Na ama s walking partner

Primary investigator:

Assoc. Prof. Daniel Orenstein

I am a socio-ecologist who studies interactions and feedbacks between humans and ecosystems.

I earned a MSc in Desert Ecology from Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and a PhD in interdisciplinary (environmental) studies from Brown University. My PhD dissertation focused on the impact of population growth and land use policy on urban sprawl and ecological contiguity in Israel.


Lab Manager


Dr. Ronit Cohen-Seffer is the lab manager. Her PhD was about "The Paleogeography of the Southern Carmel Coastal Plain during the Late Pleistocene – Holocene" (submitted to the University of Haifa). She did her Post Doc at the GLOWA-JR project and contributed to the "urban ecology" chapter at the "Assessing the state of Israel's Nature" HAMAARAG.


Research Associates


Dr. Yaella Depietri is Research Associate at the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and at the Natural Resources and Environmental Research Center, University of Haifa, both located in Haifa, Israel. She earned her PhD in Environmental Sciences at the Institute of Science and Technology (ICTA), Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) (Spain) in 2015 in collaboration with the United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), Bonn (Germany). She then was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at The New School in New York City (USA) and, later, at the Technion. Her research focuses on urban areas, ecosystem services, social media, disaster risk reduction, vulnerability to natural hazards, nature-based solutions, green infrastructure. More about Yaella

PhD Students

יערה סדצקי

Yaara Sadetzki-Vered earned her B.A. and M.A. degree in sociology and anthropology at Tel-Aviv University. Her study lay at the intersection of three disciplines: urban planning, socio-ecology and anthropology and focuses on the co-constitution of urban social, cultural and material space and human-animal interactions. an acting member of the steering group of the Academic Community of Human-Animal Studies Israel (HASI), Israeli Anthropological Association. More about Yaara

מרב כהן

Merav Cohen is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning. Her research focuses on socio-ecological resilience with a focus on the Covid-19 pandemic as a case study. Merav earned her master’s in Environmental Science and Policy (MPA) at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a degree in Law (LL.B.) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. More about Merav


PhD Students (serving as an external committee member)

Rachel Gould

Rachel Gould is a PhD candidate at Tel Aviv University in the Department of Public Policy with professor Alon Tal. She is focusing on how to craft culturally sensitive population policies for the State of Israel with a strong focus on the need to balance between population growth and available natural resources. Rachel has an MA with honors from Haifa University in Geography and Environmental Studies. Her thesis topic was on addressing solid waste disposal of disposable diapers. Her BA, cum laude, was earned at Wellesley College in the US where she was a Middle Eastern Studies major.

Masters students

רון לינדר

Ron Linder is a M.Sc research student in Urban and Regional Planning. His research is co-advised by Prof. Daniel Orenstein and Dr. Yakir Preisler from the Volcani Center. His research focuses on the impact of trees on the urban climate. He earned his B.Sc in Agroecology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

איליה עמנואל

Ilia Amenuel is a M.A. research student at the Porter School for Environmental Studies at Tel-Aviv university. His research,
co-advised by Prof. Daniel Orenstein and Prof. Juval Portugali, focuses on the dynamic that
occurs between the urban system and the spontaneous plant life in it. Ilia earned his B.Arch in
Tel-Aviv university and is a licensed and practicing architect with professional experience in
public commercial and residential buildings, currently focusing on urban renewal. More about Ilia


Neta Levran is a M.Sc. student In Urban and Regional Planning. Her study focuses on edible trees in the urban environment, asking what are, from an institutional perspective, the barriers to the use of the fruits of these trees. She earned her social science degree (B.A.) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and her architecturhandesay training at Shenkar Handesaim. Food and it’s relation to planning is a main field of interest. More about Neta

עדי אלמליח

Adi Elmaliah is a M.Sc. student In Urban and Regional Planning. Her study: "How much “nature” are we seeking in nature? PPGIS mapping of cultural ecosystem services and their spatial correlation with biodiversity". Adi graduated cum-laude her B.L.A in Landscape Architecture at the Technion, the Israeli institute of technology. More about Adi



Eran Schwarzfuchs ia aM.Sc student in Ecology and Environmental Quality, and in the Adi Lautman Interdisciplinary Program for Outstanding Students, at Tel Aviv University. My interests are socio-ecology, conservation biology, anthropology, and science studies. My research, which is co-advised by Daniel Orenstein, Dror Ben-Ami and Tamar Dayan, focuses on Human-wildlife interactions and conflicts in the urban context. More about Eran



Dr. Hila Sagie, Dissertation topic: The role of stakeholder integration in the ecosystem services framework as a tool for land management. More about Hila


Dr. Semion Polinov (research associate with the research group, 2013-2015), M.A. (Faculty of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Haifa). Research topic: Ecosystem services assessment from the mountain to the sea: A multidisciplinary method for defining ecosystem service indicators across landscape units. Currently analyst at Lia Engineering L.T.D. and doctoral student and GIS instructor at the University of Haifa.


