- Journal Article
Cloud forests usually grow in the moist tropics where water is not a limiting factor to plant growth. Here, for the first time, we describe the hydrology of a water limited seasonal cloud forest in the Dhofar mountains of Oman. This ecosystem is under significant stress from camels feeding on tree canopies. The Dhofar forests are the remnants of a moist vegetation belt, which once spread across the Arabian Peninsula. According to our investigation the process of cloud immersion during the summer season creates within this desert a niche for moist woodland vegetation. Woodland vegetation survives in this ecosystem, sustained through enhanced capture of cloud water by their canopies (horizontal precipitation). Degraded land lacks this additional water source, which inhibits re-establishment of trees. Our modeling results suggest that cattle feeding may lead to irreversible destruction of one of the most diverse ecosystems in Arabia.
© 2006 American Geophysical Union