Landscape and a political border determine desert arthropods distribution Academic Article uri icon


  • We studied the distribution of arthropods in the Arava desert on both sides of the Israeli-Jordanian border, to assess the impact of different anthropogenic pressures on the local fauna. We examined how different landscape units, proximity to agricultural fields, and human societies, might affect the diversity of ground dwelling beetles, and spiders, using ordination and diversity estimation methods. Our results suggest that although both countries contain similar habitats, each has its own unique characteristics, probably due to different cultural practices. The immediate repercussion is that loss of a habitat on one side of the border cannot be compensated with preservation of the same habitat across the border, due to fauna dissimilarity. For example, beetle species can be assembled according to landscape units, but within each landscape unit they show dissimilarities that are based on the geopolitical location. Spiders fail to assemble according to landscape units but cluster as a unique group within Israel. Both landscape unit type and the border, were found to be important for the overall species diversity of this ecosystem and therefore “redundancy” should be carefully applied, especially across geopolitical borders.

publication date

  • January 1, 2011