Journal of Arid Land

Article Title

Interaction between climate and management on beta diversity components of vegetation in relation to soil properties in arid and semi-arid oak forests, Iran


This study aimed to investigate the interaction between regions with different climatic conditions (arid vs. semi-arid) and management (protected vs. unprotected) on the turnover and nestedness of vegetation in relation to physical, chemical and biological properties of soils in the Ilam Province of Iran. In each of the two regions, we sampled 8 sites (4 managed and 4 unmanaged sites) within each of which we established 4 circular plots (1000 m2) that were used to investigate woody species, while two micro-plots (1 m×1 m) were established in each 1000-m2 plot to analyze herbaceous species. In each sample unit, we also extracted three soil samples (0–20 cm depth) for measuring soil properties. The results indicated that the interaction between region and conservational management significantly affected the percent of canopy cover of Persian oak (Quercus brantii Linddl), soil respiration, substrate-induced respiration, as well as beta and gamma diversities and turnover of plant species. The percent of oak canopy cover was positively correlated with soil silt, electrical conductivity, available potassium, and alpha diversity, whereas it was negatively correlated with plant turnover. In addition, plant turnover was positively related to available phosphorus, while nestedness of species was positively related to organic carbon and total nitrogen. According to these results, we concluded that physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of limited ecological niche generally influenced plant diversity. Also, this study demonstrated the major contribution of the beta diversity on gamma diversity, especially in semi-arid region, because of the higher heterogeneity of vegetation in this area.

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