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Plant Sociology numero 54 (2) S1

pag. 43-50: Anthropogenic impacts on riparian trees and shrubs in an eastern Mediterranean stream

J. Stephan, D. Issa

Lebanese University, Faculty of Science II, Department of Life and Earth Sciences, Fanar, Lebanon.

doi: 10.7338/pls2017542S1/04

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abstract

This study contributes in listing and understanding the distribution of riparian species according to environmental and anthropogenic factors, recognizing the impact of these factors on biodiversity and tree growth and conducting an easy method for the assessment of habitat quality in a typical riparian ecosystem in the Eastern Mediterranean Basin. The methodology involved field assessment and the evaluation of riparian habitat quality by giving scores to different criteria, composing the habitat quality index. The results showed that river channel deviation is the most significant factor affecting riparian habitat quality. Non disturbed sites have significant higher scores, yet they are not classified as in natural conditions due to the effect of intrinsic environmental factors on habitat quality, namely bioclimatic conditions and river flow regime. An increase of biodiversity was recorded when habitat quality improved. Higher riparian habitat quality resulted in the presence of old growth trees, and climax species. This study allowed us to assess the requirements of major riparian species in terms of habitat quality, and to classify them based on their functional adaptation, in order to adopt appropriate ecosystem restoration and conservation plans.

keywords

anthropogenic impact, habitat quality index, Lebanon, riparian trees and shrubs