Evaluation of arid rangelands degradation and productivity in response to variable precipitation and land use changes

Paper Details

Research Paper 01/12/2015
Views (228) Download (8)

Evaluation of arid rangelands degradation and productivity in response to variable precipitation and land use changes

El Sayed Khalifa
J. Bio. Env. Sci.7( 6), 90-102, December 2015.
Certificate: JBES 2015 [Generate Certificate]


Several changes have impacted the ecosystem at northwestern coast of Egypt include transformation from extensive to intensive agro-pastoral systems, increasing the rate of urbanization,and frequent drought periods. This study was carried out at the northwestern coast of Egypt to evaluate changes in vegetation composition and rangeland productivity at Wadi Umm Ashtan in 2004 and 2015 as influenced by changes in land use and variable precipitation. Detail plant survey was conducted in each of the studied years, and the plant life of this Wadi was surveyed, plant cover and other vegetation parameters of each plant species were calculated. Rangeland productivity was evaluated of six different habitat represent the main sections of Wadi Umm Ashtan. Results indicated that tremendous changes have been noticed from spring of 2004 to spring of 2015, average vegetation cover at the different parts of the Wadi declined from about 24 % in 2004 to 15 % in 2015. The Wadi has faced increasing in urban encroachment rate whereas several tourism development and land urbanization projects have been established. As an example of the coastal part of the Wadi, vegetation survey in spring, 2015 of mobile sand dunes habitat indicated that total vegetation cover decreased to 7.3 % compared to about 11% in spring, 2004. Drainage lines habitat was rich in species diversity and several palatable plant species were recorded in this part of the Wadi. Overall, Drought, overgrazing, and different land use changes have negatively impacted vegetation cover at the study area and increased soilerosion.


Ahmed AM, El-Khouly AA, Khalifa AA. 2003. Plant diversity of wadis in the north-western Mediterranean coast and El-Tih Desert of Sinai, Egypt: A comparative study. J. Envir. Sci. 25, 125 – 158.

Ayoub AT. 1998. Extent severity and causative factors of land degradation in the Sudan.Journal of Arid Environments 38, 397- 409.

Boulos L. 1995.  Check  list  Flora  of  Egypt.  Vol. one.Al-Hadara Publishing, Cairo, Egypt.

Cayrol P, Chehbouni A, Kergoat L, Dedieu G, Mordelet P, Nouvellon Y. 2000. Grassland modeling and monitoring with SPOT-4 VEGETATION instrument during the 1997– 1999 SALSA experiment. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 105, 91–115.

Connolly RD, Ciesiolka CAA, Silburn DM, Carroll C. 1997. Distributed parameter hydrology model (Answers) applied to a range of catchment scales using rainfall simulator data. IV Evaluating pasture catchment hydrology. Journal of Hydrology 201, 311-328.

El-Khouly AA. 2004. Effect of Human Activities on Vegetation Diversity in Siwa Oasis. International Conf. on Water Resources & Arid Environment, 1-19.

El-Khouly AA,Fakhry AM. 1999. Plant species diversity in Wadi El-Arousia, Sinai, Egypt. Desert Inst. Bull. 49, 39 – 64.

El-Khouly AA, Khedr AA. 2000. Species diversity and phenology of the wetland vegetation in Siwa Oasis, western desert, Egypt. Desert Inst. Bull. 50, 325 – 343.

El-Monayeri MO, Hammadi KL, Al- Jasim SA. 1979. Ecophysiological studies of some plants of Safwan desert area, Iraq. 1- Natural vegetation and mineral accumulation. Desert Inst. Bull. 29, 527-542.

El-Morsy MH, Abdel-Gawad KI, El-Deek MH, Kulaib JFM. 2007. Influence of ploughing on natural vegetation in the Northwestern Coast of Egypt. J. Agric. Sci. Mansoura Univ. 32, 5257-5272.

Hanson HC, Churchill CD. 1965. Plant community affiliated East-West Press Privat. LTD.

Jefferies RL, Rockwell RF. 2012. Foraging Geese, Vegetation Loss and Soil Degradation in an Arctic Salt Marsh. Applied Vegetation Science 5, 7-16.

Loeser MRR, Sisk TD, Crews TE. 2007. Impact of Grazing Intensity during Drought in an Arizona Grassland. Conservation Biology 21, 87 -97.

Ludwig JA, Reynolds, JF. 1988. Statistical Ecology: a primer on methods and computing. New York, USA.

Mueller Dombois D, Ellenberg H. 1974. Aims and methods of vegetation ecology.Pub.John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York, U.S.A.

NAP. 2015. Aligned Egyptian National Action Plan to Combat Desertification, Land Degradation, and Drought. Desert Research Center, Ministry of Agric, and Land Reclamation, Cairo, Egypt.

Oztas T, Kocb A, Comakli B. 2003. Changes in vegetation and soil properties along a slope on overgrazed and eroded rangelands.Journal of Arid Environments 55, 93–100.

Reiad MS, Ashoub MA, Abo-Deya IB, El-Hakeem MS, Ahmed KM. 1996. Effect of edaphic and climatic factors on soil and vegetation characters of different associations representative to the North Western Coast of Egypt. Egypt.J. Appl. Sci. 11, 216-231.

Sherbinin AD. 2014. Climate change hotspots mapping: what have we learned? Climatic Change 123, 23–37.

Tackholm V. 1974. Students Flora of Egypt 2th  Ed. Published by Cairo Univ. 888 p.

Zahran MA, Girgis WA. 1971. On the ecology of Wadi El- Natrun. Desert Inst. Bull. 20, 229-267.