Habitat heterogeneity is a main factor determining the geographical distribution of species. For plant and particularly trees and shrubs, topography (microtopography) is an applicable predictor of habitat, slope, and aspect that often correlate with distribution of water and nutrients availability and spatial pattern of species. However, there is lack on exploring this relationship in different plant communities through different environments. In this research, the spatial pattern of woody species in relation to microtopography was investigated in Chahartagh forest, Chahar Mahal, and Bakhtiari province, Iran. The location of the trees and shrubs of a 53-ha forest reserve in Chartagh was measured and the type of microtopography including (i) slope A without microtopography and (ii) slope B composed of three microtopography types: crest (degree of tilt is≥60%), intermediate area (30–40%), and gully (10–20%) were recorded. The effects of microtopography on the spatial pattern of species were analyzed using O-ring statistic. The results showed that the main distribution pattern for the woodiest species in the study area in all platforms is aggregated pattern, while for larger scales, the pattern tended to become random. Also, the pattern was strongly influenced by the scale that the distribution type was assessed. From the other hand, our results revealed that for steeper platforms, the patterns tend to be more aggregated which indicates the non-uniformity of water and nutrition distribution in steeper platforms. Also, this can be a result of seed distribution behavior which is affected by microtopography in a way that in steep platforms, rolling of the seed results in patchy accumulation of the seeds and finally patchy regeneration.
Arabian Journal of Geosciences – Springer Journals
Published: May 24, 2018
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