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Science of the Total Environment

Argaman, E. - Soil Erosion Research Station, Department of Soil Conservation and Drainage, Ministry of Agriculture, Israel. 
 Barth, R. - University of Applied Forest Sciences, Rottenburg am Neckar, Germany.
Moshe, Y. - Soil Conservation & Forest Unit, KKL southern region, Israel.

Climate models for semiarid and arid regions predict increasing average temperatures and reduced amounts of total annual rainfall. This warming and drying trend could have critical, adverse effects on natural vegetation activity and survival in arid and semiarid zones. We investigated the long-term effects of climate change and surface-runoff variations on the production of natural vegetation in a dry, undisturbed, first-order watershed in the northern Negev, Israel. Vegetation dynamics were estimated by normalized difference vegetation index. Yearly annual vegetation cover varied greatly during the monitoring period (2000−2013), but a significant positive regression was found with annual rainfall and runoff amounts, suggesting a strong relationship between annual vegetation dynamics and rainfall amount in a given year. A significant positive linear regression was found between annual ET0 values and year of measurement (1994–2013), with no corresponding decrease in vegetation condition. Surface runoff in the watershed affected the vegetation's water source. Large variation in annual runoff amounts was observed for 1994–2011, averaging 22.3 and 9 mm for the first (2000–2006) and second (2007–2013) vegetation-monitoring subperiods, respectively. Perennial vegetation was less sensitive to drought years than annual vegetation, likely due to differences in water-source availability. Perennials also benefited from the arrival of nutrients, organic matter, and fertile soil flowing with the surface runoff and eroded soil into their growing area.

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Long-term effects of climatic and hydrological variation on natural vegetation production and characteristics in a semiarid watershed: The northern Negev, Israel
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Argaman, E. - Soil Erosion Research Station, Department of Soil Conservation and Drainage, Ministry of Agriculture, Israel. 
 Barth, R. - University of Applied Forest Sciences, Rottenburg am Neckar, Germany.
Moshe, Y. - Soil Conservation & Forest Unit, KKL southern region, Israel.

Long-term effects of climatic and hydrological variation on natural vegetation production and characteristics in a semiarid watershed: The northern Negev, Israel

Climate models for semiarid and arid regions predict increasing average temperatures and reduced amounts of total annual rainfall. This warming and drying trend could have critical, adverse effects on natural vegetation activity and survival in arid and semiarid zones. We investigated the long-term effects of climate change and surface-runoff variations on the production of natural vegetation in a dry, undisturbed, first-order watershed in the northern Negev, Israel. Vegetation dynamics were estimated by normalized difference vegetation index. Yearly annual vegetation cover varied greatly during the monitoring period (2000−2013), but a significant positive regression was found with annual rainfall and runoff amounts, suggesting a strong relationship between annual vegetation dynamics and rainfall amount in a given year. A significant positive linear regression was found between annual ET0 values and year of measurement (1994–2013), with no corresponding decrease in vegetation condition. Surface runoff in the watershed affected the vegetation's water source. Large variation in annual runoff amounts was observed for 1994–2011, averaging 22.3 and 9 mm for the first (2000–2006) and second (2007–2013) vegetation-monitoring subperiods, respectively. Perennial vegetation was less sensitive to drought years than annual vegetation, likely due to differences in water-source availability. Perennials also benefited from the arrival of nutrients, organic matter, and fertile soil flowing with the surface runoff and eroded soil into their growing area.

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