Vegetation Cover Dynamics in Semi-Steppe Rangelands of Ardabil Province, Iran

Document Type : Research and Full Length Article


1 Forests and Rangeland Research Division, Agriculture and Natural Resources Research Center of Ardabil Province

2 Research Institute of Forests and Rangelands, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Tehran, Iran

3 Rangeland Research Division, Research Institute of Forests and Rangelands, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Tehran, Iran

4 Research Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Research Center of Ardabil Province - Iran

5 Research Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Research Center of Ardabil Province - Iran.


Rangeland vegetation dynamics can be affected by various natural and unnatural factors over time. The purpose of this study was to investigate the dynamics of vegetation under the climatic conditions and soil properties. Accordingly, data collection for evaluating vegetation dynamics in rangeland ecosystems of Ardabil province was conducted at three research sites including Moqan winter rangeland, and Nour and Aqdagh Khalkhal summer rangelands in 2009 followed for four years. Vegetation variables were measured using transects and sampling plots. Meanwhile, at the location of each plot, soil moisture was measured at two or three depths of 0-15, 15-30 and 30-45 cm using a Time-Domain Reflectometer (TDR). According to the results, in the Nour site, the changes recorded for shrubs such as Onobrychis cornuta L. and forbs were significant (P<0.01). However, the changes recorded for the perennial grasses including Alopecurus aucheri L., Bromus tomentellus Boiss. Festuca ovina and Koeleria caucasica Trin. Ex Domin were not significant. In the Aqdagh site, the changes of perennial grasses including Agropyron cristatum, Bromus tomentellus, Festuca ovina L. and Koeleria caucasica as well as forbs were significant (P<0.05). The changes of annuals were found significant (P<0.01). No significant differences were recorded for the shrubs such as Onobrychis cornuta and Thymus kotschyanus. In the Moqan site, the changes of dominant shrub (Artemisia fragrans) and annuals were significant (P<0.01). Soil moistures during the growing season and over the years were varied; however, the trend of changes in soil organic carbon was slow. Accordingly, the results of this monitoring process from year to year changes in the main species of vegetation, soil, and soil erosion can be useful as a guide to correct the current methods used for the management of rangelands.


