Vegetation Diversity in Lowland Rangeland of Hyrcanian Vegetation Zone and Its Relationship with Soil Properties (Case Study: Behshahr, Mazandaran Province)

Document Type : Original Articles


1 Former Msc Student of Rangeland management, Department of Rangeland management, Faculty of Natural Resources, Sari Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources University

2 Associate Professor, Department of Rangeland management, Faculty of Natural Resources, Sari Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources University

3 Professor, Department of Rangeland management, Faculty of Natural Resources, Sari Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources University

4 Instructor, Department of Rangeland management, Faculty of Natural Resources, Sari Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources University


Environmental factors particularly soil properties influence the species composition and vegetation diversity in rangelands. Soil in some parts of lowland areain Mazandaran province is saline. This made some limitations for establishment of vegetation. In this study the relationship between vegetation and soil properties were assessed in lowland rangeland of Hyrcanian zone in the city of Behshahr, Mazandaran Province. Vegetation was sampled along transects with 100 m length using 1 m2plots. Cluster analysis showed six vegetation types. ANOVA results indicated that greater values of species richness and diversity indices were found in Artemisia sieberi-Medicago rigidulaand Halocnemum strobilaceum-Juncus maritimus. Results from RDA analysis showed that salinity, soil texture and soil moisture are main drivers of vegetation distribution in this area. An increase in EC,CaCo3andsilt was associated with the establishment of Salicornia europaea-Spergularia marinaand Halocnemum strobilaceum-Juncus maritimus. Aeluropus littoralisand Hordeum marinum-Plantago psylliumwere found where soil had lower EC but higher moisture, Organic carbon and clay. A reduction in soil EC and soil moisture was the favorite of Artemisia sieberi-Medicagorigidulaand Juncus maritimus.


