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Original Article

The Impact of Human Traffic on Vegetation Characteristics and Species Diversity in Vicinity of the Almagol Wetland in Northern Iran



Despite its ecological importance, the wetland edge vegetation could be strongly affected by human factors e.g. heavy traffic. In order to investigate the impact of human traffic on vegetation characteristics and plant diversity, a research was conducted at the edge of Almagol wetland in the northern Iran in 2021. The assessment was carried out through a reference area (affected by human traffic) and a control area (without human traffic). Sampling was done using a transect-plot method, and vegetation characteristics and diversity indicators were investigated. The results showed that the plant cover, and plant height had lower values in the reference area than to the control (P<0.01). Excluding the freshness of perennial species, the factors of height, density and biomass of grass and non-grass species, annual and perennial species showed a significant difference compared to the control area. The average biomass production in the reference and control area was 98 and 264 kg/ha, respectively. Also, in the reference area, the diversity indices of Margalef and Shannon were 3.9 and 1.6, respectively while in the control area, the values were 4.9 and 2.45, respectively. In general, the long-term effects of human traffic in this area had significantly changed both the floristic characteristics and vegetation performance so that some plants have severely degraded.