Har HaNegev Protected Area workshop

7-10 February 2017, Ben Gurion University, Sde Boker Israel

ECOPOTENTIAL scientists met at Ben Gurion University (BGU), Sede Boker Campus, Israel from Feb 7 to Feb 10, 2017 to discuss the fundamental scientific topics of the project, such as detection and description of spatial and temporal changes in the Protected Areas of Har HaNegev, ecological conservation studies, and strategies described in the Har HaNegev project Storyline. The first two days were devoted to a technical workshop on the use of open-source Qgis program for land cover changes.  The other two days were devoted to discussions on data acquisition, processing, interpretation, and extraction of essential variables, as well as framing into Ecosystem Services mindmaps.  A field trip highlighted the research methodologies and challenges for the Har HaNegev storyline and for the whole project workflow. During the field trip, the participants took part in an observation from the Ben-Gurion Tomb National Park with an explanation on the landscape’s geology.  They visited an ancient agricultural system and a local modern individual family farm and received a thorough explanation about the farm’s history, motives, and products.  The participants continued to an ancient rock-art engraving site and were given a summary on the phenomena by one of the Nature and Parks Authority (NPA) workers.  The field trip continued to an observation in Ein-Ma’arif waterfall, a presentation on the ancient city of Avdat and a traditional Bedouin settlement. The Israeli team was composed by scientists from BGU and from the Israeli National Park Authority, both partners of ECOPOTENTIAL. Other Partners came to Israel from Germany, Italy, Norway and Spain.