Main Subjects

Asadian, Gh., Javadi, S.A., Mohamad Jafary, M., Hossein Arzani, H. and Akbarzadeh, M., 2017. Relationships between environmental factors and plant communities in enclosure rangelands (Case study: Gonbad, Hamadan), Iran. Jour. Rangeland Science, 7(1): 20-34. (In Persian).
Amiri, F. and Basiri, M., 2008. Comparison of some of the particulars of soil and vegetation of pasture lands in protection and grazing areas. Jour. Rangeland, 2 (3): 237-253. (In Persian).
Abtahi, S.M., Shahmoradi, A.A. and Zandi Esfahan, E., 2014. Investigation of vegetation dynamics and range conditions in central Desert of Iran (Case Study: Haftooman, Khoor and Biabanak), Jour. Rangeland Science, 4(4): 330-339. (In Persian).
Britta, T., Jeltsch, F., Zehe, E., Classen, N., Groengroeft, A., Schiffers, K. and Oldehland, J., 2010. Effects of climate change on the coupled dynamics of water and vegetation in drylands. Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation, University of Potsdam, 3: 226-237.
Fadzayi, E., Mashiri, M., McClaran, P. and Jeffrey, S. F., 2008. Short and long-term vegetation change related to grazing systems, precipitation and mesquite cover. Rangeland Ecol. Manage, 61: 368-379.
Haynes, M, A., Fang, Z. and Waller, D. M., 2013. Grazing impacts on the diversity and composition of alpine rangelands in northwest Yunnan, Jour. Plant Ecology, 6: 2, 122 -130.
Jafarian, Z., Kargar, M. and Ghorbani, J., 2013. Comparison of soil physical and chemical properties in grassland and shrub land communities, Iran. Communication in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 44: 331-338. (In Persian).
Jianshuang, W., Xianzhou, Z., Zhenxi, S., Peili, S., Xingliang, X, and Xiaojia, L., 2013. Grazing-exclusion effects on aboveground biomass and water-use efficiency of alpine grasslands on the Northern Tibetan Plateau. Jour. Rangeland Ecology & Management. 66(4): 454-461.
Kashki, M. T., Sahmoradi, A., Mohamadi, M. and Namdost, T., 2012. The final report of the research project, vegetation dynamics in Khorasan rangeland ecosystems. Research Institute of Forests and Rangelands. Thran-Iran, 79 p. (In Persian).
Kohestani, N. and Yeganeh, H., 2016. Study the effects of range management plans on vegetation of summer rangelands of Mazandaran Province, Iran, Jour. Rangeland Science. 6(3): 195-204. (In Persian).
Le Houerou, H. N. and Boulos, L., 1991. Bioclimatic and phytographic characteristics of the arid rangelands of northern Africa and the nearest. In: Proceedings of Fourth International Rangelands Congress. Montpellier, France.Vol:1 538-543.
Moradi, E., Heshmati, G. A. and Bahramian, A. H., 2012. Assessment of range health changes in Zagros Semi-Arid rangelands, Iran (Case Study: Chalghafa-Semirom-Isfahan). Jour. Rangeland Science, 3(1): 31-43. (In Persian).
Navarro, J. M., Galt, D., Holechek, J., McCormick, J., & Molinar, F., 2002. Long-term impacts of livestock grazing on Chihuahuan Desert rangelands. Jour. Range Manage. 55(4): 400-405.
Nekooei, H., Gaikani, S. and Mohamadi, M., 2012. Determining the impact of projects on the production, condition and trend of Komijan rangelands, The third national conference on combating desertification and sustainable development of wetlands in deserts in Iran, 16 and 17 September, Arak. Iran. (In Persian).
O’Connor, T.G. and Roux, P. W., 1995. Vegetation changes (1949-1971) in semi-arid grassy dwarf shrub lands in the kayoo, South Africa: Influence of rainfall variability and grazing by sheep. Jour. Applied Ecology, 32: 612-626.
O’Connor, T.G., 1995. Transformation of a savanna grassland by drought and grazing. Afric. Jour. Range and Forage Science. 12(2): 53-60.
Quevedo, D. I. and Frances, F. 2008. A conceptual dynamic vegetation-soil model for arid and semiarid zones. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 12: 1175–1187.
Sharifi, J. and Akbarzadeh, M. 2008. Surveying effect of exclosure on condition and trend of native rangelands Ardabil province, Research Institute of Forests and Rangelands publications, 120 p. (In Persian).
Sharifi, J. and Akbarzadeh, M., 2013. Investigation of vegetation changes under precipitation in semi-steppic rangelands of Ardebil province (Case study: Arshagh Rangeland Research Site), Jour. Range and Watershed Management, 65(4): 507-516. (In Persian).
Tietjen, B, Jeltsch, F, Zehe, E, Classen, N, Groengroeft, A, Schiffers, K, Oldeland, J., 2010. Effects of climate change on the coupled dynamics of water and vegetation in drylands. Ecohydrology, 3: 226-237. Published online ( DOI: 10.1002/eco.70
Yavari, A., Tavakoli, H., Grivani, G., 2003. The final report of the project "of rangeland vegetation dynamics in semi-arid North khorasan. Office research agriculture and nature resources in Khorasan, Iran. 48p. (In Persian).
Yorks, T.P., West, N.E. and Capels, K.M., 1992. Vegetation differences in desert scrublands of western Utah, Pine Valley between 1993 and 1989. Jour. Range Manage, 45(6): 569-577.
Volume 8, Issue 1 - Serial Number 4
January 2018
Pages 41-51
  • Receive Date: 02 January 2017
  • Revise Date: 23 April 2017
  • Accept Date: 09 May 2017
  • First Publish Date: 01 January 2018