Classification and distribution patterns of plant communities on Socotra Island, Yemen

Michele De Sanctis, Achmed Adeeb, Alessio Farcomeni, Chiara Patriarca, Achmed Saed, Fabio Attorre

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Question: What are the main plant communities and vegetation zones on Socotra Island in relation to climatic, geological and topographic factors? Location: Socotra Island (Yemen). Methods: A total of 318 relevés were sampled along an altitudinal gradient. Floristic and environmental (topographic, geological and climatic) data were collected and analysed using numerical classification and NDMS ordination; an analysis of the correlation between plant communities and environmental factors was also performed. Results: Eight types of woody vegetation, seven of shrubs, six of herbaceous and seven of halophytic vegetation were identified. Ordination revealed the importance of altitudinal and climatic gradients, as well as of geological substrata. Conclusions: Four vegetation zones were identified. The first three are located in the arid region with altitude ranging from 0 to 1000 m and the fourth in the semi-arid region from 1000 to 1500 m a.s.l. Specifically they are: (1) an arid coastal plain mainly located on an alluvial substratum between 0 and 200 m, characterized by shrubland and grassland communities; (2) a transition zone from 200 to 400 m, between the alluvial substratum and the upper limestone area; (3) an arid limestone zone between 400 and 1000 m, interspersed with hills and plateaus; and (4) a semi-arid upper zone of the Haghier Mountains from 1000 to 1500 m on a granitic substratum. Socotra Island (Yemen) hosts an extraordinary heritage of endemic plant species that have originated from adaptive radiation processes or phyletic evolution from Paleo-African, African-mesic and mesic-tropical Asian taxa. The first comprehensive phytosociological analysis of the plant communities and vegetation zones of the Island and their relationships with environmental factors including geological features and altitudinal and climatic gradients is presented. © 2012 International Association for Vegetation Science.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148 - 165
Number of pages18
JournalApplied Vegetation Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Ecology

Cite this

De Sanctis, M., Adeeb, A., Farcomeni, A., Patriarca, C., Saed, A., & Attorre, F. (2013). Classification and distribution patterns of plant communities on Socotra Island, Yemen. Applied Vegetation Science, 16(1), 148 - 165.