From Sarcopoterium Thicket to High Quality Pasture in Two Seasons
Investigators (most current known information)
This project aimed to demonstrate that dense thickets of the dwarf-shrub Sarcopoterium spinosum (Ssp) can be profitably and rapidly converted to herbaceous pasture. Five-hectares of open shrubland heavily infested with Ssp thickets were selected near the En Yaaqov village in the western Galilee, Israel. The Ssp was sprayed with herbicide in the spring of 2003 and the shrubs were burned in late autumn. Phosphorus fertilizer was applied at the beginning of the 2003/04 growing season of the herbaceous vegetation. The demonstation area as well as a one hectare control plot was fenced in April and the woody vegetation was surveyed to establish a quantitative estimate of the initial state of the vegetation. The area was not grazed during the growing season, but cattle were introduced to the area in summer.
The area was again closed to grazing at the beginning of the 2004/05 and 2005/06 growing seasons. The vegetation was surveyed at the peak of the growing seasons in April 2005 and 2006 and cattle were again introduced to the area in June.
At each stage of the project all activities were recorded and photographed both with still camera and video by a professional photographer. Some of the material that has been accumulated has been incorporated into the internet site that has been planned for the project.
An economic analysis of the project indicated that the benefits can cover the costs only after a period of at least 10 years (unless advantage is taken to treat areas cleared by unplanned wild-fire). The details of the analysis are presented in the present report and on the website of the project.
During the past half year, an internet site has been completed. Its address is http://www.sarco.org.il/. It includes an opening page that provides access to rest of the site that includes detailed sections on the background of the project and its initial stages (see appendix). An economic evaluation of the project was conducted and included in the site. Some of the sections of the site still have to be completed including a video clip of the main activities that are needed to achieve the goals of the project. This clip will be edited from the material that has accumulated and incorporated in the site.