Effects of Military Activities on Tortoises in Israel
A B S T R A C T OF P R E S E N T A T I O N
ELE GEFFEN and HEINRICH MENDELSSOHN
Faculty of life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, Israel
ABSTRACT: Because of the generally good cooperation between the army and the Nature Reserves Authority (the government conservation agency), excessive damage to tortoise habitat has been prevented in most areas. Habitats in which tank maneuvers are conducted are, of course, completely destroyed, but when supervised, other military activities cause little damage. In recent years grazers and their herds have not been permitted to enter military areas, and habitats in these areas are in much better condition than the badly overgrazed areas. Such is the case with the proposed Holot Agur Nature Reserve, which is a military zone. Holot Agur has little human disturbance and the flora and fauna are in excellent condition. In contrast, just across the border in Egypt, similar habitat is badly overgrazed, and the vegetation cover is close to nil (Mendelssohn, 1982; Zohary, 1980). Little information is available on the situation in countries neighboring Israel.
Mendelssohn, H. 1982. Egyptian tortoise. In The IUCN Amphibia-Reptilia Red Data Book. Part 1. Testudinidae, Crocodylia, Rhynchocephalia, B. Groombridge (comp.), pp. 133136. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. xiii + 426 pp.
Zohary, M. 1980. Vegetal Landscapes in Israel. Am Oved Publishing Limited, Tel Aviv, Israel.
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