March 2017

The mortality of Atlantic Pistachios in the extreme arid desert – evidence of extreme climate changes in southern Israel

Benny Shalmon – Eilat,

Keywords: Eilat, Pistacia atlantica, Anacardiaceae, desert, Negev, Sinai, trees in the desert, relict,  tree mortality

The Atlantic Pistachio (Pistacia atlantica) is a large tree whose origin is in the Asiatic semi-arid areas). In Israel the species is a relict of a colder and rainier era. The solitary trees in the southern Negev and western Sinai, are found at the southern boundary of the species' distribution, and with the drying up of the southern Negev they are gradually dying out.  In recent decades, the southern Negev, which is an extreme arid desert, has been warming up, and the quantity of rainfall and floods has fallen. The records of the quantity of rain in the Eilat area shows that this trend has  been continuing in the current Holocene geological era for the last 10,000 years.  The climate forecast for the year 2100 anticipates that this trend will continue to intensify.

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Summary of Kalanit study tour to the northern Jordan Valley, the Gilboa and Mount Dvora. 15th and 16th of March 2017

Avi Shmida,  the Department of Evolution, Systematics and Behavior, the Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Givat Ram, and the Land of Israel Studies at the Kinneret College.
Gadi Pollak – Kalanit editorial board.

Keywords:  Rhus tripartita, Irish haynei,  Iris bismarckiana, royal Irises. endemic to the transition belt, Jordan Valley Rift, Golbo'a, Adonis palaestina, Mt. Dvora, the transition belt, Glaphyridae, Periploca aphylla, Euphorbia oxyodonta, Euphorbia arguta, Onobrychis crista-galli, Plantago bellardii, red bowl-shaped flowers, spring flowers, antipastoral plants, Trichodesma boissieri, Ziziphus lotus, transition belt shrubland

The flowering was late in 2016/17 compared to the average, apparently due to a delay of over one month in the commencement of rain this winter, and the low temperatures that prevailed in December and the first half of January. At the time of the study tour the transition belt vegetation was dominant in the northern Jordan Valley Rift, in magnificent flowering fields, and at the heights of the Gilboa the flowering was at its peak, where we could observe the beginning of the flowering of the Gilboa Iris (Iris haynei).  In the typical Mediterranean region (Mt. Dvora) in the Kermes Oak (Quercus calliprinos) thicket, and the Mount Tabor Oak (Quercus ithaburensis) forest, the peak of the flowering had not yet commenced.  The dominant species were in early stages or buds, and the blooming of the Nazareth Iris (Iris bismarckiana) had just begun.

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