September 2017

Arenaria libanotica – a new plant for Israel and Mt. Hermon

Ori Fragman-Sapir, Scientific director of the University Botanical Garden, Jerusalem. 
Shauli Beckerman, amateur botanist and field person. 
Shimon Cohen-Sivan, amateur botanist, and expert of close-up photography. nycthantes@gmail. com

Keywords: Lebanon, Mizpeh Shlagim cliff, Caryophyllaceae, cliff plants

A population of an unidentified Aernaria species was found on the Mizpeh Shlagim cliff on Mt. Hermon in 2009.  Following an observation of several years, and an examination in the literature and herbaria, the plant was identified as Arenaria libanotica Kotschy of the Caryophyllaceae family. The plant is not only new to Israel, but to the whole Hermon ridge.  The article provides a description of the plant, its distribution and ecology.  Since the plants on the Mizpeh Shlagim cliff are slightly different from the description of the species in the Floras, the article discusses the question whether this population might belong to a new subspecies, or even a new species.

Full Hebrew version

The effect of cattle grazing in the Mediterranean forest in the Har Meron Nature Reserve on the herbaceous flora in forest clearings

Talia Oron, 
Renana Lavi,

Keywords: Upper Galilee, biodiversity, species diversity, Simpson index, Shannon index, management, species richness, functional group, nature conservation

The effect of cattle grazing on herbaceous species that grow in Mediterranean forest clearings in the Har Meron Reserve was examined in the years 2015 and 2016. Eighteen plots in four mountain extensions were surveyed: nine with cattle grazing (Neria and Rabatya) and nine without grazing (Zabed and Ofa'im).  One-time sampling was used, and carried out in accordance with the step-point method.  In the two seasons the  species richness was clearly higher in the sites without grazing compared to the sites with grazing. In 2015 the species diversity (Simpson and Shannon indices) was clearly higher in the site without grazing compared to the site with grazing. In 2016 it was found that the diversity indices were clearly higher in the site with summer-autumn grazing, compared to the site with winter-spring grazing. The biodiversity (according to the similarity index) was significantly different between the two types of interface. In the plots without grazing a high rate of unique species was found, that were not present in the plots with grazing. In the analysis of the frequency of functional groups of plants, clear differences were found  between the management regimes: in 2016 the frequency of broad-leaved plants was much higher in the plots with grazing, and the frequency of  annual Graminae was higher in plots without grazing.  On the basis of the results it is recommended to reduce the grazing pressure in the Nature Reserve, and limit it to the dry months of the year.

Full Hebrew version


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