Did you Know?
  • Feeding on shrubs, the Spiny-tailed Lizard never drinks water and is capable of changing colour with body temperature, turning from black to white or yellow as the lizard warms up

Effects of camel grazing on the density and species diversity of
the seedling emergence in the Dubai (UAE) inland desert

D.J. Gallacher & J.P. Hill
Zayed University, POB 19282 Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Germination in the arid rangelands of the UAE occurs as an 'event' following a mid-winter to spring rainfall. A fence line study of the germination events was conducted in 2005 and 2006 to identify the response to differential grazing regimes. Fifty-six 1m² seedling plots were destructively sampled each season. Heavy grazing reduced species richness and diversity without significantly reducing seedling density. Both annual and perennial species were impacted, though the reduction in richness of the annual species was less pronounced than the natural variation among locations. Direct grazing of seedlings is limited to a few weeks, due to the short annual plant life span. Reduction of the perennial seedling density and species richness was likely caused by the reduced size of adults plants under grazing. Recruitment of perennial species could be affected by heavy grazing, leading to loss of habitat, though under moderate grazing levels this could easily be compensated by greater survival.