Plant Diversity ›› 2018, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (05): 217-225.doi: 10.1016/j.pld.2018.06.004

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Diversity of desert rangelands of Tunisia

Mouldi Gamoun, Azaiez Ouled Belgacem, Mounir Louhaichi   

  1. International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas(ICARDA)
  • Received:2018-02-15 Online:2018-10-25 Published:2018-11-07
  • Contact: Mouldi Gamoun E-mail:m.gamoun@cgiar.org
  • Supported by:

    This work was supported by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), the Arid Regions Institute (IRA e Medenine, Tunisia) and the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock (CRP Livestock).

Abstract:

Plants are important components of any rangeland. However, the importance of desert rangeland plant diversity has often been underestimated. It has been argued that desert rangelands of Tunisia in good ecological condition provide more services than those in poor ecological condition. This is because rangelands in good condition support a more diverse mixture of vegetation with many benefits, such as forage for livestock and medicinal plants.
Nearly one-quarter of Tunisia, covering about 5.5 million hectares, are rangelands, of which 87% are located in the arid and desert areas (45% and 42%, respectively). Here, we provide a brief review of the floristic richness of desert rangelands of Tunisia. Approximately 135 species are specific to desert rangelands. The predominant families are Asteraceae, Poaceae, Brassicaceae, Chenopodiaceae, and Fabaceae. These represent approximately 50% of Tunisian desert flora.

Key words: Vegetation, Dryland, Species richness