Ibex diggings in the Negev Desert highlands of israel as microhabitats for annual plants. Soil salinity, location and digging depth affecting variety and density of plant species

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28 Scopus citations

Abstract

About 400 Nubian ibex (Gapra ibex nubiana) dig many hundreds of temporary night beds, approximately 80 cm x 110 cm and 15 cm deep, on slopes near the edges of the cliffs bordering the Zin valley. The beds are used according to the wind direction and the size of the ibex group, which depends on the ibex social behaviour during the year. The diggings are gradually abandoned and become important microhabitats for seed accumulation and germination, seedling development and annual plant establishment. These are influenced by soil salinity, slope direction and angle, digging depth, and the time since the diggings were abandoned. A greater variety of plant species and plant density were found in these diggings than upslope from the diggings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-681
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1997

Keywords

  • Abandoned ibex diggings
  • Annual plant density
  • Annual plant settlement
  • Desert microhabitats
  • Runoff water flow accumulation
  • Soil salinity
  • Temporary ibex night beds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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