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Dead shrub patches as ecosystem engineers in degraded drylands
Year:
2021
Source of publication :
Journal of Geographical Sciences
Authors :
Zaady, Eli
;
.
Volume :
31
Co-Authors:
  • Ilan Stavi, 
  • Eli Zaady, 
  • Alexander Gusarov & 
  • Hezi Yizhaq 
Facilitators :
From page:
1187
To page:
1204
(
Total pages:
18
)
Abstract:

A long-term drought has led to the mass mortality of shrubs in the semi-arid Israeli Negev. The most impacted shrub species is the Noaea mucronata (Forssk.) Asch. and Schweinf. In a four-year study, we found that herbaceous vegetation growth was greater in the dead shrub patches than in the surrounding inter-patch biocrusted spaces, suggesting that the dead shrub patches encompass improved micro-habitats. However, unexpectedly, the soil moisture in the dead shrub patches was consistently lower than that of the inter-patch biocrusted spaces. At the same time, soil quality in the dead shrub patches was higher than that in the inter-patch spaces. Therefore, it seems that the overall better soil conditions in the dead patches overcome the scarcity of soil-water, supporting increased herbaceous productivity. For explaining the discrepancy between herbaceous vegetation and soil-water, we formulated a conceptual framework, which highlights the key factors that regulate soil-water dynamics in this dryland ecosystem. We demonstrate that herbaceous vegetation is facilitated in the dead shrub patches by a legacy effect that takes place long after the shrubs have died. The dead shrub patches encompass a unique form of ecosystem engineering. The study highlights the complex and unpredicted impacts of prolonged droughts on dryland ecosystems.

Note:
Related Files :
allogenic ecosystem engineers
climate change
legacy mechanism
patchy vegetation
small-scale geo-diversity
vegetation transition
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Related Content
More details
DOI :
10.1007/s11442-021-1892-2
Article number:
0
Affiliations:
Database:
Scopus
Publication Type:
article
;
.
Language:
English
Editors' remarks:
ID:
56021
Last updated date:
02/03/2022 17:27
Creation date:
22/08/2021 22:28
Scientific Publication
Dead shrub patches as ecosystem engineers in degraded drylands
31
  • Ilan Stavi, 
  • Eli Zaady, 
  • Alexander Gusarov & 
  • Hezi Yizhaq 
Dead shrub patches as ecosystem engineers in degraded drylands

A long-term drought has led to the mass mortality of shrubs in the semi-arid Israeli Negev. The most impacted shrub species is the Noaea mucronata (Forssk.) Asch. and Schweinf. In a four-year study, we found that herbaceous vegetation growth was greater in the dead shrub patches than in the surrounding inter-patch biocrusted spaces, suggesting that the dead shrub patches encompass improved micro-habitats. However, unexpectedly, the soil moisture in the dead shrub patches was consistently lower than that of the inter-patch biocrusted spaces. At the same time, soil quality in the dead shrub patches was higher than that in the inter-patch spaces. Therefore, it seems that the overall better soil conditions in the dead patches overcome the scarcity of soil-water, supporting increased herbaceous productivity. For explaining the discrepancy between herbaceous vegetation and soil-water, we formulated a conceptual framework, which highlights the key factors that regulate soil-water dynamics in this dryland ecosystem. We demonstrate that herbaceous vegetation is facilitated in the dead shrub patches by a legacy effect that takes place long after the shrubs have died. The dead shrub patches encompass a unique form of ecosystem engineering. The study highlights the complex and unpredicted impacts of prolonged droughts on dryland ecosystems.

Scientific Publication
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