Functional Ecology Lab

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Disturbance and plant community in Central Anatolian steppe

Project title: Effects of disturbance on plant communities in Central Anatolian steppe. [Orta Anadolu bozkırındaki bitki komüniteleri üzerine müdahalenin etkisi]

Project leader: Çağatay Tavşanoğlu

Project personnel: Özlem Özüdoğru (MSc student), Barış Özüdoğru (PhD student)

Duration: 2012-2015

Financial support: Rufford Small Grants Foundation


Natural steppe ecosystem of Lalahan district, Ankara

Background: Anatolian steppe is of great importance in terms of biodiversity and for endemic plant and animal species, however, human activities such as agriculture and grazing drives natural steppe ecosystem under threat. Agricultural activities represent the most frequent disturbance by humans in Central Anatolian steppe, while grazing is also common throughout Central Anatolia. Ongoing socio-economic changes and population movements will possibly be resulted in the abandonment of agricultural fields in the region, leading to a succession process after field abandonment. Despite all these threats and problems over the Central Anatolian steppe plant communities, scientific research on the ecology of these ecosystems has rarely been done, and the lack of knowledge makes impossible to give conservation decisions in a proper way.

Aims: We aimed to investigate the effects of artificial disturbances on plant community composition and structure in Central Anatolian steppe ecosystems.

Study area: Lalahan district of Ankara, central Anatolia, Turkey. The area has a remaining natural steppe vegetation surrounded by agricultural fields.

Application- -cut-disturbance

Application of cut disturbance

Methods: Permanent 1×1 m quadrates; applying cut and spud disturbances; determination of plant species composition, plant cover, and plant biomass; creating conservation outputs for students in a local high school.

Early results: The first results indicate that artificial disturbance affects Central Anatolian steppe (CAS) vegetation severely in short term. In mid-term, especially in quadrates of cut disturbance, recovery can be achieved by resprouter species and colonizer annuals. The severe affects of spud disturbance can still be observed even after 2 years of application.


Özüdoğru, Ö., Özüdoğru, B., Tavşanoğlu, Ç. (2014) Yapay müdahalelerin İç Anadolu Bozkırında bitki tür zenginliği ve tür bileşimi üzerine etkisi [Effects of artifical disturbances on plant species composition and richness in Central Anatolian steppe]. 22. Ulusal Biyoloji Kongresi Bildiri Özet Kitabı, 23-27 Haziran, Eskişehir.

Özüdoğru, Ö., Özüdoğru, B., Tavşanoğlu, Ç. (2013) Effects of disturbance on plant communities of central Anatolian steppe: the early results. In: Abstract Book of Plant Life of South West Asia – 8. 1-5 July 2013, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, UK. (poster presentation)