Camel as seed disperser in the northern Sahara rangelands of Algeria

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Research Paper 01/04/2017
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Camel as seed disperser in the northern Sahara rangelands of Algeria

Hafida Trabelsi, Abdelmadjid Chehma, Rafat Al Jassim, Abdelhakim Senoussi
Int. J. Biosci.10( 4), 58-65, April 2017.
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The Saharan milieu harbors a relatively diverse floral community, surviving with a variety of adaptation strategies. This flora is valued by the camel, the only livestock species adapted to this harsh environment. The aim of this study is to investigate the role of the camel’s alimentary canal in the regeneration of the desert flora by identifying, quantifying and germinating the seeds dispersed by camel’s faeces.  In this study, we have collected camel faecal samples from two selected areas, representative of the six known rangelands browsed by camels during the four successive seasons of the years 2010-2013. The collected faecal material was cultivated in pots in a greenhouse. A total of 712 seedlings emerged from 48 faecal samples examined. Fifteen plant types were distinguished, 13 of which have been identified at the species level. The seedlings of the 13 plant species were further divided into 5 perennial and 8 annual and assigned to 9 botanical families. The temporal plant species distribution shows that summer had a significant difference and is the most represented season. The spatial distribution analysis showed a significant differences between areas and the highest numbers of plant species were recorded on rangelands of Wadi Beds, Depressions and Hamadas, with 13 species. The Reg, Erg, and Salty Soil rangelands recorded 8 species. The results indicate that the Arabian camel in the Saharan desert of Algeria plays a vital role in seed dispersal and ecological restoration of desert plants.


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