Integrating Soil Biodiversity into Ecosystem Services

Agro-Diversity Lab, Natural Resources Department - Plant sciences Agricultural Research Organization- Volcani Institute

About ARO

Located in Rishon LeZion near Tel-Aviv, ARO's includes six institutes: Plant Sciences, Animal Science, Plant Protection, Soil Water and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Engineering, and Postharvest and Food Sciences. ARO also operates four research stations in various parts of the country and serves as a testing center for agricultural production and equipment. Israel's Gene Bank for Agricultural Crops is also located at the ARO Volcani station in Rishon LeZion. While encompassing the full range of agricultural research activities, ARO focuses in particular on arid zone agriculture, enabling Israel - a country short of fundamental resources required for agriculture - to achieve among the highest levels of agricultural output in the world. Among ARO's areas of special expertise are:

  • agriculture under arid conditions
  • agriculture on marginal soils
  • irrigation using effluent and saline water
  • crop cultivation in protected environments
  • freshwater fish farming under conditions of water shortage
  • minimisation of produce losses through the use of latest pest control and post-harvest storage methods
  • breeding and development of new strains of crops and domestic animals better suited to the adverse conditions which already exist in many parts of the world, and which are likely to become even more prevalent in the future

About Agro-Diversity Lab

Investigate the breaking of uniformity in agriculture by innovative field designs to support the resilience of agroecosystems. In particular - intercropping - integrated agricultural systems, agroforestry, and agriculture-wildlife interaction. We focus on four aspects of diversity in agriculture:

1) Variety of crops 2) Field design 3) Nature-Agriculture interface including soil biodiversity functioning 4) Novel agri-production such as circular agriculture and urban agriculture

Role within SOB4ES

Israel is characterised by a steep precipitation gradient, with annual averages ranging from nearly 1000 mm in the North to nearly 0 mm in the South. The research in ARO will be done within a typical Mediterranean climate, with seasonal rain of up to 600mm per winter, down to dryland area with about 200mm per winter. ARO will sample soils in three land uses (LU) under 2-3 intensities of human disturbance. Cropland LU including orchards and field crops Wetland LU, including riparian stream areas, and winter floodplains - typically seasonal; and Urban LU.

Main contacts

Photo of Dr. Oren Shelef
Dr. Oren Shelef

Principal Investigator

Photo of Dr. Dvora Namdar
Dr. Dvora Namdar

Principal assistance

Photo of Eyal Ben-Simchon
Eyal Ben-Simchon

Ph.D. candidate

Photo of Roza Ayalkibet
Roza Ayalkibet

Ph.D. candidate

Photo of Dvora Wolicki
Dvora Wolicki

MSc student

Photo of Jonatan Fireman
Jonatan Fireman

MSc student

Photo of Zenawi Tadesse
Zenawi Tadesse

MSc student

Photo of Maor Levy
Maor Levy

MSc student, Manager of pomegranate and jojoba plantations

Photo of Kinneret Rosenblatt
Kinneret Rosenblatt

MSc student

Photo of Guy Yogev
Guy Yogev

MSc student