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Vegetation analysis and correlations between soil variables and habitat diversity in Qaroun and Wadi El-Rayan Protected Areas, Western Desert, Egypt.

Aliaa Muhammad Refaat,Ashraf Mohamed Youssef,Mohamed Talaat EL-Hennawy,Hosny Abdel-Aziz Mosallam.

This study provides an analysis of vegetation and environmental relationships as well as diversity patterns in different habitats present in Qaroun and Wadi El-Rayan Protected Areas, Western Desert, Egypt. Habitat diversity is one of the important concepts in ecology that reflects the health status of ecosystems. A total of 62 stands were chosen to represent the habitat diversity. A total of 55 wild plant species (31 perennials and 24 annuals), belonging to 49 genera and 24 families, were recorded among the study area. Poaceae, Fabaceae, Chenopodiaceae, and Asteraceae are the most abundant families. Diversity indices; species richness, evenness, Shannon and Simpson diversity indices were calculated for each stand. Eighteen soil variables were examined, and results showed large
variation among stands. Four vegetation groups were obtained from the Two-way cluster analysis classification (TWINSPAN) in the three main habitats. Environmental parameters correlations with vegetation groups were determined using DCA and DCCA. Results showed that soil salinity indicators, soil moisture content and soil particles were the most critical factors affecting the ecological diversity in the study area. Indicator species of the habitats were xerophytes or halophytes.

Key words: Habitat diversity, Qaroun, Wadi EL-Rayan

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