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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. Activities include showcasing BGU’s academic excellence and cutting-edge research through educational programs, events and informative communications. AABGU’s main purpose is to support Ben-Gurion’s vision and the university that bears his name by creating a community of Americans committed to improving the world tomorrow from the heart of the Israeli desert today.

Media Contact:
Andrew Lavin
A. Lavin Communications
516-944-4486
alc@alavin.com