In the current survey, bottlenecks were examined as part of a system of ecological corridors in Israel’s central region. As far as we know, this survey constitutes the highest concentrated effort in the field in the region, in terms of several criteria: the scope of the area covered, sampling efforts in relation to the area, and the variety of sampling methods used.
During the survey, a relatively high number of vertebrate species (mammals, reptiles and amphibians) was observed – 36 different species in total – among them two domesticated species (dogs, cats) and a number of species considered as associated with human habitation (golden jackals, rats, house mice). Even though a large number of the species was observed only once or a few times, it can be assumed that finding one or several members of a certain species indicates the existence of a population of that species, especially since some of these species are difficult to observe even in ideal habitats. In that sense, it seems that while the area is highly violated in regards to its the natural ecosystem infrastructure, it still supports a large variety of species, and maintaining it as an open natural area is crucial.
The main conclusions and recommendations arising from the results of the current survey indicate the following:
- The relatively high diversity of species found during the survey indicates that even highly-interrupted areas constitute a functioning ecosystem that should be preserved.
- The importance of continuing to monitor the open areas in the region, with a focus on their usability.
- Expanding the surveys, and monitoring additional groups, mainly arthropods (both terrestrial and flying), bats and birds.
- Expanding the survey to focus on understanding the spatial and temporal use-patterns of road crossings, to help with arriving at future interface conclusions.
- Conducting research that will focus on the functioning of the corridors for species who have a conservational or functional importance, or for indicative species.
- Applying a variety of monitoring techniques which complement each other, as was done in this survey.
- The importance of maintaining a natural relict, even if only the margins of disturbed or agricultural areas.
- Examining the phenomenon of the proliferation of domestic dogs in the area, and its possible consequences.
- Examining the dynamics of the boar population in the region, to understand their spatial distribution modes, and assess the risks of their spread into urban areas.