State of Nature Report

This comprehensive report will be produced once in 3 years to provide an up-to-date and reliable evaluation of the state of nature for informed decisions regarding open landscapes in Israel.

Each report will contain an in-depth analysis of specific elements.

The first edition: State of Nature 2010

The first edition was written by Dr. Tamar Achiron-Frumkin and Yisrael Tauber (a member of the board of HaMaarag representing KKL-JNF until 2011), and was published in 2011. As well as the aim of beingintending to be a support tool for decision-makers, this edition had an additional aim – to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date database for the launch of the monitoring program. The report, which details the current state of, and trends of in, ecosystems and biodiversity in Israel, is designed to provide baseline data for comparison a scale for comparison with the data collected within the frameworkby of the monitoring program.
This report presented, for the first time, a general indication outlook of the current state of the main components of biodiversity in open landscapes in Israel, and of the threats to this biodiversity. In addition to the above mentioned aims, production of this report also facilitated mapping identification of gaps in current knowledge and research.
The sources for the report are existing unpublished data that were not previously published, as well as together with expert evaluations, and new spatial analyses.

Future editions

HaMaarag will periodically produce future editions of the report, integrating new data obtained from the monitoring programs (terrestrial and marine), LTER stations and the ecosystem services program.

Illustrative example: identification of areas of conservation importance - spatial analysis from the State of Nature report

This example illustrates how integration of data collected from different sources can lead to new insights which would not have been attained by analyzing each information source separately.
In this analysis, geographic data were integrated by a process of “layering” – maps containing different kinds of information are layered upon each other in order to detect regions of data overlap between the maps.
In this way, the distributions of 118 highly endangered terrestrial vertebrates were mapped, based on maps of the different species. This mapping lead to identification of “hot regions” containing a high concentration of endangered species, both protected and unprotected. To this map we added information about Israel’s open landscapes (nature reserves, national parks and protected forested areas).
This data integration is enabled us to identify “gap regions” – unprotected hot regions (not located within protected areas of reserves and national parks). Such regions were identified in the Jezre’el Valley and the Gilboa, near Bet Shemesh and in the Besor region.
These maps also allow identification of axes of high species richness, which could act as corridors connecting areas of high conservation importance. The Jezre’el Valley, which is primarily an agricultural region, was characterized in this way as a key region for the survival of at least five out of 20 endangered vertebrates located in the region. The valley connects between the fragmented areas of these species’ distributions and also contains patches of aquatic habitat which connect between regions essential to the existence of these species’ populations in the Jordan Valley, Galilee, Ramot Menashe and the Carmel. The Besor region was also identified as important as it is located in the transition zone between the semi-arid region and the Western Negev.
This type of analysis can facilitate  management and land-use planning decisions for maximizing benefits to mankind while minimizing damage to biodiversity