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Vegetation change in response to grazing and water level decline in the Enot Zukim Nature Reserve (En Fescha), Israel

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Enot Zukim, an oasis on the shore of the Dead Sea, was originally prized for its diversity of herbaceous cover and meadow-like landscapes. It has been monitored for about 20 years during changes induced by removal of Bedouin grazing, accumulation of combustible biomass, subsequent wildfires, decline in water quality and quantity, invasion by Phragmites australis, reintroduction of grazing by donkeys to reduce the P. australis, and expansion of Tamarix sp. coverage. Monitored permanent plots failed to document the reduction in P. australis but did show the change in composition and decline of species diversity with Tamarix sp. expansion. Conservation management faces a dilemma at Enot Zukim: when grazing reduces the invasive P. australis coverage, it seems that Tamarix sp. increases in its place. We do not yet know an effective strategy to both reduce wildfires and control all major invasive plant species.

Affiliations: 1: Israel Nature and Parks Authority


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