A World on the Verge of Extinction
Despite its relatively small area, the State of Israel was blessed with a most opulent biodiversity.
• 2800 species of wild plants
• More than 500 species of birds
• About 100 species of mammals
• About 100 species of reptiles and anthropods
• An infinite number of microbes, viruses, algae and mushrooms the majority of whom have not yet been identified
However biodiversity in Israel, as in the entire world, is menaced by various factors:
• The loss and amputation of natural habitats
• The penetration of invasive species that evict the local species
• Water and soil pollution
Simple, Available and Free: How Can You View the Red Book on the Google Earth Interface?
If you already have Google Earth, Click here to view the Red Book
Web Version of The Red Book:
Liron Biazi, Ran Goldblat, Dana Guy, Amit Dolev, Gitit Weisblum, Guy Nizri, Yoav Perlman, Nir Papay, Amir Perlberg and Boaz Shacham
The main threat derives from intensive human activities such as construction, paving roads, agricultural site preparation etc. For this reason an increasing number of species are gradually disappearing from our country's landscape; since the 1950s about 3% of all the plant varieties in Israel have been destroyed and a non-negligible number of vertebrae such as the brown bear, the panther and the vulture have almost totally disappeared from Israel's natural scene.
The Red Book of Vertebrates in Israel:
Which Species Are in Danger of Extinction?
The Red Book of vertebrates in Israel was published in 2002 by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel in conjunction with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority with a view to defining the current condition of the vertebrate species in Israel in order to identify the "red" species that are under immediate threat.
The Red Book describes the species and classifies them by global and regional threat levels.
The Red Book shows the diffusion of species throughout Israel and the world and emphasizes the species that are in danger of extinction, and on whose behalf tangible activities must be made in order to prevent their local or global extinction.
The species that were included in the Red Book and their condition were chosen employing the yardsticks of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (I.C.U.N.).
The species of vertebrates are categorized by into five categories:
· Freshwater fishes · amphibians · reptiles · birds · mammals
Special for the International Biodiversity Year:
the Red Book Also on the Internet
The Year 2010, which was proclaimed throughout the world and in Israel as well as the International Biodiversity Year for the preservation of biological diversity, provides an excellent opportunity to refresh the Red Book and expand public exposure to it. Similar to other environmental organizations throughout the world the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel chose this year to put the book on the Internet in digital format and to make use of the innovative mapping application Google Earth.
The Advantages of the Red Book Online and Mapping the Species on a Google Earth Interface
The new mapping application Google Earth allows anybody connected to the Internet to examine the globe in three dimensions and view it in high resolution via satellite and aerial photographs. The main advantage of this mapping application in the area of nature preservation is its exposure potential thanks to its availability to anyone connected to the Internet and thanks to its facility of use.
• The use of the Red Book on a Google Earth interface is simple, available to anybody connected to the Internet, and no less important free of charge.
• The regional dispersion of the species facing threat of extinction appears on a dynamic three-dimensional map.
• One can focus on particular geographic regions, examine the connection between the species, look at layers of geographic information, and receive additional information about every species.
• The Red Book facilitates making valuable information on the species in danger of extinction accessible.
• The Red Book will help students and researchers to promote research and understanding regarding the constriction of biological diversity.
• The Red Book promotes consciousness-raising about species that are in danger of extinction in Israel and in this way it raises awareness about the need to preserve biological diversity.
• The Red Book allows planners to address this significant aspect in the planning processes.
Simple, Available and Free:
How Can You View the Red Book on the Google Earth Interface?
The geographic information layer of the Red Book includes the geographic dispersion of 130 species of vertebrates. About 130 species are currently mapped on the Google interface namely those for whom a distribution map in the Red Book exist. However you can still find additional information about species that are not on the Google interface on the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel website.
Downloading the Interface - Easy Fast and Free
· To download Google Earth in the event that the Google Earth interface is not installed on your computer, press here in order to install it. Installation is short, fast and free. To learn about the advantages of the Google Earth interface press here.
· To download the Red Book file: After installing the Google Earth interface on your computer press to download the Red Book file for viewing on the Google Earth interface.
Viewing the Interface - Experiential and User Friendly
· In order to view the mapped species in each department, you must press on the + sign in the appropriate department.
· In order to view the distribution of every species or a specific department you must place a check mark according to the species that you want to view. After placing the check mark in order to focus on the distribution of the species double click on the name of the species. This activity will transport you directly to the species' areas of distribution that are marked in red as areas or lines.
· To receive information about each species press on the red areas or lines that display its distribution. Such a click will open a data card, including the picture of the species, a synopsis of the information regarding its global and regional threat level. From the entry one can reach the Internet page that incorporates detailed information regarding the particular species (information as it appears in the Red Book) or to an Internet page that suggests various ways of joining the environmental struggles in the realm of nature preservation.