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Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2009)

Community ecology in an afforested Mediterranean ecosystem : consequences for conservation

Manor, Regev

Titre : Community ecology in an afforested Mediterranean ecosystem : consequences for conservation

Auteur : Manor, Regev

Université de soutenance : Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy 2009

Résumé partiel
he general motivation behind my Ph.D. research was to show that we can rely on existing ecological theories (mainly in community ecology), when collecting data regarding ecological interactions, in order to assess human impacts and develop practical management tools to reduce the negative effects of these impacts in a given habitat. Specifically, my thesis addresses 3 interconnected subjects : 1. Consequences of homogenization in terms of community. One example of landscapehomogenizing is the establishment of plantations. I studied the effect of planted forests by contrasting plant and small-mammal community composition between planted tree stands and adjacent natural habitat in two different Mediterranean habitats in Israel : (1) inland habitat where I focused on pine (Pinus halepensis) and carob (Ceratonia siliqua) stands, and (2) coastal sand dune habitat where I focused on planted acacia (Acacia saligna) stands. I first wanted to verify whether planted trees modify plant species composition, and second, if and how the small-mammal community is affected by the different habitat conditions created in plantations with different canopy cover. I was especially interested in the abundance of the commensal house mouse (Mus musculus). All tree stands underwent biotic homogenization indicated by abundance of house mice coupled with lower diversity of indigenous vegetation and smallmammal abundances and diversities. Habitat structural diversity was positively related with small-mammals diversity and was lower in artificial tree stands in both habitats. My results suggest that using the abundance of a commensal generalist species such as the house mouse relative to other more specialist small-mammals is a good approach to determine ecosystem integrity. Precommercial thinning treatment is a potential management tool to maintain a proportion of native tree species within the canopy of planted tree stands. However, until sufficient data are available for making generalizations, the exact level of thinning necessary to reverse the homogenization processes in man-made plantations and keeping indigenous smallmammal communities diverse and less prone to invasion must be determined empirically.

Mots Clés : Afforestation — Israel. — Biotic communities — Israel — Case studies. — Environmental indicators. — Indicators (Biology)

Présentation : BGU

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Page publiée le 10 janvier 2012, mise à jour le 21 novembre 2018