Vegetation Dynamics and Species Diversity in a Saharan Oasis, Egypt

Fawzy Mahmoud SALAMA, Monier Mohammed ABD EL-GHANI, Ahmed Abd El Rahman AMRO, Ali El Saeid GAAFAR, Ayat Abd El Monem ABD EL GALIL


The present study provides an analysis of the floristic composition, habitat types, vegetation structure and species diversity, elucidating the role of the environmental factors that affect species distribution in Kharga Oasis, Western Desert, Egypt. The vegetation was sampled from 89 permanently visited stands in 12 sites situated along N - S line transect across the oasis, and extending for about 185 km to cover as much as possible the physiognomic variation in habitats. Four main habitats were recognized and forming concentric zones (from inside to outside): farmlands and date-palm orchards represent the inner zone, the waste-salinized lands (not saltmarshes) in the middle zone, and the surrounding (bounding) desert in the outer zone. A total of 122 species from 35 families and 102 genera represented the flora of the study area. Poaceae, Asteraceae and Fabaceae were the major families, which constituted 47% of the total flora. Classification using Bray-Curtis cluster analysis produced 4
vegetation groups (A - D); each can be linked to a certain habitat. The arrangement of habitat zones along the first DCA axis can be noticed: outer zone (bounding desert), middle zone (waste-salinized lands) and inner zone (arable lands). On the other hand, farmlands and date-palm orchard groups were separated from each other along the second DCA axis. The relationship
between the vegetation and soil variables was studied using Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA); it was indicated the most important environmental gradients those control the vegetation composition and the distribution pattern of species in Kharga Oasis, which were mainly related to gradients in soil moisture content and fine fractions. The present situation of
Kharga Oasis urges the conservation of some old historic wells and the naturally growing open dom-palm forests before vanishing due to high human activities in the area.


agro-ecosystem; arid environment; multivariate analysis; vegetation

Full Text:



Abd El-Ghani MM (1992). Flora and vegetation of Qara Oasis, Egypt. Phytocoenologia 21(1-2):1-14.‏

Abd El-Ghani MM, Fahmy AG (1998). Composition of and changes in the spontaneous flora of Feiran Oasis, S Sinai, Egypt, in the last 60 years. Willdenowia 28:123-134.‏

Abd El-Ghani MM, El-Sawaf N (2004). Diversity and distribution of plant species in agro-ecosystems of Egypt. Systematics and Geography of Plants 319-336.

Abd El-Ghani MM, Fawzy AM (2006). Plant diversity around springs and wells in five oases of the Western Desert, Egypt. International Journal of Agriculture and Biology (Pakistan) 8:249-255.

Abd El-Ghani MM, Abo El-Kheir M, Abdel-Dayem M, El-Hamid M (2011). Vegetation analysis and soil characteristics of five common desert climbing plants in Egypt. Turkish Journal of Botany 35:561-580.

Abd El-Ghani MM, Hamdy RS, Hamed AB (2015). Habitat diversity and floristic analysis of Wadi El-Natrun Depression, Western Desert, Egypt. Phytologia Balcanica 21(3):351-366.

Abd El-Ghani MM, Huerta-Martínez FM, Hongyan L, Qureshi R (2017). Plant responses to hyperarid desert environments. Springer International Publishing ISSN:978-3-319-59134-6.

Abdel Khalik, KA, El-Sheikh M, El-Aidarous A (2013). Floristic diversity and vegetation analysis of Wadi Al-Noman, Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Turkish Journal of Botany 37(5):894-907.‏

Alatar A, El-Sheikh M A, Thomas J (2012). Vegetation analysis of Wadi Al-Jufair, a hyper-arid region in Najd, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences 19(3):357-368.

Bardsley CE, Lancaster JD (1965). Sulfur 1. Methods of soil analysis. Part 2. Chemical and microbiological properties, (methodsofsoilanb) pp 1102-1116.

Baessler C, Klotz S (2006). Effects of changes in agricultural land-use on landscape structure and arable weed vegetation over the last 50 years. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 115(1-4):43-50.

Batanouny KH (1983). Human impact on desert vegetation. In: Holzner W, Werger MJA, Ikusima I (Eds). Man’s impact on vegetation pp 139-149.

Boulos L (1999-2005). Flora of Egypt. Vols. 1-4. Al Hadara Publishing, Cairo, Egypt.

Boulos L (2009). Flora of Egypt. Checklist. Revised Annotated Edition. Al Hadara Publishing, Cairo, Egypt.

Cornett JW (2008). The desert fan palm oasis. Arid land springs in North America: Ecology and conservation. The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and the University of Arizona Press, Tucson, AZ.‏

Enright NJ, Miller BP, Akhter R (2005). Desert vegetation and vegetation-environment relationships in Kirthar National Park, Sindh, Pakistan. Journal of Arid Environments 61(3):397-418.‏

Firehun Y, Tamado T (2006). Weed flora in the Rift Valley sugarcane plantations of Ethiopia as influenced by soil types and agronomic practises. Weed Biology and Management 6(3):139-150.

