Geodiversity impacts plant community structure in a semi-arid region

Natalie De Falco, Reut Tal-Berger, Amgad Hjazin, Hezi Yizhaq, Ilan Stavi, Shimon Rachmilevitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Geodiversity refers to the variety of geological and physical elements as well as to geomorphological processes of the earth surface. Heterogeneity of the physical environment has an impact on plant diversity. In recent years, the relations between geodiversity and biodiversity has gained attention in conservation biology, especially in the context of climate change. In this study, we assessed the spatial and temporal change in plant’s community structure in a semi-arid region, Sayeret Shaked Long Term Ecosystem Research (LTER) station, Israel. Vegetation surveys were conducted on different hillslopes, either with or without rock covers in order to study the spatial trends of hillslope geodiversity. The surveys were conducted for two consecutive years (2016 and 2017), of which the second year was drier and hotter and therefore permitted to investigate the temporal change of plant’s community structure. The results of the spatial trends show that (1) geodiversity increases vegetation biodiversity and promotes perennial plants and those of the temporal change show that (2) the positive effect of geodiversity on plants’ community structure and species richness is greater in the drier year than that in a wetter year. The main insight is that in these drylands, hillslopes with higher geodiversity appear to buffer the effect of drier years, and supported a more diverse plant community than lower geodiversity hillslopes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15259
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021

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