Interactions between vegetation dynamic and edaphic factors in the Great Salt Desert of central Iran
Hossein BASHARI1,*(), SeyedMehrdad KAZEMI1, Soghra POODINEH1, Mohammad R MOSADDEGHI2, Mostafa TARKESH1, SeyedMehdi ADNANI3
1Department of Natural Resources, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan 8415683111, Iran 2Department of Soil Science, College of Agriculture, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan 8415683111, Iran 3Forests and Rangelands Research Department, Qom Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Qom 3716184729, Iran;
Investigating the relationships between vegetation dynamic and edaphic factors provide management insights into factors affecting the growth and establishment of plant species and vegetation communities in saline areas. The aim of this study was to assess the spatial variability of various vegetation communities in relation to edaphic factors in the Great Salt Desert, central Iran. Fifteen vegetation communities were identified using the physiognomy-floristic method. Coverage and density of vegetation communities were determined using the transect plot method. Forty soil samples were collected from major horizons of fifteen profiles in vegetation communities, and analyzed in terms of following soil physical and chemical characteristics: soil texture, soluble Na + concentration, sodium adsorption ratio (SAR), electrical conductivity (EC), pH, organic matter content, soluble Mg 2+ and Ca 2+ concentrations, carbonate and gypsum contents, and spontaneously- and mechanically-dispersible clay contents. Redundancy analysis was used to investigate the relationships between vegetation dynamic and edaphic factors. The generalized linear method (GLM) was used to find the plant species response curves against edaphic factors. Results showed that plant species responded differently to edaphic factors, in which soluble sodium concentration, EC, SAR, gypsum content and soil texture were identified as the most discriminative edaphic factors. The studied plant species were also found to have different ecological requirements and tolerance to edaphic factors, in which Tamarix aphylla and Halocnemum strobilaceum were identified as the most salt-resistant species in the region. Furthermore, the presence of Artemisia sieberi was highly related to soil sand and gypsum contents. The results implied that exploring the plant species response curves against edaphic factors can assist managers to lay out more appropriate restoration plans in similar arid areas.
Received: 15 April 2019
Published: 10 February 2021
Hossein BASHARI, SeyedMehrdad KAZEMI, Soghra POODINEH, Mohammad R MOSADDEGHI, Mostafa TARKESH, SeyedMehdi ADNANI. Interactions between vegetation dynamic and edaphic factors in the Great Salt Desert of central Iran. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(2): 123-134.
Fig. 1Location of the study area (a) and sampling sites (b) in the Great Salt Desert, central Iran
Length of gradient
Cumulative variance of plant species (%)
Cumulative variance of soils (%)
Table 1 Results of DCA (detrended correspondence analysis) of vegetation coverage and edaphic factors in the Great Salt Desert, central Iran
Vegetation coverage (%)
Plant density (stands/hm2)
Phragmites australis-Halocnemum strobilaceum
Halocnemum strobilaceum-Tamarix aphylla
Alhaji mannifera-Seidlitzia rosmarinus
Tamarix aphylla-Halocnemum strobilaceum
Artemisia sieberi-Stipagrostis plumosa
Halostachys caspica-Halocnemum strobilaceum
Halocnemum strobilaceum-Seidlitzia rosmarinus
Halocnemum strobilaceum-Tamarix aphylla
Tamarix aphylla-Seidlitzia rosmarinus
Table 2 Elevation, vegetation coverage and plant density of different vegetation communities in the Great Salt Desert, central Iran
Table 3 Soil physical and chemical properties of different vegetation communities in the Great Salt Desert, central Iran
Fig. 2Redundancy analysis (RDA) orientation diagram of different vegetation communities with environmental variables. EC, electrical conductivity; SAR, sodium adsorption ratio; OM, organic matter; SDC, spontaneously-dispersible clay; MDC, mechanically-dispersible clay; CCE, calcium carbonate equivalent. Mg2+, magmatism; Na+, sodium; Ca2+, calcium. S1-S15 represent the fifteen vegetation communities.
Table 4 Correlation coefficients between edaphic factors through RDA
Fig. 3Relationships of spontaneously-dispersible clay (SDC, a) content and mechanically-dispersible clay (MDC, b) content with calcium carbonate equivalent (CCE)
Fig. 4Cluster analysis based on vegetation coverage in the Great Salt Desert, central Iran
Fig. 5Plant species response curves from generalized linear model (GLM) relating coverage of vegetation communities to edaphic factors. Ta.ap, Tamarix aphylla; Ha.st, Halocnemum strobilacum; Se.ro, Seidlitzia rosmarinus; Ar.si, Artemisia sieberi.
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