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Research Paper | December 1, 2015

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

El Sayed Khalifa

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.7(6), 90-102, December 2015

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Abstract

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.

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

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