, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 335-345
Date: 17 Oct 2013

Influence of slope aspect on Mediterranean woody formations: Comparison of a semiarid and an arid site in Israel

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Abstract

This study investigates the effects of slope aspect on plant community characteristics such as plant cover, species composition and above-ground biomass production in Mediterranean trees and shrubs in two climatological regions. Two experimental sites were selected in a climatic gradient that runs from the foothills of the Judean Hills to the northern Negev desert in Israel. In each site, 16 quadrats of 10 m × 10 m (eight south-facing and eight north-facing slopes) were established and the vegetation was recorded. Dominant tree and shrub species were measured using allometric parameters of area and volume, and representative branches were cut and weighed. Species studied were Quercus calliprinos, Phillyrea latifolia, Pistacia lentiscus, Cistus creticus, Coridothymus capitatus, and Sarcopoterium spinosum. The results showed that slope aspect had significant effects on the composition, structure and density of the plant communities developing in both sites. Vegetation structure within a site changed significantly in the short distance separating the north and south-facing slopes, and that pattern remained generally constant when comparing the two sites along the rainfall gradient. The data collected here provides new insight into the slope aspect effects on biomass allocation of different woody life forms of eastern Mediterranean plant communities.