Relationship between landscape features and species diversity and functional diversity of semi-steppe rangeland

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD student in Rangeland Science, Faculty of Natural Resources and Earth Sciences, Shahrekord University

2 Associate Prof. Department of Range and Watershed Management, Faculties of Natural Resources and Earth science, Shahrekord University, Shahrekord, Iran.

3 Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resources, Islamic Azad University, Noor Branch

4 PhD of Range and Watershed Management, Faculties of Natural Resource and Earth Science, Shahrekord University, Shahrekord


Ecological processes at different scales led to heterogeneity in the landscape by changing the pattern of the landscape structure. These would result in fragmentation and disintegration of landscape structures and filtering biodiversity characteristics such as species functional diversity. We performed this study to quantify the patches and classes characteristics of the landscape (metrics) and their impact on indicators of species and functional diversity. Sampling was performed in a semi-steppe rangelands of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, where the natural structure of the landscape creates various patches such that classified in seven different classes of plant communities. In each class, different patches were randomly selected and within them 5 to 10 macroplots of 30 * 30 m were randomly-systematically established. Afterwards, 3 plots of 2 * 2 m2 installed in macroplots in order to sample canopy cover and number of species. Taxonomic, functional diversity and functional beta diversity indices were measured using "Vegan", "FD" and "betapart" statistical packages in R software, respectively. The landscape metrics were also measured using Fragstats software. Finally, the relationships between diversity indices and landscape metrics were analyzed using linear regression. The results at the patch level showed a significant negative relationship between the shape and functional diversity indices such as leaf nitrogen weight average and leaf specific surface area weight average. The results at the class level indicate the positive effect of the functional evenness index on the edge density metric as well as the functional beta diversity of the patch richness metric.


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Volume 74, Issue 4
March 2022
Pages 799-820
  • Receive Date: 08 August 2021
  • Revise Date: 07 February 2022
  • Accept Date: 08 February 2022
  • First Publish Date: 20 February 2022