Interspecific association and species composition of plants affected by erosion winds in the south west of Iran

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Natural Resources, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Natural Resources, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran

2 Desertification Expert of Natural Resources Department, Khuzestan, Iran



Species interactions are considered important in the process of understanding the structure and composition of natural plant communities. This study evaluated a field survey to investigate species composition and interspecific associations in natural vegetation of an arid area in Hanitie rangeland, Khuzestan Province, Southwest of Iran. The interspecific associations of major species were quantitatively analyzed using a 2 - 2 contingency table, χ2  test, and interspecific association coefficients. Eighty quadrates were located along four 800m transverse transects, two of which were located in the general direction of dominant winds while others were perpendicular to the dominant wind. This vegetation type's quadrate size was determined using the minimal area method (3 3m). Thirty-eight species belonging to 10 families were recorded on this site. The highest number of species belonged to the Graminea, followed by  Chenopodiacea. This study shows that Holocnemum strobilaceum and Aeluropus littoralis have identical interspecific association patterns and share a positive interspecific association. But the distribution of Tamarix leptopetala was significantly different (P<0.05) within Aeluropus littoralis and Agropyron elangatum, which indicates a negative association. Also, the results show that when Holocnemum strobilaceum and Aeluropus littoralis co-occurred in the general direction of dominant winds, the mean frequency was significantly higher than when they co-occurred perpendicular to the dominant wind. This research may support the view that facilitation is more prominent in a severely disturbed habitat than the competition