  1. Mesdaghi M. Plant ecology. Mashhad university press; 2005. p. 154 [In Persian
  2. Begon M, Harper J L, Townsend C R. Ecology: individuals, populations and communities. Blackwell Scientific. England;1996
  3. Holechek JL, Pieper RD, Herbal CH. Range management: principles and practices. 6th editions. Prentice Hall; 2010. p. 456.
  4. Klironomos JN. Feedback with soil biota contributes to plant rarity and invasiveness in communities. Nature;2002; 417: 67–70.
  5. Barzegar AR. Saline soils: understanding and productivity. University of Chamran. Ahvaz Press;2008. p.280.[In Persian]
  6. Jafari M, Tavili A. Reclamation of arid lands. University of Tehran press;2010; p. 396.[In Persian]
  7. Safaeian N, Shokri M, Zia Tabar Ahmadi MKH. Position of Miankale reserve in bio geographic classification of the world. Journal of Environmental Studies; 2004b;36: 77-88. [In Persian]
  8. terBraak CJF. Prentice I C. A theory of gradient analysis. Advances in Ecological Research; 1988; 18: 271–317.
  9. Jafari M, Tahmores M, Malekian A. Soil management. University of Tehran press; 2009;[In Persian]
  10. Mokhtari Asl A, Mesdaghi M, Sadeghi manesh M R. Factors affecting establishment and distribution of four halophytic species in Eastern Azarbayjan-Marand Gherkhelar rangelands. Journal of Range Management; 2008; 2: 116-127. [In Persian]
  11. Safaeian N, Shokri M, Jabbarian B. Ecological vulnerability of ecosystem on the southern coast of Caspian sea. Journal of Environmental Studies;1998; 29: 45-50. [In Persian]
  12. Safaeian N, Shokri M, Jabbarian B. Environmental impact assessment of development in the southern coast of the Caspian sea (Northern Iran). Polish Journal of Environmental Studies; 2004a; 13 (3):319-323. [In Persian]
  13. Safaeian N, Shokri M. Primary survey of applied ecology in Miankale. Pajouhesh & Sazandegi; 1995; 26: 68-73. [In Persian]
  14. Baybouridi M, Kohestani A. Water and soil. University of Tehran Press;1989. p. 630.[In Persian]
  15. Heshmati G H. Multivariate analysis of environmental factors effects on establishment and expansion of rangeland plants. Iranian Journal of Natural Research; 2003; 56 ( 3): 309-321. [In Persian]
  16. Jafari Haghighi M. Methods of soil analysis, sampling and analysis of physical and chemical principles with emphasis on theorical and practical. Nedaye Zoha press; 2003; p. 236.[In Persian]
  17. Zarin Kafsh M. Applied soil science: morphology and quantitative analysis of soil, water and plant. University of Tehran press; 1993. p. 125. [In Persian]
  18. Ghazan Shahi J. Analysis of soil and plant. Aeezh Press; 2006. p. 311[In Persian]
  19. McCune B, Mefford M J. PC-ORD for windows. Multivariate analysis of ecological data. USA;1999.
  20. Amozgar L. Study on potential of seed bank formation and its relationship with above-ground vegetation in lowland in Behshar county, Mazandaran province. Msc thesis. Sari Agricultural and Natural Resources University. Sari. 2012; 149.[In Persian]
  21. Hosseini SA, Shahmoradi A, Abarsaji G H. An investigation on the presence form of Halocnemum strobilaceum in saline and alkaline rangelands of Northern Golestan Province. Iranian Journal of Range and Desert Research; 2007; 14 (2): 111-123. [In Persian]
  22. Ghaderi S H, Ghorbani J, Jafarian Z, Shokri M. Identification of halophytic communities and their relationship with soil properties in rangelands of SorkhDeh in Damghan. Arid Biom Journal; 2010; 1 (1): 45-56. [In Persian]
  23. Jafari M, Zare Chahouki MA, Tavili A, Kohandel A. Soil-vegetation relationships in rangelands of Qom province. Pajouhesh & Sazandegi; 2006; 73: 110-116. [In Persian]
  24. Gandomkar Ghalhari A, Mesdaghi M. Survey of relationship between water level, soil salinity and vegetation type in Mighan desert of Arak. Iranian Journal of Range and Desert Research; 2002; 1:1-13. [In Persian]
  25. Mahmodi S, Hakymian M. Fundamental of soil science. University of Tehran press; 2007. p. 700.[In Persian]
  26. Wichern J, Wichern F, Joergensen R G. Impact of salinity on soil microbial communities and the decomposition of maize in acidic soils. Geoderma; 2006;137 (1,2): 100-108.
  27. Malik AI, Parker J, Colmer TD. Tolerance of Hordeum marinum accessions to O2 deficiency, salinity and these stresses combined. Annals of Botany;2009; 103: 237-248.
  28. Wei Y, Guang min X, Daying Z, Huimin C. Transfer of salt tolerance from Aeluropus littoralis sinensis to wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) via asymmetric somatic hybridization. Plant Science;2010; 161: 259-266.
  29. Aghaee, M. Effect of the most important edafic factors on habitat distribution of Aeluropus littoralis in eastern coastline of Caspian sea. Msc thesis. Sari Agricultural and Natural Resources University;2010. p. 81.[In Persian]
  30. Abarsaji G H. Evaluation of Aeluropus spp. habitats in saline and alkaline rangeland of north of Gorgan. Msc thesis. Agricultural and Natural Resources University of Gorgan; 1996. p. 90.[In Persian]
  31. Matin M, Saeedfar M. Effect of soil salinity and water table depth on the establishment of certain halophyte plants.2th National conference of desertification and desertification methods. Research Institute of Forests and Rangelands Press; 1996 [In Persian]
  32. Qiang L I, Xiao-Jung W L, Ajmal Khan M, Bilquees G. Relationship between soil characteristics and halophytic vegetation in coastal region of north china. Pakistan Journal of Botany; 2008; 40(3): 1081-1090.
  33. Azarnivand H, Jafari M, Moghadam M R, Jalili A, Zare Chahouki M A. The effects of soil characteristics and elevation on distribution of two Artemisia species (Case study: Vard Avard, Garmsar and Semnan rangelands). Iranian Journal of Natural Resources; 2003; 56 (1,2):93-100. [In Persian]
  34. Yousefi M, Tavili A, Jafari M, Zare Chahouki M A. Relationships between dominant species and soil chemical properties in Garmsar region. Pajouhesh & Sazandegi; 2008;80: 162-168. [In Persian]
  35. Ehsani A. Reviewing the role and relation between soil geomorphology and vegetation cover in Behshahr water basin. Pajouhesh & Sazandegi; 2003; 60: 90-102. [In Persian]