Biological soil crusts, plant functional groups, and soil parameters in arid areas of Iran
Biological soil crusts (BSCs) have a vital role regarding vegetation and soil development in arid and semi-arid areas in the world, and apparently in Iran, where they comprise more than 85% of the land. In this research, the relationship between BSCs and plant functional groups, considering soil parameters along an arid alluvial fan located in Khorasan Razavi province in northeastern Iran, was examined. The sampling carried out in summer, systematically from apex towards base part of alluvial fan, using a 0.25 m² quadrat over a 5-cm thick soil surface. Surface levels were classified into three categories: apex, middle, and base. At each level, 16 samples were taken; in total 48 samples were collected along the alluvial fan from the apex point to the base district. The results showed a strong relationship between BSCs and the soil surface features, and a weak correlation between the plant functional group and soil parameters. BSCs indicated an ecological evolution from apex to the base geomorphic level by soil development; so that BSCs are more developed on the base of alluvial fan, but their diversity is reduced.
- Department of Desert and Arid Zones Management, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
- Department of Desert and Arid Zones Management, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
- Department of Rangelands and Watershed Management, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
- Department of Biology, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
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