Alvarez LJ, Epstein HE, Li J, Okin GS. 2012. Aeolian process effects on vegetation communities in an arid       grassland ecosystem.  Ecology and Evolution, 2; 809-821. Anten NPR, Alcala-Herrera R, Schieving F, Onoda Y. 2010. Wind and mechanical stimuli differentially       affect leaf traits in Plantago major. New Phytologist, 188; 554-564. 
  Interspecific Association and Species Composition of Plants …                                                                                                   257  
Borer ET, Seabloom EW, Gruner DS, Harpole WS, Hillebrand H, Lind EM. 2014. Herbivores and nutrients       control grassland plant diversity via light limitation. Nature, 508; 517-520. Borer ET, Seabloom EW, Gruner DS, Harpole WS, Hillebrand H, Lind EM, Adler PB, Alberti J, Anderson       TM, Bakker JD. 2014. Herbivores and nutrients control grassland plant diversity via light limitation.       Nature, 508; 517–20. Cheplick GP. 2017. Responses of native plant populations on an unprotected beach to disturbance by storm-      induced overwash events. Plant Ecology, 218; 105-118. Fan B, Changming Z, Xiaowei Z, Kun S. 2018. Impacts of Sand Burial and Wind Erosion on Regeneration       and Growth of a Desert Clonal Shrub. Front. Frontiers in plant science. 9; 1696. Field JP, Belnap J, Breshears DD, Neff JC, Okin GS, Whicker JJ, Painter TH, Ravi S, Reheis MC, Reynolds       RL. 2010. The ecology of dust. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 8; 423-430. Funk JL, Vitousek PM. 2007. Resource-use efficiency and plant invasion in low-resource systems. Nature,       446; 1079–81. Getzin S, Dean C, He F, Trofymow JA, Wiegand K, Ecography TW. 2006. Spatial patterns and competition       of tree species in a chronosequence of Douglas‐fir Forest on Vancouver Island. Ecography, 29; 671–682.  Gu L, Kevin LO, Wei‐zhong L, Zhi‐wen G. 2019. Spatial patterns and interspecific associations among       trees at different stand development stages in the natural secondary forests on the Loess Plateau, China.       Ecology and evolution, 9; 6410-6421. Harms KE, Condit R, Hubbell SP, Foster RB. 2001. Habitat associations of trees and shrubs in a 50 ha       Neotropical forest plot. Journal of Ecology, 89; 947–959.  Harpole WS, Sullivan LL, Lind EM, Firn J, Adler PB, Borer ET, Chase J, Fay PA. 2016. Addition of       multiple limiting resources reduces grassland diversity. Nature, 537; 93-96. Hautier Y, Niklaus PA, Hector A. 2009. Competition for light causes plant biodiversity loss after       eutrophication. Science, 324; 636–8. Holzapfel C, Tielborgerb K, Paragb HA, Kigelc J, Sternberga M. 2006. Annual plant–shrub interactions       along an aridity gradient. Basic and Applied Ecology, 7; 268-279. Hunter J, Jay A, Nicholson N, Nicholson H, Horton S. 1992. Species Recovery Plan: Acronychia littoralis.       Australian National Parks & Wildlife Service. Kéfi S, Rietkerk M, Alados CL, Pueyo Y, Papanastasis VP, ElAich A, de Ruiter PC. 2007. Spatial vegetation       patterns and imminent desertification in Mediterranean arid ecosystems. Nature, 449; 213–217. Kershaw KA, Looney JHH. (Eds.), 1985. Quantitative and Dynamic Plant Ecology. Edward Arnold,       Baltimore. Khojasteh F, Zare Chahouki MA, Azarnivand H, Kikvidze Z. 2013. Life form and preference can drive       spatial relationships among plant species in semi-arid rangelands of middle Iran. The Rangeland       Journal, 35; 63-69. Lawrence CR, Reynolds RL, Ketterer ME, Neff JC. 2013. Aeolian controls of soil geochemistry and       weathering fluxes in high elevation ecosystems of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado. Geochimica et       Cosmochimica Acta, 107; 27-46. Lee JT, Yen LZ, Chu MY, Lin YS, Chang CC, Lin RS, Chao KH, Lee MJ. 2020.Growth Characteristics       and Anti-Wind Erosion Ability of Three Tropical Foredune Pioneer Species for Sand Dune       Stabilization. Sustainability, 12; 3353.  Lei L, Zhang K, Zhang X, Wang Y, Xia J, Piao S, Hui D, Zhong M, Ru J, Zhou Z, Song H, Yang Z, Wang       D, Miao Y, Yang F, Liu B, Zhang A, Yu M, Liu X, Song Y, Zhu L, Wan S. 2019. Plant feedback       aggravates soil organic carbon loss associated with wind erosion in northwest China. Journal of       Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 124; 825-839. Li P, Liu L, Wang J, Wang Z, Wang X, Bai Y, Chen S. 2018. Wind erosion enhanced by land use changes       significantly reduces ecosystem carbon storage and carbon sequestration potentials in semiarid       grasslands. Land Degradation & Development, 29; 3469-3478. 
 258                                                                                                                              DESERT, 27-2, 2022 
Li SL, Yu FH, Werger MJ, Dong M, During HJ, Zuidema PA. 2015. Mobile dune fixation by a fast-growing       clonal plant: a full life-cycle analysis. Scientific reports, 5; 1-7. Liu B, Liu Z, Lü X, Maestre FT, Wang L. 2014. Sand burial compensates for the negative effects of erosion       on the dune-building shrub artemisia wudanica. Plant and Soil, 374; 263-273. Maun MA. 1996. The effects of burial by sand on survival and growth of Calamovilfa longifolia.       Ecoscience, 3; 93-100. McIntire EJB, Fajardo A. 2009. Beyond description: the active and effective way to infer processes from       spatial patterns. Ecology, 90; 46-56. Mitchell SJ. 2013. Wind as a natural disturbance agent in forests: a synthesis. Forestry: An International       Journal of Forest Research, 86; 147-157. Nyatwere M, Mkabwa LKM, Zachariah KR. 2012. Distribution patterns of plant species around North Mara       Gold Mine in Tanzania. International Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 2; 302–312. Okin GS, Gillette DA, Herrick JE. 2006. Multi-scale controls on and consequences of aeolian processes in       landscape change in arid and semi-arid environments. Journal of arid environments, 65; 253-275. Soliveres S, García-Palacios P, Castillo-Monroy AP, Maestre FT, Escudero A, Valladares F. 2011.       Temporal dynamics of herbivory and water availability interactively modulate the outcome of a grass–      shrub interaction in a semi-arid ecosystem. Oikos, 120; 710-719. Su SJ, Liu JF, He ZS, Zheng SQ, Hong W, Xu DW. 2015. Ecological species group and interspecific       association of dominant tree species in Daiyun Mountain Natural Reserve. Journal of Mountain Science,       12; 637–646.  Su YG, Li XR, Zheng JG, Huang G. 2009. The effect of biological soil crusts of different successional       stages and conditions on the germination of seeds of three desert plants. Journal of Arid       Environments, 73; 931-936. Sutomo S, Fardila D, Lily SEP. 2011. Species composition and interspecific association of plants in primary       succession of Mount Merapi, Indonesia. Biodiversitas Journal of Biological Diversity, 12; 212-217. Walker LR, Walker J, Del Moral R. (Eds.), 2007. Forging a new alliance between succession and restoration.       Springer, New York. Xu L, Huber H, During HJ, Dong M, Anten NP. 2013. Intra specific variation of a desert shrub species in       phenotypic plasticity in response to sand burial. New Phytologist, 199; 991-1000. Yang J, Vázquez L, Feng L, Liu Z, Zhao G. 2018. Climatic and soil factors shape the demographical history       and genetic diversity of a deciduous oak (Quercus liaotungensis) in Northern China. Frontiers in Plant       Science, 9; 1534.  Zhang S, Guofang L, Qingguo C, Zhenying H, Xuehua Y, Johannes HCC. 2021. New field wind       manipulation methodology reveals adaptive responses of steppe plants to increased and reduced wind       speed. Plant Methods, 17; 1-16. Zheng M, Jian S, Jingyi R, Zhenxing Z, Mingxing Z, Lin J, Dafeng H, Shiqiang W. 2020. Effects of grazing,       wind erosion, and dust deposition on plant community composition and structure in a temperate steppe.       Ecosystems. Ecosystems, 24; 403-420.