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Land 2015, 4(4), 938-956; doi:10.3390/land4040938

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

Open Landscape Institute (Machon Deshe), Negev 2 St., Tel Aviv 66186, Israel
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Benjamin Burkhard, Stefan Hotes and Hubert Wiggering
Received: 1 June 2015 / Revised: 21 September 2015 / Accepted: 21 September 2015 / Published: 2 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agro(Eco)System Services—Supply and Demand from Fields to Society)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [6436 KB, uploaded 2 October 2015]   |  

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. View Full-Text
Keywords: no-tillage; soil erosion; ecosystem services; conservation tillage; multi-stakeholder analysis; straw mulch; stubble grazing; Negev Desert no-tillage; soil erosion; ecosystem services; conservation tillage; multi-stakeholder analysis; straw mulch; stubble grazing; Negev Desert
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Sagie, H.; Ramon, U. Using an Agroecosystem Services Approach to Assess Tillage Methods: A Case Study in the Shikma Region. Land 2015, 4, 938-956.

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