Resource redistribution effects on annual plant communities in a runoff harvesting system in dryland

Tarin Paz-Kagan*, Niv DeMalach, Eli Zaady, Moshe Shachak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

We aimed to study the effect of resource redistribution on annual plant species diversity in Runoff-Harvesting Systems, termed limans, along the runoff pathway in a watershed. We tested the effect of resource redistribution (water and nutrients) relative role of biomass, grass and forb abundance as mediators of species diversity. Our research was conducted in five small watersheds located in the central Negev Highlands, Israel. We quantified nutrient addition including soil nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, total water content, and soil organic matter, in the liman, compared with two microsites (upstream, and downstream) along watersheds. We quantified biomass, grass and forb abundance and species richness in two successive years. We used structural equation modeling to study the effect of grass and forb abundance and biomass on the species richness of herbaceous plant communities. All tested soil properties significantly improved in the liman compared with the two microsites. Annual biomass increased significantly in the liman in compared with the downstream microsite. Our results also indicate a reduction in forb abundance in the liman and the downstream, and increment in the grass abundance in the liman microsite, leading to a decline in plant species richness. We conclude that diversity responses to biomass production are both resource-specific and functional group-specific.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number103984
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Volume171
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors

Keywords

  • Biomass
  • Conductivity
  • Dryland watershed management
  • Forb
  • Grasses
  • Nutrient enrichment
  • Species richness
  • Water enrichment

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