Landscape Agroecology in Palestine

Makaneyyat ('mak') aims to strengthen agro-ecological landscapes in Palestine. We work to expand agro-biodiversity of landscapes to support communities of plants and people.


Refereed articles in peer-reviewed journals

Streit Krug, A. and Tesdell, O.I., A social perennial vision: Transdisciplinary inquiry for the future of diverse, perennial grain agriculture. Plants, People, Planet. 2020. https://doi.org/10.1002/ppp3.10175

Van Tassel, D.L., Tesdell, O., Schlautman, B., Rubin, M.J., DeHaan, L.R., Crews, T.E. and Streit Krug, A., 2020. New food crop domestication in the age of gene editing: genetic, agronomic and cultural change remain co-evolutionarily entangled. Frontiers in Plant Science, 11, p.789.https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2020.00789

Tesdell, O., Othman, Y., Dowani, Y., Khraishi, S., Deeik, M., Muaddi, F., Schlautman, B., Krug, A.S. and Van Tassel, D., 2020. Envisioning perennial agroecosystems in Palestine. Journal of Arid Environments, 175, p.104085. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2019.104085

Tesdell, O., Othman, Y. and Alkhoury, S., 2019. Rainfed agroecosystem resilience in the Palestinian West Bank, 1918–2017. Agroecology and sustainable food systems, 43(1), pp.21-39. https://doi.org/10.1080/21683565.2018.1537324

Other publications

June 2018. Tesdell, Omar Imseeh (Editor), Amna Othman, Yusra Othman, Yara Dowani, Renad Shqeirat, Yara Bamieh, Elizabeth Tesdell, Saher Khouri. Palestinian Wild Food Plants. Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center, Ramallah. Arabic-English. 

ISBN 978-9950-385-72-6

Available for download from archive.org on Non-Commercial Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

Spring 2018.Tesdell, O.I., 2018. Planting roots, claiming space: how the tangled histories of dryland farming in the US West shaped political aspirations in early Palestine and post-revolutionary Mexico. NACLA Report on the Americas, 50(1), pp.68-73. https://doi.org/10.1080/10714839.2018.1448599

Spring 2017. Tesdell, Omar and Issa, Iyad. Balou as residual space: on the relation of landform and sociality in Palestine. Jerusalem Quarterly, Issue 69, pp. 107-199. Link to article

Academic Presentations
Humboldt State University, CA, September 2020
Birzeit University, Birzeit, August 2019
University of Wisconsin, Madison, July 2019
Lund University, Lund, Sweden, May 2019
University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, February 2019
Brown University, Providence, RI, March 2018
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, MN, August 2017
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, March 2017
A.M. Qattan Foundation, Ramallah, Palestine, May 2016

Research notes

January and February 2021: The blossoming of Nature

The scientific name of each plant: (1) Lupinus pilosus L. (2) Anacamptis papilionacea (L.) (3) Red-Anemone coronaria L (4) Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A.Web (5) Ophrys omegaifera subsp. israelitica (6) Purple-Anemone coronaria L.

Reforestation of Mediterranean Areas with Quercus coccifera L.

Link to video

Fall 2020: Propagating local wild plants from Makaneyyat's seed collection.

Summer 2020: Digitization of Makaneyyat's Herbarium collection.

Spring 2020: As the plants are blooming, we are collecting seeds of wild food plants. Also identifying, cataloguing and collecting specimens.

February 2020: Journal article published by Makaneyyat researchers and colleagues from The Land Institute in the Journal of Arid Environments

Full article

January - February 2020: Makaneyyat team propagated seeds and transplanted seedlings from Makaneyyat's collection.

November - December 2019: The team collected diverse seeds from various wild tree populations in Palestine including;

Crataegus azarolus var. aronia L., Ceratonia siliqua L., Ziziphus jujuba Mill., Pistacia lentiscus L., Pistacia terebinthus L., Quercus coccifera L., Arbutus andrachne L., Quercus infectoria Oliv.

August 2019: Coauthored journal article introducing the work of Makaneyyat is submitted to refereed scientific journal in the U.S.

March-April 2019: The Makaneyyat team conducted fieldwork to identify, catalogue, collect specimens, and collects seeds of wild food plants.

November 2018: The team conducted plant survey in Ein Qiniya-Ramallah.

2018: Makaneyyat's first book was published under the name of "Palestinian Wild Food Plants".

Fall 2018: Video shots capturing the beauty of Palestine during our field work.

About us


Makaneyyat ('mak') works to strengthen and build perennial agro-ecological landscapes in Palestine. We work to expand agro-biodiversity of landscapes to support communities of plants and people.

Makaneyyat translates roughly to spaces. It is the plural form of makaneyyah or spatiality and comes from the Arabic makan or place. This name reflects our interest in the importance of spatial relationships between landscape, micro-climates, plant life, and communities of producers and consumers.

Taking the landscape as our unit of analysis, our independent research project uses tools such as wild food plant conservation and collection, agroecological analysis, geospatial visualization and GIS, interviews, plant inventories, and study of candidate species for new crop development.

Founded in 2013, the research group has developed the following:

  • a cutting-edge online agro-ecological research engine
  • genebank: ex-situ seedbank and in-situ agro-biodiversity conservation areas
  • agro-ecological studies
  • landscape studies
  • peer-reviewed journal articles
  • Arabic/English guide: Palestinian Wild Food Plants (2018)
  • herbarium

We are currently working on:

  • protecting local agro-biodiversity by collecting and propagating plant material
  • publishing our research peer-reviewed journal articles
  • Palestinian Wild Food Plants, Vol. II
  • Collecting and selecting endemic species for crop development

Research initiatives

Agroecological Research Engine

We have developed a free and open source research platform for the generation, management, analysis, and visualization of agro-ecological data. This research platform provides a historically rich baseline for future specialized research on and in support of Palestinian agro-ecologies. The project has resulted in the creation of our local research program inspired by the growing movement of open information structures. Deploying cutting-edge tools in field-based, geospatial, and qualitative research methods, we are developing a model for collaborative and open research in the region.


Wild Food Plant Conservation and New Crop Development

We are working to conserve agro-biodiversity, wild food plants, and develop new crops in Palestine. Since 2017, we have built a genebank for the ex-situ and in-situ conservation and propagation of wild food plants. We are collecting and regenerating edible wild plants across several sites in Palestine in collaboration with local partner organizations and the assistance of global partners. We hope that these plants will provide the basis for agroecological transformation and development of new grain and cover crop polycultures in Palestine.

Research team

Omar Imseeh Tesdell, Ph.D., Principal Investigator (ORCiD)
Yusra Othman, Researcher
Mary Deeik, Researcher
Fouad Muaddi, Research consultant
Hanan Zahran, Research consultant

Majd Al-Shihabi, Research fellow, 2020-2021 (personal website)

Research team alumni
Saher Alkhoury
Yara Dowani
Sameer Khraishi

Software development
Our development partners from 2015-2019, al-fardthakh in Amman, Jordan, enabled us to customize an existing open API and build the Makaneyyat agro-ecological engine.

Funding partner

Makaneyyat is generously supported by the Palestinian-American Research Center (PARC).