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Authors Stavi, I; Rachmilevitch, S; Yizhaq, H
Author Full Name Stavi, Ilan; Rachmilevitch, Shimno; Yizhaq, Hezi
Title Geodiversity effects on soil quality and geo-ecosystem functioning in drylands
Source CATENA
Language English
Document Type Article
Author Keywords Climatic change; Dissolved and suspended materials; Drought scenario; Rangelands; Source-sink relations; Stone content and cover
Keywords Plus ORGANIC-MATTER; VEGETATION; COVER; CONNECTIVITY; STABILITY; MORTALITY; RAINFALL; EROSION; CLIMATE; CARBON
Abstract Geodiversity is defined as the natural variability of geologic, geomorphic, and soil features. It has been acknowledged to positively affect biodiversity and species richness. A long-term drought occurring in the semi-arid northern Negev of Israel has led to the mass mortality of shrubs, with the particularly adverse impact on the predominant Noaea mucronata species. Recent observations in these shrublands have suggested that this mass mortality is not uniformly distributed over the landscape, but is confined to hillslopes characterized by lowgeodiversity. This type of hillslope is defined by a deep (> 1 m) soil layer, lacking rock fragments in its profile and on its surface. Also, the herbaceous vegetation cover of these hillslopes is very high ( > 90%), but shrubby vegetation cover is very low ( < 10%) and for the most part, non-vital. At the same time, shrubby vegetation in high-geodiversity hillslopes - defined by a shallow (similar to 10 cm) soil layer, and high rock fragment content ( > 30% volume) and cover ( > 20%) - is rather dense ( > 25%) and vital, but their herbaceous vegetation cover is quite sparse ( < 30%). Soil was sampled from the 0-10 cm depth in two micro-habitats - shrubby patches and intershrub spaces - on both the homogeneous and heterogeneous hillslopes. Overall, soil quality was found to be considerably higher in the heterogeneous hillslopes compared to the homogeneous hillslopes. This included the contents of hygroscopic moisture, total organic carbon, particulate organic carbon, and carbon lability, whose means were 22%, 36%, 27%, and 38%, respectively, greater in the heterogeneous hillslopes. Further, mean clay dispersion index was 18% lower in the heterogeneous hillslopes. At the same time, mean soil electrical conductivity was 13% greater in the heterogeneous hillslopes. Yet, this could be attributed to the greater clay content in the former type (19.1%) than that in the latter type (12.7%) of hillslope, with the assumingly higher salt-adsorption from the soil solution. Overall, the results show that the effect of micro-habitat on the soil properties was relatively moderate, and therefore, suggest that the impact of geodiversity might override that of vegetation patchiness. The results highlight the importance of assessing patch-scale and/or hillslope-scale geodiversity in future studies of dryland ecosystems around the world.
Author Address [Stavi, Ilan] Dead Sea & Arava Sci Ctr, IL-88820 Yotvata, Israel; [Rachmilevitch, Shimno] Ben Gurion Univ Negev, Blaustein Inst Desert Res, French Associates Inst Agr & Biotechnol Drylands, Sede Boqer Campus, IL-84990 Sede Boqer, Israel; [Yizhaq, Hezi] Ben Gurion Univ Negev, Blaustein Inst Desert Res, Dept Solar Energy & Environm Phys, Sede Boqer Campus, IL-84990 Sede Boqer, Israel
Reprint Address Stavi, I (reprint author), Dead Sea & Arava Sci Ctr, IL-88820 Yotvata, Israel.
E-mail Address istavi@adssc.org
ResearcherID Number Rachmilevitch, Shimon/F-1329-2012
ORCID Number Rachmilevitch, Shimon/0000-0003-3600-5949; Yizhaq, Hezi/0000-0001-7573-3303
Funding Agency and Grant Number Israel Science Foundation (ISF)Israel Science Foundation [1260/15]
Funding Text This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF), grant number 1260/15. The authors are grateful to Onn Crouvi for a very insightful consultation on geological background across the study region.
Times Cited 2
Total Times Cited Count (WoS, BCI, and CSCD) 2
Publisher ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Publisher City AMSTERDAM
Publisher Address PO BOX 211, 1000 AE AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
ISSN 0341-8162
29-Character Source Abbreviation CATENA
ISO Source Abbreviation Catena
Publication Date MAY
Year Published 2019
Volume 176
Beginning Page 372
Ending Page 380
Digital Object Identifier (DOI) 10.1016/j.catena.2019.01.037
Page Count 9
Web of Science Category Geosciences, Multidisciplinary; Soil Science; Water Resources
Subject Category Geology; Agriculture; Water Resources
Document Delivery Number HQ0TD
Unique Article Identifier WOS:000462107000032
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