Natural Resource Management

man digging
Yaron Ziv, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Pin height is used to measure erosion, as part of a habitat restoration project in the sand-dune ecosystem of the Western Negev. Monitoring is an important part of natural resource management.

The IALC has supported research that informs sustainable natural resource management.  IALC projects have investigated ways to increase production, make efficient use of resources and sustain ecosystem function and services.  By coordinating efforts between multiple networks and partners, the IALC is helping to inform natural resource policy and decision-making.

Project Examples

  • Ecosystem Consequences of Cheatgrass Invasion in the Great Basin (2000)

    University of Illinois, Desert Research Institute, Weizmann Institute of Science, Environmental Sciences and Energy Research (Israel)
Evan DeLucia (Principal Investigator)

    Propelled by overgrazing and fire, the transformation from diverse shrub-perennial grass steppe to annual grassland dominated by cheatgrass is well underway in western Nevada.  The objective of this research was to quantify the ecosystem-level consequences of cheatgrass invasion, and remediation practices, on carbon and water resources in the Great Basin Desert.  Results indicate that the conversion of native sagebrush to post-fire communities disrupts seasonal patterns of carbon and water exchange, and alters both the seasonal availability and spatial distribution of soil water, which may impede the establishment of native perennials. The capacity of Great Basin Desert ecosystems to uptake carbon and the regional water balance may be severely affected by this landscape transformation.

  • Dryland Vegetation Dynamics and Landscape Vulnerability to Wildfire
    University of Arizona, Universidad de Alicante (Spain), Technion Israel Institute of Technology, USDA Forest Service, University of Haifa (Israel)
Barron Orr (Principal Investigator)

    Drought, wildfire and precipitation events can have a devastating impact on the sustainable use of dry-land resources. The primary objectives of this research were to integrate seasonal and geospatial vegetation and climate data sources with erosion plot data to assess land degradation and recovery after wildfire events. A geospatial land degradation information system was used to develop seasonal assessments of post-fire land degradation potential for sites in Israel, the USA and Spain. The outcomes of this project create the opportunity for land managers to generate seasonally representative maps of land degradation and erosion risk at the regional scale, and to assess the relative importance of factors contributing to land degradation.

  • Predicting Seed Bank Germination in Semiarid Rangelands Under Grazing
    Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel), Brigham Young University, USDA Forest Service, Agricultural Research Organization of Israel, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel)
Jaime Kigel (Principal Investigator)

    A better understanding of the dynamics of the seed bank and temporal patterns of germination is particularly important for dry-land grazing systems in semiarid regions, where annual plants are the main biomass producers for forage.  The main goal of this project was to achieve a better understanding of the relationships between the seed-bank and the ensuing annual vegetation as affected by inter-annual variation in climatic conditions.  An improved understanding of seed bank dynamics will substantiate future models dealing with the effects of climate change on vegetation.