Recently, Amir Mor-Mussery submitted his doctoral dissertation to Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Be’er Sheva, based on research he conducted at Project Wadi Attir. The dissertation is titled: “Evolution of Agro-Ecosystems in Differently Managed Research Plots in an Arid Loess Area in the Northern Negev”.
The dissertation summarizes an extensive study based on the results of the ecosystem restoration initiative at Project Wadi Attir, which incorporates extensive soil enhancement, biodiversity enrichment, and rainwater harvesting to demonstrate an effective and low-impact approach to combating desertification. The study for the dissertation was carried out between 2011 and 2018, and it contains analyses related to soil fertility levels, productivity, landform stability, and biological activity on different locations and soil types on the project site, both before and during the implementation of the ecosystem restoration initiative.
The survey yielded important results, showing that the rehabilitation efforts at Project Wadi Attir have resulted in the restoration of soils, increased erosion control, conservation of biodiversity, carbon sequestration, the combating of desertification, and more. These results are particularly important because Project Wadi Attir can serve as a case study for similar restoration efforts in other arid zones worldwide. The study was guided by Dr. Stefan Leu and Professor Jonathan B. Larronne, and it was partly sponsored by the Sustainability Laboratory.
Below are a variety of figures utilized within the thesis, which show some of the impacts of the ecosystem restoration initiative at Project Wadi Attir.
Aerial photograph of Project Wadi Attir showing the soil, vegetation, and ecological and geomorphological parameters that were analyzed during the study, compared to adjacent areas outside of the project boundary (indicated by the black dotted line)
Soil nutrient content at Project Wadi Attir greatly increased after 6 years
Change of patchy rehabilitation manner into areal recovery during the study (A: outside, B: inside)
The finding indicate that soil moisture contents of the tilled treatments between 2013 and 2017 greatly increased
Increased soil fertility due to increased biomass means that soils can supply the yearly food consumption of 4 goats per hectare
We offer our congratulations to Amir for his hard work, and we wish him luck in his career and future pursuits.