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Disappearing Desert: Guarded Border Imperils Ecosystem

Disappearing Desert: Guarded Border Imperils Ecosystem

April 15, 2011

Press Releases

The high-security border between Israel and Egypt is causing Israel’s sand dunes along the border to crust over with green algae that make the sand hard and crunchy.

Egypt’s dunes, on the other hand, remain soft, yellow and rippled — mainly because nomadic Bedouins are still allowed to graze their sheep and goats there.

“The contrast is so stark that, in satellite images, the sharp yellow-green line is the most visible border in the world from above,” says Dr. Yaron Ziv, a landscape ecologist in Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Life Sciences Department. 

Now, as the crust slowly takes over Israel’s Negev desert, Ziv and colleagues are beginning to document a surprising variety of life in the area.

They have compiled a list of gerbils, snakes, beetles and other animals that live only in this corner of the world, some of which are brand new to science. And they are finding that the crusts pose a major threat to the region’s biodiversity.

Similar kind of environment Researchal shifts are also happening in deserts regions far beyond the Middle East.

Read full article on the Discovery News Web site>>

About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. As Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) celebrates its 50th birthday this year, AABGU imagines a future that goes beyond the walls of academia. It is a future where BGU invents a new world and inspires a vision for a stronger Israel and its next generation of leaders. Together with supporters, AABGU will help the University foster excellence in teaching, research and outreach to the communities of the Negev for the next 50 years and beyond.

Media Contact:
Andrew Lavin
A. Lavin Communications