Ecogeomorphic Feedbacks in Semiarid Rangelands: A Review

I. STAVI, H. LAVEE, E. D. UNGAR, P. SARAH

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

Abstract: The ecogeomorphic processes occurring on semiarid rangelands are reviewed, with emphasis on the source-sink relations and positive feedback loops that existed between shrub patches and intershrub areas, and the way livestock presence affected these interactions. Compared with intershrub areas, the shrub patches had a higher soil porosity, infiltration capacity, water-holding capacity, hydraulic conductivity, structural stability, and organic matter content, and lower bulk density. These differences derived from a host of processes whose intensity was less in the shrub patches, including raindrop impact, mechanical crust formation, overland water flow, soil erosion, evaporative moisture loss, and flock trampling. There was also greater shading of the soil surface; soil and litter deposition; water accumulation; microbial, fungal, and mesofaunal activities in the shrub patches. The overland flow of water carried soil and litter from the intershrub areas to the shrub patches and resulted in microtopographic modifications that tended to strengthen these source-sink relations. Grazing had an impact on these processes, not only at the shrub-intershrub scale but also within the intershrub areas, through the creation of highly compacted trampling routes. The combined role of the above ecogeomorphic processes was to maintain the rangeland's functionality. Without these inter-relationships, water loss, soil erosion, and nutrient depletion would occur at the hillside scale, causing degradation of the landscape.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-229
Number of pages13
JournalPedosphere
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2009

Keywords

  • intershrub areas
  • shrubs
  • soil resources
  • trampling routes

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Ecogeomorphic Feedbacks in Semiarid Rangelands: A Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this