Co-Director of Center for Sustainable Agriculture

NOAH MARTHINSEN Research Manager


Related image

Related image

In collaboration with the Keren Kolot tourism program of Kibbutz Ketura, this conservation garden will promote education, tourism, and desert agriculture by creating an oasis of diverse species of local, biblical, and international origin. Many of the species are endangered or rare, many attract birds and wildlife, and others demonstrate agricultural development possibilities of the future. This project is currently in the early stages of development.


Several native plants in the south of Israel are on the verge of extinction. The reasons for their decline in population vary, some due to changes in climate, drought, unsustainable harvesting, and many remain unexplained. Perennial trees and bushes are crucial to study since they are keystone species of their sparse ecologies; in their absence, survival has become precarious for many bird, insect and animal species that depended on them.

Other species that need protection and study include the Blackroot Tree (Mauera crassifiolia), Hairy Thornplum (Zisiphus nummalaria), and White Bushy Bean caper (Zyglophyllum album).

In total, there are twenty-seven desert species that would be the focus of this shelter garden. About a hundred and fifty plants in Israel need protection from extinction. A significant portion of the precursory research could be completed at the Shelter Garden site.

The above research contributed to the following books:

Lansky, E.P. & Paavilainen, H.M. & Lansky, S. (2013). Caper: The genus capparis. 10.1201/b16031.

Dafforn , M., & Vietmeyer, N. (2008). Lost Crops of Africa: Fruit (Vol. 3). Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.