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Title Species interactions and population patterns of Moroccan steppe vegetation under grazing pressure and under exclusion of land use.

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Short title Species interactions under exclosure conditions

Author(s) Augustin, A.; Finckh, M.

Presenting author Finckh, M.

Institution(s) University of Hamburg, Biozentrum Klein Flottbek, Ohnhorststr. 18, 22609 Hamburg

Keywords permanent monitoring; population analysis, spatial patterns, species interactions, land use

Abstract Ecosystems of arid and semiarid regions are presumed to be particularly under threat due to global change and increasing land use pressure. Especially overgrazing has a major impact on ecological and economical resources.
BIOTA-Maroc established ten permanent monitoring sites along a bioclimatic gradient from the High Atlas down to the Sahara to study the effects of grazing. At each site, exclosures were established to compare the dynamics of vegetation under a grazed and non-grazed land use regime. An individual-based monitoring approach has been applied in order to measure relevant population parameters indicating spatio-temporal processes and interspecific interactions.

We first present the results of 7 years monitoring, using test sites in the Antiatlas and Atlas mountains as examples. Growth and population models show significant differences in development over time between grazed and ungrazed sites. Furthermore, competition and dispersal facilitation lead to different configurations in spatial patterns. Certain species are identified as potential indicators for grazing impact. The applicability of monitoring results for sustainable land use management and rehabilitation activities are demonstrated.

Congress Topic Land use, impact and value

Topic No. 3.9
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Ref. No. 636