Did you Know?
  • The Ghaf tree (Prosopis cineraria) is extremely drought resistant and its roots can go down to 30 metres, enabling it to reach the water table in the DDCR

Changes in functional diversity under grazing pressure in hyperarid shrubland ecosystem


To investigate the term Functional diversity “a variety of life-history traits presented by an assemblage of organisms” with regards to the vegetation diversity of DDCR. It has been postulated to be critical for the maintenance of ecosystem processes and properties.

The conceptual linkages between ecosystem disturbance, species diversity and functional diversity are fundamental to resource management and conservation planning.


To study the changes in intensity and timing of grazing and its effect on the changes in taxonomical and functional composition and subsequent changes in ecosystem functioning. These changes will explain the great interest in monitoring the impact of grazing on plant communities for the purpose of preserving their biodiversity and economic or aesthetic values.


  • Divide the reserve into three sectors (North, Centre and South)
  • In each area, randomly select 25 sites for each habitat types (Gravel Plains and Sand Dunes), 150 sites in total.
  • Build a matrix of different vegetation Functional traits for various monitoring times (2009 & 2017).
  • Choose 24 “Functional Traits” to study the effect of grazing on vegetation and measure the response diversity in DDCR ecosystem.
  • All attributes values will be recorded from published sources and herbarium information, except for the “plant heights” trait which will be measured in the field or collected from previous measured field studies.
  • Anova and Diversity indices will be applied.

Expected outcomes

  • A set of complete functional traits of DDCR
  • The change of the vegetation functional traits between different grazing pressures.
  • A prediction of which functional character are more resilient and less vulnerable to any disturbances.
  • Assessment of the changes in the diversity responses along a grazing gradient (the spatial variation of disturbance intensity)