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Using an Agroecosystem Services Approach to Assess Tillage Methods: A Case Study in the Shikma Region

Hila Sagie () and Uri Ramon ()
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Hila Sagie: Open Landscape Institute (Machon Deshe), Negev 2 St., Tel Aviv 66186, Israel
Uri Ramon: Open Landscape Institute (Machon Deshe), Negev 2 St., Tel Aviv 66186, Israel

Land, 2015, vol. 4, issue 4, 1-19

Abstract: The use of ecosystem services (ES) in agricultural management is expanding; however, its integration in decision making processes is still challenging. This project was formulated to examine the ES approach and its usefulness with regard to management dilemmas. The Shikma region, north of the Negev Desert, was chosen as a case study. The management issue identified was the effect of various alternatives (minimum-tillage, no-tillage, straw-mulch and stubble-grazing) on the supply of ES. The expert-based ES assessments’ findings reveal that no-tillage has the potential to increase many agroecosystem services and be more profitable for the farmer and the public. However, trade-offs between different ES and among stakeholder groups make it difficult to reach an unequivocal conclusion. As we have found, the process of the study is as important as the results. Throughout the project, an effort was made to engage stakeholders and policy-makers and to define decision-making processes. The study suggests that the ES approach can be useful in expanding the scope of agricultural management beyond provisioning services and create collaborations among farmers, communities, national institutions and environmental organizations to advance conservation agriculture. The study provides guidelines for conducting a productive ES assessment process that will lead to enhanced awareness and implementation.

Keywords: no-tillage; soil erosion; ecosystem services; conservation tillage; multi-stakeholder analysis; straw mulch; stubble grazing; Negev Desert (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q15 Q2 Q24 Q28 Q5 R14 R52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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Handle: RePEc:gam:jlands:v:4:y:2015:i:4:p:938-956:d:56745