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Mohamed Z. Hatim, Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation group | Environmental Sciences Department, Wageningen University, Wageningen, Netherlands; Faculty of Science - Botany and Microbiology Department, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt, John A. M. Janssen, Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra), Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen, Netherlands, Ricarda Pätsch, Wagner Ecology Lab, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, Kamal Shaltout, Faculty of Science, Botany and Microbiology Department, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt and Joop Schaminée, Centre for Ecosystem Studies, WUR - Alterra, 6700AA Wageningen, Netherlands
Mohamed Z. Hatim
Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation group | Environmental Sciences Department, Wageningen University Wageningen, Netherlands
Background/Question/Methods Although Sinai region is a global hotspot for desert vegetation, there is a lack of studies that provide a complete overview of its vegetation. We aim at giving a phytosociological overview of Sinai desert vegetation based on an extensive database and objective classification. We built a comprehensive database utilizing all available vegetation-plot data of the study area from published literature and own field surveys. We determined the database clustering tendency by a Hopkins’ test analysis and estimated its optimal number of clusters applying the Elbow method. We performed a cluster analysis using modified TWINSPAN and improved the outcome by applying Silhouette algorithms. We performed an NMDS. We draw distribution maps for each of the found vegetation types. Results/Conclusions Based on species composition, we distinguished 25 vegetation types representing four main vegetation groups: saline-inland, desert, mountainous, and ruderal vegetation. We found a high diversity in life forms, chorotypes, and alpha diversity of Sinai vegetation. Chamaephytes, hemicryptophytes and phanerophytes are the dominant life forms. Prevailing chorotypes are the Saharo-Arabian, Irano-Turanian, Mediterranean, and Sudanian. Sand flat and desert vegetation have the lowest mean species numbers. Mountainous vegetation are relatively species-rich. Vegetation on nutrient-rich soils have the highest mean species number.