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Abstract Detail



Ecology

Halmy, Marwa Waseem A. [1].

Assessing the impact of human-induced environmental changes on the floristic quality of the northwestern coastal desert of Egypt.

Northwestern costal desert of Egypt is under pressure of human-induced changes due urban sprawl and agricultural practices leading to changes in land-use and negative impacts on existing natural habitats. Determining the impact of land-use changes on the natural habitats is important as it can have management and conservation implications within this region. Floristic Quality Assessment Index (FQAI) is an important bio-assessment tool that can be used to evaluate how these changes may influence vegetation quality, species composition and ecological integrity of plant communities in the region. The method is based on plant species composition at the study area and the individual species habitat affinity and disturbance tolerance. The objectives of this study were to: 1) study the changes in the natural habitats in the region due to developmental activities and land use change using Landsat remotely-sensed data, and 2) determine the relationship between the changes in land use and the floristic quality of the natural habitats over the period between 1984 and 2014. Stands representing the main six habitats in the study area were surveyed during 2011 through 2014 and data were compared to historic data collected before the developmental activities. The results revealed an increase in urban area and agriculture land cover over the study period, especially over the last ten years. A trend towards fragmentation of the natural habitats was detected particularly in the coastal dunes and the non-saline depression habitats. Index values were lower for areas close to agricultural or urban land use. The stands with lower FQAI values tended to be dominated by plants that are typical of cultivated landscapes or urban regions. Although FQAI has been developed and used in assessing vegetation quality of wetland plant communities, the current study revealed that it can be employed successfully for assessment and monitoring changes in vegetation quality and ecological integrity of different ecosystem types.


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1 - Alexandria University, Environmental Sciences, Moharram Bek, P.O. Box: 21511, Alexandria, 21511, Egypt

Keywords:
land use change
desert
human impact
biological indicator
Floristic Quality Assessment Index (FQAI).

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: 11004
Abstract ID:525
Candidate for Awards:None


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