DDD Conference


Agriculture/Dead Sea Tour organized by Prof. Naftali Lazarovitch, The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR)

Departure Time:  7:00am (Full Day)

On the tour we will see desert agriculture and how farmers deal with environmental stresses. We will tour the hyper arid Arava area where farmers grow high quality vegetables and fruits. In the tour we will cover irrigation and fertilization methods as well as growing in open spaces and in greenhouses. In addition, we will visit orchards irrigated with wastewater from the city of Arad. We will also include a short dip in the Dead Sea which is a unique natural phenomenon. The Dead Sea is also a source of minerals and we will observe the Dead Sea plants.

NOTE:  BRING A BATHING SUIT as there will be a short dip in the Dead Sea

Bedouin Arab Society in Southern Israel: Difficulties, Challenges & Opportunities organized by 
Prof. Sarah Abu-Kaf & Prof. Orna Braun-Lewensohn
Conflict Management & Resolution Program
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), Israel
The Bedouin Arab population in the Negev region of Israel numbers 270,000 and comprises about 27% of the population of the Negev. This ethnic minority group faces enormous difficulties in the social, cultural, political, and financial domains of everyday life. This population is the youngest in the country (over 51.2% are under age 18) and is considered to be a disadvantaged minority population, suffering from very low levels of education, lower levels of employment (mainly among women), and high levels of poverty (about 60% of families live below the poverty line; CBS, 2020).  In addition to these difficulties and challenges, individuals within this population are currently experiencing rapid changes in cultural values and social structure. Members of Bedouin Arab society live in three types of communities: older and recognized towns (the city of Rahat and six other towns); recognized, but undeveloped villages (11 villages); and unrecognized villages (34 villages). About 50% of the Bedouin population live in recognized towns, 17% live in recognized, but undeveloped villages, and 33% live in unrecognized villages. During the tour we will visit the three types of communities and hear about the unique difficulties and challenges of these communities. In addition, we will be exposed to local initiatives aimed at improving the situation and tackling the range of difficulties and challenges in the areas of education, welfare, health, and economics.

Brackish Groundwater in the Arava Valley Region and Its Importance for Agricultural Development organized by Prof. Ron Kasher, BIDR, and Prof. Eilon M. Adar, BIDR

The Arava Valley is long and narrow low-lying arid valley, stretching from the Dead Sea at the north to the Red Sea at the south. Although the Arava Valley is an arid and rather hot desert,it is home to some of Israel’s most extensive agriculture. In fact, 60% of Israel’s agricultural export is produced in the Arava Valley. As the Arava region is not connected to the National Water Carrier, the availability of brackish groundwater is of extreme importance for its development. In this tour we will get familiar with the Arava Valley region and its water resources, brackish groundwater desalination, and their importance for agricultural development.

Ecohydrology in Ramon Center organized by Dr. Elli Groner, Dead Sea and Arava Center, and Dr. Avshalom Babad, Dead Sea and Arava Center

Our tour will focus on desert eco-hydrology and specifically, it will exemplify the differences between arid and hyper-arid ecology. We will address issues of source-sink dynamics and how these affect natural and agricultural arid and hyper-arid ecosystems differently. We will introduce the concept of Long Term Ecosystem Research and Monitoring (LTERM).

Our tour will start at the arid ecosystem LTERM site of Avdat. We will then visit part of the Negev Highland Long Term Socio- Ecology Research platform in the agricultural area of Sfat Midbar (Desert Edge). This arid area demonstrates the challenges and opportunities of ecohydrology for desert agriculture. We will then observe the Makhtesh Ramon from above to understand the unique geology of the crater. Our tour will stop at several geologically significant points within the crater, including Mt Gvanim, Ardon Wadi, Ramon Wadi and we will end the tour in the Gvanim LTER, a hyper-arid ecosystem. We will become familiar the research area, including flood monitoring facilities, water use efficiency and biodiversity of the hyper-arid ecosystem.

Healthy Placemaking Meets Climate Change: organized and led by Prof. Nadav Davidovitch, Ben Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), &  Ms. Dorit Sherf Bussel, East Negev Consortium

A Practical Seminar to learn new healthy placemaking methodologies showcasing various communities in the Negev as examples and case sationtudies.

Practical Methods for Rainwater Harvesting and Watershed Management in Semi-Arid and Arid Regions Tour organized and led by Gil Siaki, Director of the Forestry Department, Southern District & Moti Shriki, Director of the Soil Conservation Department, Director of the Negev and Arava Region, Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), Israel

Departure Time:  8:00am (Full Day)

Forty percent of the world’s land area is defined as arid or semi-arid. Desertification processes that result from human activity and climate change are a cause of great concern in the world today. A large proportion of Israel has arid and semi-arid environments, with the Negev desert covering two-thirds of the country’s territory. Therefore, these issues are relevant to Israel as well.

KKL-JNF has developed advanced techniques based on the agricultural methods of the Nabataeans, who were ancient inhabitants of the Negev (4th-2nd BCE), for harvesting runoff and combating the processes of desertification. KKL-JNF has acquired extensive practical experience in dryland afforestation by planting in runoff harvesting systems (mini-catchments and limans) thus turning the desert greener. The ability to keep the water in the ecological system prevents soil erosion and ecosystem degradation. In this tour we will focus on stream restoration, restoring hydraulic and ecological functions to degraded land, which is founded on research, as a base for the afforestation of drylands.

Renewable Energy Management in the Negev Highland  organized Prof. Moshe Herzberg, BGU

The purpose of the tour will be to view the different types of renewable energy plants located in the Ramat Negev area. The Ashalim power plant, which has 3 different types of energy production, will be toured: solar thermal energy, photovoltaic energy, and natural gas. After the Ashalim tour we will be heading north to “Dudaim” waste  landfill site, where methane production from the landfill leachate is used for power generation, supplied to electrical grid.

Viticulture: How Desertification and Climate Change Affect Wine Making organized Prof. Aaron Fait, BIDR

The purpose of the tour will be to convey the challenges of the Negev region regarding the climate crisis. This area is a model that can serve as a example for other regions that are experiencing warming and droughts due to climate change.

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