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Studying the effect of elevation and edaphic variables on vegetation composition in Khezrabad rangelands using principal component analysis (PCA)

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Author(s): Ruhollah TAGHIZADEH MEHRJARDI | Ali AKBARZADEH | Mehdi BINIYAZ | Shahla MAHMOODI | Mohammad Ali ZARE CHAHOUKI

Journal: Analele Universitatii din Oradea, Fascicula Biologie
ISSN 1224-5119

Volume: TOM XVI;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 155;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: environmental factors | Khezrabad rangelands | PCA | vegetation types

ABSTRACT
A major scientific challenge in plant ecology is to identify and quantify the strength of environmental factors that are responsible for the distribution and abundance of plant species within and among ecosystems. Hence, this study is focused on relation between plant communities and environmental variables in Khezrabad region of Iran. Based on field surveys, eight vegetation types including Artemisia sieberi-Acantholimon erinaceum, Artemisia sieberi-Hertia angustifolia, Artemisia sieberi-Launea acanthodes, Artemisia sieberi-Salsola tomentosa, Artemisia sieberi-Zygophyllum atriplicoides, Artemisia aucheri-Astrgalus albispinus, Artemisia sieberi-Fortuynia bungei, Haloxylon aphyllum were identified. With respecting to the present variance between vegetation and environmental factors, four samples were established in each vegetation type in 0–30 cm depth. The studied soil variables affecting plant communities were texture, EC, pH, Na+, k+, Cl-, Ca2+, Mg2+, SP, O.M, CaCO3, HCO3 - and CEC. Among the topographic conditions, elevation was recorded in sampling regions as well. Data matrix of environmental factors and vegetation type was made using the windows (ver. 4.17) of PC-ORD. Results according to PCA showed that in the study area, among different environmental factors, the distribution of vegetation types was most strongly correlated with some agents such as soil texture, salinity and sodicity. In fact, soil texture controls distribution of plant species by affecting moisture availability, ventilation and distribution of plant roots. Beside, soil salinity and sodicity because of habitat condition, plant ecological needs and tolerance range can have negative affect on plant diversity. In addition, results indicated that increasing of elevation had negative effect on plant distribution. However, soil characteristics have more influence on vegetation separation than to the elevation in this study.
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