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Keywords:

  • Mediterranean semiarid streams;
  • plant restoration;
  • plant structure;
  • species frequency

Abstract

An evaluation was made of the development of two experimental plots where restoration of dominant riparian plant species was conducted in December 1991 along two semiarid Mediterranean summer-dry watercourses. An overall comparison was made of the vegetation structure, species cover, floral composition, and species richness of the plots restored using vegetation from nearby undisturbed plots along the same watercourse. The monitoring was performed in October 1993, October 1995, September 1997, and October 1999. In the restored zones previously rooted cuttings of the species most representative of these communities were planted, using the undisturbed zones as vegetation models. Climatological conditions (particularly the rainfall regime during the planting period) substantially favored the success of the planting establishment. The results show that a simple planting technique accompanied by monitoring during the first year is adequate to achieve success in establishment of planting species. It is necessary to take precautions against herbivory of small plants of Chamaerops humilis, Ficus carica, and Retama sphaerocarpa. The planting itself causes some disturbance in the soil that may alter the species composition, giving an advantage to ruderal species over others. More time is needed to attain coverage, frequency, and species composition comparable with that of undisturbed zones.