Using the Ecosystem Services Framework in a Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research (LTSER) Platform: Lessons from the Wadi Araba Desert, Israel and Jordan

  • Daniel E. OrensteinEmail author
  • Elli Groner
Part of the Ecology and Ethics book series (ECET, volume 2)


The establishment of Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research (LTSER) platforms is part of a paradigmatic shift in the way ecosystems are studied and managed: from a narrow species-level focus to a holistic socio-ecological systems approach. The need for this shift is based on increasingly urgent global environmental challenges and the realization that traditional ecological research methods and foci have been insufficient for meeting these challenges. While the theoretical foundation for this shift and guidelines for implementing it are increasingly well defined, there is little actual experience in implementation on the ground. We recount our experiences in establishing an LTSER platform in Wadi Araba, a hyper-arid desert in southern Israel and Jordan, focusing on the challenges in establishing a cooperative agenda between the two countries. We discuss the use of the ecosystem service (ES) conceptual framework for guiding our research program and our efforts to create a dialogue between research scientists and community members, and identify some of the ethical issues inherent in trans-border research and in the application of the ES framework.


Arava Ecosystem services Socio-ecological research Transboundary 



We gratefully acknowledge the work of our Jordanian colleagues. We thank the editors of this volume for their improvements to the manuscript and our research assistants, Hila Sagie and Inna Kaplan. Roy Zaidenberg developed the model displayed in Fig. 18.2. Portions of this research were supported by a trans-border cooperation grant from the Israel Ministry of Regional Cooperation to the Dead Sea – Arava Science Center.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Architecture and Town PlanningTechnion – Israel Institute of TechnologyHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.RamonThe Dead-Sea and Arava Science CenterMitzpe RamonIsrael

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