Phytosociological study of Ghurfa desert, central Iraq
Batanouny, K. H.; Hilli, M. R.
The area surveyed is a part of Ghurfa-Adhaim desert, a district of the desert plateau region in Iraq. It is a semi-desert territory with rather denser vegetation than other parts of the Ghurfa desert due to restriction of grazing in the studied area. The study revealed the presence of 14 plant communities defined by the dominant species. The distribution of these communities has been found to be greatly affected by the physiography and the physical soil properties, especially soil depth and texture. The modification of the plant cover proceeds in coincidence with that of the soil thickness. In soils having nearly the same depth, the soil texture affects the plant cover. A slight fall of few centimetres in the ground level below that of the surrounding area leads to a notable change in the kind of species and the plant cover. There is an allogenic succession among the different communities which is closely related to the building up of soil and the water resources. A scheme was suggested for the relation among the communities as regards the depth and texture of soils supporting the different communities. The major effect of soil depth and texture on the distribution of plant communities in desert areas is mainly referred to their influence on the soil-plant-water relationships, which are important factors affecting the plant life in these areas.