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Title: The roles of exotic and native tree species in preventing desertification and enhancing degraded land restoration in the north east of Libya : reciprocal effects of environmental factors and plantation forestry on each other, assessed by observations on growth and reproductive success of relevant tree species, and environmental factors analysed using multivariate statistics
Author: Zatout, Masoud Moustafa Mohamed
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 4214
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2011
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Today's arid and semi-arid zones of the Mediterranean are affected by desertification, resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities such as overcultivation, overgrazing and deforestation. Afforestation programs are one of the most effective means in preventing desertification. For many years Libya has had afforestation programs in order to restore degraded land and in response to rapid desert encroachment in the north east of Libya, in the area called the Jabal Akhdar (Green Mountain), which has been investigated in this study. The purpose of this research was to investigate the relative roles of exotic compared to native tree species in preventing desertification and enhancing degraded land restoration in the Jabal Akhdar. The effect of environmental factors on exotic compared to native tree species have been assessed by observations on growth and reproductive success of the species, including variables of stocking rate, trunk diameter, tree height, crown diameter, tree coverage, natural mortality, felling and seedling regeneration, as well as calculated variables, derived from these measurements. The effects of methods and age of afforestation on the promotion of biological diversity have been investigated using the Shannon-Wiener diversity index. The effects of tree species on soil depth have also been investigated. Multivariate statistical analyses of site, species and environmental data, using both cluster analyses and factor analyses have been performed, with the aim of determining what is influencing the species, crops or differentiating between the sites, based on soil depth, angle of slope, altitude, rainfall and air temperature values. Pinus halepensis showed success in its growth and regeneration, particularly at higher altitudes and steeper slopes. Cupressus sempervirens was successful in growth and regeneration in the mountains. The exotic Eucalyptus gomphocephala was very successful in its growth, but did not regenerate well, while the exotic Acacia cyanophylla trees had a failure of both growth and regeneration. E. gomphocephala species appeared to favour relativley the flatter (non-mountain) sites, while A. Cyanophylla appeared to favour relativly the mountain sites. All the species responded positively to greater rainfall and deep soil, but they differed in where they were most likely to be successful. Environmental factors such as climate, terrain and soil are the main determinants of species distribution in the study area, in addition to their impact on the growth of the main trees. There appeared not to be any relationship between biodiversity and whether the main trees were native or exotic, and only P. halepensis showed any negative effect on the abundance of shrubs. There was greater diversity of trees and shrubs generally at the younger sites than the old sites. The present study emphasises the current mismanagement of planted forests, particularly with overgrazing contributing to desertification, through preventing tree growth and eliminating most sapling regeneration. This study concludes by making recommendations for more effective choice of tree species to plant, and for subsequent management to improve afforestation programmes in the Jabal Akhdar area.
Supervisor: Hale, William H. G. Sponsor: Libyan Higher Education Ministry
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Afforestation ; Desertification ; Exotic species ; Factor analyses ; Land degradation ; Libya ; Multivariate analyses ; Native species ; Plantation forests ; Jabal Akhdar region