Large areas of the Negev of Southern Israel are considered as desertified areas. In the past, the Negev had known periods of economic prosperity. Ruins of ancient agriculture farms and towns (1000 B.C – 700 A.D) are spread over large areas of the Negev.
Abandonment of the ancient farms and towns by the permanent residents, mismanagement of soil and water resources, non-maintenance of the ancient agriculture sites, clear cut of vegetation, heavy grazing pressure and improper land cultivation, had led to degradation processes.
Rehabilitation of degraded areas is based on proper management of soil, water and vegetation resources. Afforestation and soil conservation efforts over the dry environment are based on water harvesting. Ancient water harvesting methods with modern technique and knowledge are implemented on slopes and valleys in order to enrich soil humidity, thus enable the success and growth of planted trees and natural herbaceous vegetation
Applied research and long term monitoring, as well as adaptive management, play an important role for achieving sustainable rehabilitation.
The rehabilitated areas improve life quality of the inhabitants and provide ecosystem services, such as: green belts around urban areas, recreation opportunities, improved pasture and shade for wildlife and controlled livestock grazing, soil conservation and flood control, as well as preserving the cultural heritage of the area.