Plant communities on the NE coast of Oman and their site conditions
König, Peter; Fried, Oliver
The coast of Oman harbours a set of mostly halophytic plant communities. The NE coastline from Muscat to Ras al-Hadd, comprising about 200 km, was chosen for a detailed analysis of the vegetation by means of edaphic parameters, a semi-quantitative transect technique and relevés based on the Braun-Blanquet method. Additionally, the relationship between photosynthetic pathway types and environmental factors was examined. Thus, complementary data on vegetation, environmental conditions and ecophysiology were comparatively evaluated. The main differentiating environmental factors causing the observed spatial patterns are salinity, water content and soil type. Sheltered lagoons are characterized by patchy mangrove vegetation with Avicennia marina. The supralittoral zone around lagoons exhibits extremely high salt contents and is home to the Halopeplis perfoliata community. Sand dunes are dominated by a Cyperus conglomeratus community, which is followed by a Heliotropium - Limonium community further onshore. The coastal plains outside the salt influence merge into open xeromorphic scrubland with Acacia species. Phytosociologically, the communities belong to the classes Avicennio-Sonneratietea, Halopeplido-Suaedetea and Acacietea tortilis. Altogether, 68 species were counted as contributing to the vegetation. Twenty of them are C4 species growing mainly on particularly dry and salty sites.