Plant cover and Species Composition (Collective rangeland) in Tataouine, Tunisia: Spring 2017
Ouled Belgacem, Azaiez
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Field visits were carried out during March 2017, and allowed to identify and classify the sites subjected to resting according to the land tenure system and age of the implementation of the technique. During these visits, the main plant communities of the protected rangeland as well as the open grazing sites to be used as control were characterized and the existing plant communities based on the dominant species were identified and delimited. A total of 7 sites covering 10600 ha including 5 private rangelands and one communal in addition to the freely grazed site considered as control were retained for detailed monitoring-assessment study. The vegetation type is mostly consisting of different degraded stages of Stipa tenacissima in the private lands and three main dominant plant communities in the collective lands. In both within the rested sites and the open grazing one (control), experimental plots were established for collecting data on plant cover attributes and biomass production. Once the experimental plots selected, 3 permanent transects of 50 m long each, were established in the different representative plant communities of the target rangeland site, and used to determine plant cover parameters according to the points-quadrats method described by Daget and Poissonet (1971). This design will permit to appreciate the potential of regeneration and the persistence of plant species by monitoring the evolution of some descriptors (global plant cover, specific frequencies, flora richness and the plant density). The state of the soil surface (wind veil, crust, stones, litter) is also studied in order to monitor and assess changes of soil structure. Both in the rested area and its respective control, biomass production permitting the estimation of the carrying capacity is determined. The first measurement campaign was experiment was conducted during spring (April) 2017 (initial state). In each sampling plot, annual plants densities were measured by counting species individuals inside randomly established 5 quadrats with 1m2 area each. However, the density of perennial plants consisted of counting the number of each species tuft within 5 quadrats of 20 m2 area each.