampling at the habitat and species level, will enable us to map and monitor the entire region of concern.

This is a pilot project for the INPA.  In this conference we present the planning design and invite experienced input for its development.

  1. Linda Olsvig-Whittaker, Eliezer Frankenberg, Yonat Magal, Yehoshua Shkedy, Shmulik Amir, Margareta Walczak, Melanie Luck-Vogel, David Jobse, Adriaan de Gelder, Lior Blank, Yohay Carmel, Noam Levin, Ruthie Harari-Kremer, David Blankman and Bertrand Boeken; EBONE in Mediterranean and desert sites in Israel, with notes on South Africa, Report on field tests in LTER sites and habitat monitoring; published: 17 Jan 2012a; 54 pp. Alterra Report 2260 (free download at )
  2. Linda Olsvig-Whittaker , Margareta Walczak a, David Jobse  and Bertrand Boeken (2012b) Patterns in habitat type, species richness and community composition at Avdat LTER, Israel.  Journal of Landscape Ecology 5(3):5-23