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Short-term effect of oil-mulch on vegetation dynamics; Integration of ecological and remote sensing-based approaches
Land Degradation & Development  (IF4.977),  Pub Date : 2021-10-27, DOI: 10.1002/ldr.4140
Noredin Rostami, Haji Karimi, Mohsen Tavakoli, Reza Omidipour

Wind erosion is one of the results of desertification and is among the natural processes that mostly occur under dry conditions and high wind velocity. Using oil-mulches is one of the common methods to stabilize sand dunes. The current study aimed to investigate the short-term effects of oil-mulch on vegetation attributes (i.e., cover and diversity) and rangeland condition score (RCS) using integrated ecological and remote sensing-based approaches in arid regions in southwestern Iran. A vegetation survey was carried out in 2019 in the oil-mulched and control area, and a remotely sensed vegetation index (MSAVI) was calculated for 2017 and 2019. The results indicate that 1 year after treatment, compared to the control area, vegetation cover (30 ± 17.11 vs. 17 ± 5.44%) and litter (4.6 ± 2.18 vs. 0.94 ± 1.55%) increased significantly in the oil-mulched area, while bare soil (65.20 ± 17.34 vs. 82.31 ± 5.84%) decreased. Further, diversity indices (species evenness, Shannon, and Simpson indices) declined by applying oil-mulch (88%, 63%, and 71%, respectively). The RCS was significantly higher in the oil-mulched area than in the control area (22 ± 1.86 vs. 12 ± 0.88; p < 0.001). Comparing MSAVI between 2017 and 2019 showed that vegetation cover increased 44.8%. Based on the results, it can be suggested that planting native palatable species in an oil-mulched area with the exclusion of livestock grazing is likely to increase the benefits of oil-mulch treatment and will lead to better rangeland condition score.