22-27 September 2019
Trade Fairs and Congress Center (FYCMA)
Europe/Madrid timezone

What can modern farms learn from older one? A lesson from ancient wise hydrogeologists

24 Sep 2019, 12:30
Conference room 1.B ()

Conference room 1.B

Oral Topic 3 - Groundwater sustainability and governance Parallel


Dr Avshalom Babad (Dead Sea and Arava Science Center)


The southern Levant is an arid area with precipitation that doesn’t exceed 150 mm per year. Despite the arid conditions, agriculture flourished throughout extensive areas of the Negev Highlands, southern Israel, for hundreds or even thousands of years. The ancient agriculture was based on runoff harvesting and reducing floodwater energy. Currently, water is constantly supplied through pipes, therefore, this ancient knowledge seems to be irrelevant. However, modern hydrogeological research indicates that the ancient methods of terraces construction can be useful for the present. Close observations show several benefits of the ancient techniques: increased soil moisture behind restored terraces, improved soil fertility due to accumulation of organic matter, reduced soil erosion and even soil accumulation by trapping flowing sediments. Most of the challenges that ancient farms faced are relevant for modern agriculture in drylands. Therefore, we can learn from the wisdom of ancient agricultural practices to contribute knowledge for sustainable modern agriculture applies in drylands.

Primary author

Dr Avshalom Babad (Dead Sea and Arava Science Center)


Dr Yoav Avni (Geological Survey of Israel) Dr Noa Avriel-Avni (Dead Sea and Arava Science Center) Mr Ariel Meroz (Dead Sea and Arava Science Center)

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