Small ruminants grazing as a rehabilitative land management tool in the negev highland; soil, geomorphological and topographical perspectives

Amir Mor-Mussery, Hiam Abu-Glion, Shimshon Shuker, Eli Zaady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The ‘wadis’ (ephemeral incised channels in arid regions) concern badlands with low agriculture utilisation that expands to neighbouring cultivated areas. They are noticeable and unique landforms characterised by vegetation patches and seasonal flood flows with scenic beauty that must be conserved. The wadi characteristics have influenced the way of life of their indigenous residents from ancient times until now. The main one is grazing with small ruminants (SR). The authorities and public consider grazing in these areas as a destructive land management practice that should be reduced. To assess the viability of grazing in such regions, we hypothesised that fluvial and biological flows tightly correlate with the wadis’ landforms, channels and slopes. The site of study is located in the Yeroham mountains nearby the Rahma planned Bedouin village. Five different transects of channels and slopes were located over representative wadis, including those exposed to grazing. The finding indicates that a herbaceous vegetation expansion uphill was observed only in grazed transects, while the wadi slope patterns affect its patterns. It contains an increased soil water content (from a similar value of 5% until 13% change in the grazed transect), 1.5% higher soil organic matter, 0.08 mg Kg−1 higher Nitrite content and 1–2% higher clay content in the grazed transects, up to 4 m ahead from the channel. The novelty of this finding suggested that the SR influences the organic matter to reach the wadi channel and facilitate the adherence of aggregated clay and the formed colluvial layer that serves as a substrate to the expanded vegetation growth. Adequate implementation of these grazing patterns may rehabilitate degraded ‘wadis’ and increase their tourism eligibility.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1730
JournalAgronomy
Volume11
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Grazing pattern
  • Indigenous desert residents
  • Rehabilitation
  • Soil organic matter
  • Wadi channel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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