Hammer O, Harper DAT, Ryan PD (2001). Paleontological statistics software: package for education and data analysis. Palaeontologia Electronica 4:1-9.‏

Hill MO, Gauch HG (1980). Detrended correspondence analysis: an improved ordination technique. Vegetatio 42:47-58.

Jackson ML (1967). Soil chemical analysis. Prentice-Hall of India, Private limited New Delhi pp 498.

James JJ, Caird MA, Drenovsky RE, Sheley RL (2006). Influence of resource pulses and perennial neighbors on the establishment of an invasive annual grass in the Mojave Desert. Journal of Arid Environments 67:528-534.

Jin X, Schaepman M, Clevers J, Su Z, Hu G (2010). Correlation between annual runoff in the Heihe River to the vegetation cover in the Ejina Oasis (China). Arid Land Research and Management 24(1):31-41.‏

Kapur P, Govil SR (2000). Experimental plant ecology. CBS, Publisher and Distributors, Darya ganj, New Delhi (India).‏

Kehl H (1987). Zonation and establishment of vegetation in selected uninhabited Egyptian and Sudanese oases. Catena 14(4):275-289.‏

Kosinová J (1975). Weed communities of winter crops in Egypt. Preslia 47:58-74.

Ludwig JA, Reynolds JF (1988). Statistical ecology: a primer in methods and computing (Vol. 1). John Wiley & Sons.‏

McCune B, Mefford MJ (1999). PC-ORD: multivariate analysis of ecological data; Version 4 for Windows;[User's Guide]. MjM software design.

Naveh Z, Whittaker RH (1979). Structural and floristic diversity of shrub lands and woodlands in northern Israel and other Mediterranean areas. Plant Ecology 41(3):171-190.‏

Pielou EC (1975). Ecological diversity. New York, Wiley pp 165.

Qian Y, Wu Z, Zhao R, Zhang L (2008). Vegetation patterns and species-environment relationships in the Gurbantunggut Desert of China. Journal of Geographical Sciences 18(4):400-414.

Quézel P (1978). Analysis of the flora of Mediterranean and Saharan Africa. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 479-534.‏

Ryan PJ, McKenzie NJ, Loughhead A, Ashton LJ (1996). New methods for forest soil surveys. In: Eldridge KG (Ed). Environ Manag: The Role of Eucalypts and Other Fast Growing Species. Proceedings of the Joint Australian-Japanese Workshop Held in Australia, 23rd–27th October. CSIRO Division of Forestry and Forest Products. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

Salama FM, Abd El-Ghani MM, El-Tayeh NA, Amro AM, Abdrabbu HS (2017). Correlations between soil variables and weed communities in major crops of the desert reclaimed lands in southern Egypt. Rendiconti Lincei 28:363-378.

Shaheen AM (2002). Weed diversity of newly farmed lands on the southern border of Egypt (eastern and western shores of Lake Nasser). Pakistan Journal of Biological Science 5(7):802-806.

Täckholm V (1974). Students' flora of Egypt, 2nd ed. Cairo University Press, Cairo, Egypt.

Tamado T, Milberg P (2000). Weed flora in arable fields of eastern Ethiopia with emphasis on the occurrence of Parthenium hysterophorus. Weed Research 40(6):507-521.‏

Ter Braak CJF (1990). Update notes: CANOCO version 3.1. Wageningen: Agricultural Mathematics Group.

Ter Braak CJF, Prentice IC (1988). A theory of gradient analysis. Advances in Ecological Research 18:271-317.

Vetaas OR, Salih EA, Jurasinski G (2012). Vegetation changes in the Red Sea Hills: from mist oasis to arid shrub. Plant Ecolology & Diversity 5(4): 527-539.‏

Walkley A, Black IA (1934). An examination of the Degtjareff method for determining organic carbon in soils: Effect of variations in digestion conditions and of inorganic soil constituents. Soil Science 63:251-263.

Whittaker RH, Levin SA (1977). The role mosaic phenomena in natural communities. Theoretical Population Biology 12:117-139.

Williams CH, Twine ME (1960). Flame photometric method for sodium, potassium and calcium. In: Modern methods of plant analysis (Paech K and Tracey MV, editors.) Springer - Verlag, Berlin. Vol. 5 pp 535.

‏Woods JT, Mellon MA (1941). Chlorostannous-Molybdophosphoric blue colour method in sulfuric acid system. In soil chemical analysis by Jackson ML (1958). Prentice Hall International. Inc. London.

Yang H, Lu Q, Wu B, Zhang J, Lin Y (2006). Vegetation diversity and its application in sandy desert re vegetation on Tibetan Plateau. Journal of Arid Environments 65:619-631.



Under the aegis of Horticulture and Forestry Society from Transylvania