Decline of wetland ecosystems in the coastal plain of Israel during the 20th century: implications for wetland conservation and management

Levin, Noam, Elron, Eldad and Gasith, Avital (2009) Decline of wetland ecosystems in the coastal plain of Israel during the 20th century: implications for wetland conservation and management. Landscape and Urban Planning, 92 3-4: 220-232. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2009.05.009


Author Levin, Noam
Elron, Eldad
Gasith, Avital
Title Decline of wetland ecosystems in the coastal plain of Israel during the 20th century: implications for wetland conservation and management
Journal name Landscape and Urban Planning   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0169-2046
1872-6062
Publication date 2009-09-30
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2009.05.009
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 92
Issue 3-4
Start page 220
End page 232
Total pages 13
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier BV
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Severe competition for water and augmented agricultural and urban development in Israel have modified and destroyed wetland habitats. Using historical maps, we mapped the past extent of swamps and natural rain pools along the central coastal plain of Israel and compared this with the present extent as reflected in reports, field surveys and satellite images. Out of 192 swamps and rain pools recorded in historical sources, only 18% (35) still exist today. Extrapolation from 69 new records of rain pools (missing in historical sources), suggests that in the 19th century, before many of the wetlands were drained, transformed to agricultural land, or built over, the number of wetland habitats in the coastal plain was threefold higher. In addition to reduction of wetland number, human activity has also diminished wetland size. In rainy winters wetland areas in the coastal plain in the past were an order of magnitude larger than they are today (27.6 and 2.4 km2, respectively). At present, the existing natural water bodies along the coastal plain are temporary, small, and surrounded by built-up areas and roads. The grave state of the wetlands in Israel underscores the urgent need for protection of the remnant wetland sites. Following the successful example of wetland restoration in the Hula Valley, we recommend restoring various historical wetlands that have been drained.
Keyword Connectivity
Habitat loss
Historical maps
Rain pools
Species accumulation curves
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
 
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