Paper Details


Soil characteristics and plant functional traits under long-term conservation in arid desert ecosystems

Marwa Moumni, Abderazak Tlili, Jamila Msadek, Mohamed Neji and Mohamed Tarhouni

This research was done during the spring 2020 in Dghoumes national park, southwest desert region of Tunisia with extreme weather conditions that accelerate the natural resources degradation processes. Aims are to assess the soil properties (organic matter, pH, electrical conductivity, total nitrogen, texture, and total limestone) and their relationship with the existing plant communities. Soil samples were collected from two depths (0-20 cm, 60-80 cm) under the canopy of the dominant plant species as well as in the adjacent open areas (inter-patches, bare soil). The functional traits (leaf area, bio-volume, leaf dry matter content, canopy cover, leaf water content, and specific leaf area) of the six dominant plant species within the park (Halocnemum strobilaceum (Pall.) M. Bieb., Helianthemum kahiricum Delile, Retama raetam Forssk., Anarrhinum brevifolium Cosson & Kralik, Haloxylon schmittianum Pomel and Limoniastrum guyonianum Boiss.) are compared with those of outside. Main results show that the soil texture of the park ranges between sandy, sandy-loam and loamy-sand with very low nitrogen (< 0.1%) and organic matter contents. The total limestone is variable inside the park and reaches the highest value in salty soils. For the majority of studied species, the bio-volume and leaf water content are higher inside the park than outside and vice-versa for leaf dry matter content. There is a slight difference concerning the leaf area between inside and outside park. Despite the desert climate and dry soil conditions, the plant species are able to regenerate and to produce sufficient biomass in absence of human disturbances

To Cite this article: Moumni, M., A. Tlili, J. Msadek, M. Neji and M. Tarhouni. 2023. Soil characteristics and plant functional traits under long-term conservation in arid desert ecosystems. Pak. J. Bot., 55(5): DOI:  

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