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Vegetation change in variable rangeland environments: the relative contribution of drought and soil type in arid rangelands

Gamoun, Mouldi
Ekológia (Bratislava) 2013 v.32 no.1 pp. 148-157
drought, ecosystems, grazing intensity, limestone, loam soils, models, plant communities, rain, rangelands, vegetation cover, Tunisia
The response of a plant community to protection from grazing, as a function of year and soil type, was studied in the arid rangelands of southern Tunisia between 2007 and 2009. The vegetation of rangelands is often altered under grazing pressure, but unfortunately, removing the grazing pressure often does not reverse the changes in the way the succession model predicts. Rainfall variability is a key driver of ecosystem structure and function in arid rangelands, and this arid area of North Africa is characterized by low and erratic rainfall and is prone to drought conditions which normally occur every two to three years.Steppes are likely to exhibit strong and rapid structural and functional responses to these altered rainfall patterns. Although drought affects vegetation cover more in loamy soil than in all other soils, it affects diversity on all soils; particularly limestone and loam soils