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Title Alteration of species interactions and spatial patterns under exclosure conditions in Moroccan steppes.

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Short title species interactions under exclosure conditions

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

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

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

Abstract Arid and semiarid regions are presumed to be particularly under threat by global change and increasing land use pressure. Especially overgrazing is 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 monitoring site, exclosures were established to compare the developments of vegetation in grazed and ungrazed sites.
Change in species composition can be slow, particularly in arid to semiarid environments, therefore we propose to use an individual-based monitoring approach in order to estimate relevant population parameters that indicate spatial and temporal processes and interspecific interactions.
In this study, we present the results of a seven-year monitoring experiment on a test site in the Antiatlas mountains. 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 by their spatiotemporal patterns to be possibly suitable for indicating change caused by grazing.
Long term monitoring efforts are a suitable method to derive information from vegetation dynamics in order to plan sustainable conservation and rehabilitation activities.

Congress Topic Process Analysis

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Ref. No. 649