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Soil and plant diversity in Chafarinas islands (NW Africa)

AutorGarcía, Luis V. ; Marañón, Teodoro ; Clemente Salas, Luis
Fecha de publicación2000
EditorEuropean Society for Soil Conservation
CitaciónBook of Abstract. Third International Congress of the European Society for Soil Conservation Man and Soil a the Third Millennium. pag. 137 (2000)
ResumenThe Chafarinas islands are located in the West End of the Mediterranean Sea, near (3.5 km) to the Moroccan coast. The islands have a volcanic origin, being the dominant parent rocks andesite and basalt, partly covered by an eroded calcareous crust. The steeped slopes and the dry climate (about 250 mm of mean annual rainfall) are responsible for the shallow «50 cm) soils and for the aridic soil moisture regime (Lithic Torriorthents dominates). Chafarinas islands support one of the most important nesting colonies of Audouin's gull (Larus audounil), arare Mediterranean seabird. These breeding sites have been legally protected, since 1982, to avoid the gathering of eggs and other human interference that limited the growth of gull populations. In turn, the protection of the area has favoured the expansion of the more common, yellow-Iegged, seagull (Larus cachinans). The effects of such a high density of both seagulls' species on soil chemical & physical properties have become significant. On the other hand, the uncontrolled proliferation of domestic rabbits in the biggest (Congreso) island has had remarkable negative effects on herbaceous communities, shrub seedlings and in soil degradation. The Spanish Ministry for the environment, concerned about soil and plant cover conservation in the islands, has supported a research project whose preliminary findings are presented here. The presence and abundance of gulls correlated significantly to changes in chemical (nutrients, salinity, ionic ratios, organic matter, pHI and physical (bulk density, moisture retention capacity) soil properties which, in turn, were related to changes in plant cover, biomass and species composition. A model for soil-plants-fulls/rabbits interaction is proposed. Guano influence in soil properties and the associated changes in relevant plant community parameters (abundance, diversity of the shrub and herbaceous strata, above ground biomass, and soil seed bank) are quantitatively analysed. Different possibilities of soil-plant properties change tendencies (soil eutrophization, soil salinization, loss of plant cover, soil erosion), under different hypotheses of fauna management are discussed.
DescripciónPoster presentado en el Third International Congress of the European Society for Soil Conservation Man and Soil a the Third Millennium. Valencia, 28 March-1 April, 2000
Aparece en las colecciones: (IRNAS) Comunicaciones congresos
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