Soli Hodaia Zilka earned her B.L.A. from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in 2017, and is currently studying there towards an M.Sc. in Urban and Regional Planning. Her research concerns cultural system services and the connection between residents and the urban nature surrounding their homes. Under the guidance of Prof. Daniel Orenstein, she aims to publish her work in selected journals relevant to the field. Zilka has worked for over four years in landscape architecture, and additionally lectures on the field at the Technion.



Ofri Huta is a Landscape architect and a master student in the Urban and Regional Planning program. my thesis topic isPublic policy and its unforeseen consequences: The case of National Outline Plan 38 and its implications for the city’s open spaces.


Dr. Lihi Golan, Dissertation topic: Evaluation of the planning process for Biosphere reserves in Israel. Co-advised with Associate Professor Pnina Plaut.


Dr. Liat Hadar, Dissertation topic: Visual models as predictive, science-based tools for assessing future ecological landscapes and for supporting management decisions. Co-advised with Professor Yohay Carmel.

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Dr. Yael Teff-Seker (Ph.D.) Dr. Yael Teff-Seker Is a post-doctoral fellow at the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technion. She previously conducted research regarding marine and coastal planning as well as maritime policy and strategy at the Haifa Research Center for Maritime Policy and Strategy at the University of Haifa (2015-2016) and the Technion. She received her Ph.D. in Conflict Studies (2013) from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem and has been a researcher for the Technion’s Israel Marine Plan initiative since 2014. Her research focuses on environmental policy, marine policy and planning, and on cross-border environmental collaborations. More about Yael

yunes for web

Yunis Saada, Thesis topic: Assessing perceptions and attitudes towards natural landscapes and open spaces among Arab youth in Israel.



Dr. Jen Holzer, Dissertation topic: Evaluating activities and impacts of socio-ecological research in the Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research Network.  Co-Advised with Associate Professor Karel Martens. Today Jen is a Postdoctoral Fellow, ResNet Project, “Theme 1”: Decision support systems,  Water Resilience Lab, Brock University, St. Catharines, Canada Sustainable Futures Research Laboratory, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Contact:
More about Jen


Na'ama Teschner

Dr. Naama Teschner Lecturer, Department of Geography and Environmental Development, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
(Ph.D. School of Geography, University of Leeds). Research topic: Examining the impediments for uptake of sustainable farming practices in Israel’s vineyards. Na’ama’s academic work can be accessed hereMore about Naama.



Dr. Idan Porat (Ph.D. Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Technion). Research topic: The impact of development on cultural ecosystem service provision in Israel’s Negev Desert. This project is part of the Israel contribution to the European Union / Horizon 2020 project, EcoPotential.




Roy Zaidenberg, M.Sc. Thesis topic: Stakeholder Mapping and Ecosystem Services Perception Gaps in the Southern Dead Sea Region. Co-advised with Associate Professor Amnon Frenkel. Completed 2017.


גרוסבארד שירה2

Shira Grossbard, M.Sc. Thesis topic: Vernal Pools as Urban Nature: guidelines for conservation of urban vernal pools.  Co-Advised with Associate Professor Elissa Rosenberg and Professor Sarig Gafny. Completed 2017.



Zohar Zafon, M.Sc. Thesis topic: Can Landscape Characteristics Represent Plant Species Diversity as an Ecological Assessment Measure? A Case Study from Ramat HaNadiv. Co-advised with Associate Professor Yohay Carmel. Completed 2017.



Dr. Hagit Zimroni (Ph.D. The School of Education, Hebrew University of Jerusalem). Research topics: 1) The use of full-immersion visualization for assessing stakeholder perceptions of ecosystem services in the Carmel Forest; 2) Stakeholder visual assessments of post-snow damage restoration activities in the Biriya and Merom Forests.



Adi Noy

Adi Noy, M.Sc.  Thesis topic: The Desert Landscape Architecture of Shlomo Aronson – Theory and Practice. Co-Advised with Associate Professor Nurit Lissovsky. Completed 2017. See Adi’s conference presentation on desert landscape design from the 2015 ECLAS Conference “Landscapes in Flux”, Ivanir_2015_Arid_Landscape_Design. Cוurrently works as  Head of the Planning Department , Central Region, KKL-JNF, dedicated to preserving the Israeli forests.


thesis 3 (3)

Leyron Shachaf, M.Sc. (Technion). Thesis topic: The Contribution of Environmental Impact Statements to Incorporation of Wildlife Passages in Highway Planning in Israel. Co-advised with Associate Professor Pnina Plaut. Completed 2016.


Abra Berkowitz2

Abra Berkowitz, M.Sc. (Ben Gurion University / Arava Institute for Environmental Studies). Thesis topic: Planning paradigms and plan implementation in a new Bedouin locality; the Case of Abu Basma Regional Council. Co-advised with Dr. Sarab Abu Rabia. Completed June, 2012.


אני בגרנד קניון (2)

Ofer Arnon, M.Sc. (Ben Gurion University / Arava Institute for Environmental Studies). Thesis topic: The impact of low density human settlement on plant dispersal through a stream network in a hyper-arid environment. Co-advised with Professor Pua Bar (Kutiel), Dr. Tal Svoray and Professor Alon Tal. Completed, April, 2012.