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Original Article

The Ecological Factors Effecting the Distribution of Artemisia melanolepis Boiss. in Southeast of Sabalan Mt., Iran



Artemisia melanolepis Boiss. is an endemic, rare and endangered species inhabiting high altitudes at Sabalan Mt., Iran. This study aimed to identify the effect of environmental variables on the distribution of A. melanolepis, in southeast faced slopes of Sabalan Mt., Iran, in 2016. In the habitats of A. melanolepis two sites (A and B) were selected with almost the same ecological conditions in the presence and absence of this species. In each site, five 100m transects using the random- systematically method were established. Land covers, canopy cover, density, litter (Lit), bare soil (BS), stone and gravel (SG) were recorded in 10 plots (each one square meter along each transect). Thirty-six soil samples were collected from 0-15cm depth (depth of root activates/ three samples from each transect). Soil texture (percent of clay, sand and silt), organic materials (OM), particulate organic matter (POM), water dispersible clay (WDC), potassium (K), phosphorous (P), acidity (pH) and electrical conductivity (EC) were measured at the lab. Elevation, slope, aspect, and mean annual precipitation and temperature for each plot was calculated. The cluster analysis, one-way ANOVA and canonical discriminate analyses (CDA) were used for data analyses. The cluster analysis based on the presence and absence of species, separated each groups of A and B into two subgroups. There were significant differences between clusters using multivariate analysis of variance (p <0.01). Results showed that high density of A. melanolepis was related to increasing OM, POM, WDC, P, elevation and decreasing sand, pH and slope. Results of CDA showed that A. melanolepis distribution was more influenced by aspect, Tem, pH, POM, OM, silt, sand, P, slope, Lit, total canopy cover, SG, BS, elevation, WDC, EC and K in the selected sites. These results can be used in protecting and restoration of this species.

Graphical Abstract