Revue : Hydrobiologia
Vegetation of Mediterranean temporary pools: a fading jewel?
RHAZI L., GRILLAS P., SABER E.R., RHAZI M., BRENDONCK L. & WATERKEYN A.
Although Mediterranean temporary pools are of great value for conservation, they are in rapid decline under the impact of various forms of anthropogenic pressure. Their disappearance from the landscape may result in a weakening of the biological connections between pools due to increasing isolation and the impoverishment of their communities. In Western Morocco (province of Benslimane), temporary pools have undergone severe regression over the past decades. The quantification of these losses and the impact on the richness of plant communities remain, however, unstudied. Since this is of vital importance for the conservation of the biodiversity of these habitats, a study has been undertaken associating (1) an assessment of the pool losses (both in density and surface area) between 1955 and 2001 using remote sensing, (2) surveys of vegetation and water depth (in 2006) in 48 pools, and (3) an assessment of the density and surface area of pools occurring within a 3 km radius around each of the sampled pools. The results show a loss of 23% in number and 61% in surface area of pools in the province over a period of 47 years. This decline, promoted by their small size and shallowness, is probably related to socio-economic changes (intensification of agricultural practices and population growth). The richness in characteristic and rare species of the pools was related to both local (water depth) and regional features (land use, pool density and total water surface area in the surrounding landscape). The significant impact of the current density of pools and their total surface area on the conservation value of the studied pools suggests a weakening of the metacommunity dynamics between pools.
Référence complète bibliographique :
RHAZI L., GRILLAS P., SABER E.R., RHAZI M., BRENDONCK L. & WATERKEYN A., 2011. Vegetation of Mediterranean temporary pools: a fading jewel? Hydrobiologia online first