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Journal of Arid Land  2012, Vol. 4 Issue (3): 292-299    DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2012.00292
Research Articles     
The effect of water spreading system on the functionality of rangeland ecosystems
PhD Student of Rangeland Science, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan 49138–15739, Iran
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Abstract  In recent decades, the control of floods is an efficient management practice for the rehabilitation of rangelands in most arid and semiarid areas. To evaluate the benefits, we used the Landscape Function Analysis (LFA) method to assess the function of patches and qualitative capability of a rangeland ecosystem in Gareh Bygone region, Fars province, southwestern Iran. Landscape functionality depends on soil, water and nutrient (collectively called “resources”) conservation and use within a given ecosystem. Many landscapes are naturally heterogeneous in terms of resource control and possess patches, where resources tend to accumulate, and inter-patches. Assessing rangeland health and function of landscape patches in response to environment and management can give rise to correct management decisions for qualitative improvement of the ecosystem. There-fore, our study area was divided into two parts, i.e. water spreading and control parts, and sampling was done using LFA method in each part separately. Structural parameters, including the number, length and width of patches, and the mean length of inter-patches, were determined by the method to characterize the functional status of the monitoring sites. For each patch/inter-patch type identified in the transect organization log, we recorded its soil surface properties classified according to the Soil Surface Assessment Method. The density, canopy cover and composition of plants were then assessed. The results showed that the number of ecological patches and their dimensions were significantly increased in the water spreading site. Soil stability and the values of nutrient cycling indices were increased but the infiltration values were decreased in the water spreading site. It could be related to the effect of suspended materials transported by floods to the soils in the study area. The improvement of ecological patches and rangeland ecosystem was achieved where water spreading systems were practiced. Therefore it can be concluded that water spreading as a management plan plays an important role in arid land ecosystem func-tionality.

Received: 28 December 2011      Published: 03 September 2012
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Mohammad Rahim FOROUZEH, Mohsen SHARAFATMANDRAD. The effect of water spreading system on the functionality of rangeland ecosystems. Journal of Arid Land, 2012, 4(3): 292-299.

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