Effect of Environmental Traits and Grazing Intensities on Plant Community Distribution (Case Study: Saral Rangelands, Iran)

Document Type: Research and Full Length Article

Authors

1 Department of Rangeland and watershed Management, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Iran.

2 Department of Rangeland and Watershed Management, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Kurdistan

Abstract

Understanding ecological processes is a prerequisite for the management of rangelands; therefore, recognition of the relationship between environmental factors and vegetation is very important. The present research aims to investigate environmental and management factors affecting rangeland vegetation distribution in Saral rangelands of Kurdistan province, Iran, in 2017. Sampling was done in eight vegetation types along four 300 m transects. Fifteen 1m2 plots established along each transect in 20 m distances. Ten soil samples along transects were taken according to the plants root depth in the average depth 0-50 cm in 10 profiles within each vegetation type. Various environmental factors such as topographic factors (slope, aspect, and elevation), soil physical properties (depths, soil texture, gravel, and saturation moisture) and various chemical factors such as acidity, electrical conductivity, lime, gypsum, nitrogen, phosphor, and potassium were measured and grazing intensity considered and measured as managerial factor. The collected data were subjected to Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and the important factors affecting plant community distribution were determined. According to the results, first and second components account for 39.29% and 26.28% of community distribution, respectively. The results showed that among various environmental and grazing factors affecting plant distribution, soil texture, soil depth, grazing intensity, elevation, potassium and gravel had the most significant effects on present plant community distribution in studied rangeland. Silt, gravel and grazing intensity play important roles in the spatial distribution of vegetation communities, respectively.

Keywords

Main Subjects


Asadian, G., Javadi, S. A., Jaffrey, M., Arzani, H. and Akbarzade, M., 2017. Relationships between Environmental Factors and Plant Communities in Enclosure Rangelands (Case study: Gonbad, Hamadan). Journal of Rangeland Science, 7(1): 20-34.

Bouyoucos, GJ., 1962. Hydrometer method improved for making particle size analysis of soils. Agronomy Journal, 56: 464-465.

Bremner, J.M. and Mulvaney, C.S., 1982. Nitrogen- Total. P: 595-624. In A.L. Page et al. (ed.) Methods of soil abalysis. Part 2. 2nd ed. Agron. Monogr. 9. ASA and SSSA, Madison, WI.

Ehsani, SM., Heshmati, Gh. and Tamartash, R., 2015. Effect of some environmental factors on plant distribution using LFA method (Case study: Valuyeh summer rangeland of Mazandaran province). Journal of Biodiversity and Environmental Science, 6 (1): 62-68.

Fisher, M.A. and Fuel, PZ., 2004. Change in forest vegetation and arbuscular mycrorrhizae along a steep elevation gradient in Arizona. Forest Ecology and Management, 200: 293-311.

Hea, MZ., Zheng, JG., Li, XR. and Qian, YL., 2007. Environmental factors affecting vegetation composition in alxa plateau. China Journal of Arid Environment, 69(3): 473-489.

Jafari Haghighi, M., 2003. Method of Soil Analysis sampling and Important Physical & Chemical Analysis with emphasis on theoretical and applied principles. Publication Nedaye zohi, 236 pages (In Persian).

Jensen, M., 1990. Interpretation of environmental gradients which influence Sagebush community distribution Nevada. Journal of Range Management, 43: 161-166.

Jin-Tun, Z., 2002. A studies on relation of vegetation, climate and soil in shanxi province. Plant Ecology, 162: 23-31.

Kashian. DM., Barnes. BV. and Walker WS., 2003. Ecological species groups of landform-level ecosystems dominated by jack pine in northern Lower Michigan, USA. Plant Ecology, 166(1): 75-91.

Kooch, Y., Jalilvand, H., Bahmanyar, MA. and Pormajidian, MR., 2008. Application of two way indicator species analysis in lowland plant types classification. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 11: 752–757.

Manolaki, P. and Papastergiadou, E., 2013. The impact of environmental factors on the distribution pattern of aquatic macrophytes in a middle-sized Mediterranean stream. Aquatic Botany, 104: 34-46.

Medinski, TV., Mills, AJ., Esler, KJ., Schmiedel, U. and Jürgens, N., 2010. Do soil properties constrain species richness? Insights from boundary line analysis across several biomes in south western Africa. Journal of Arid Environment, 74: 1052- 1060.

Michell, CE., Tilman, D. and Groth, JV., 2002. Effects of plant species diversity, abundance and composition on foliar fungal diseases. Ecology, 83: 1713-1726.

Meligo, C., 2006. Effect of Grazing pressure on plant species Composition and diversity in the semi-arid rangelands of Mbulu district, Tanzania. Agricultural Journal, 1: 277-283.

Moreno, D., 2006. Efficient factors on expansion and foundation of plants. CSIC Press, pp, 202-217.

Munhoz, CBR., Felfili, JM. and Rodrigues, C., 2008. Species-environment relationship in the herb-subshrub layer of a moist savanna site, Federal District, Brazil. Brazilian Journal of Biology, 68(1): 25-35.

Kipngetich Rotich, H., Symbua Mbau, J., Onwonga, R. and Kipchirchir Koech, O., 2018. Vegetation Dynamics in Relation to Grazing Management Practices in Semi-arid Grazing Lands of Makueni County, Kenya. Journal of Rangeland Science, 8(3): 227-239.

Pansu, M. and Gautheyrou, J., 2006. Handbook of Soil Analysis, Mineralogical, Organic and Inorganic Methods. Springer. 993 p.

Todd, SW. and Hoffman, M., 2009. A fence line in time demonstrates grazing induced vegetation shifts and dynamics in the semiarid Succulent Karoo. Ecological applications, 19; 1897-1908.

Walkley, A. and Black, I., 1934. An examination of the Degetiareff method for determining soil organic matter and a proposed modification of the chromic acid titration method. Soil Science, 37: 29-38.

Wang, Z R., Yang, G J., Yi, SH., Chen, SY., Wu, Z., Guan, JY., Zhao, CC., Zhao, QD. and Ye, BS., 2012. Effects of environmental factors on the distribution of plant communities in a semi-arid region of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Ecological Research, 27(4): 667-675.

Yibing, Q., 2008. Impact of habitat heterogeneity on plant community pattern in Gurbantunggut Desert. Journal of geographical Sciences, 14(4): 447-455.

Zare, S., Jafari, M., Tavili, A., Abbasi, HR. and Rostampour, M., 2011. Relationship between environmental factors and plant distribution in arid and semiarid area (Case study: Shahriyar rangelands, Iran). American-Eurasian Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, 10 (1): 97-105.

Zhang, JT., 2009. Effects of grazing intensity, soil variables, and topography on vegetation diversity in the subalpine meadows of the Zhongtiao Mountains, China. The Rangeland Journal, 31(3), 353-360.

Zhang, JT. and Dong, Y., 2010. Factors affecting species diversity of plant communities and the restoration process in the loess area of China. Ecological Engineering, 36: 345–350.

Zhao, WY., 2007. Changes in vegetation diversity and structure in response to heavy grazing pressure in the northern Tianshan Mountains. Journal of Arid Environment, 6: 465-479.