Bayesian Estimation of Shrubs Diversity in Rangelands under Two Management Systems in Northern Syria


The diversity of shrubs in rangelands of northern Syria is affected by the grazing management systems restricted by the increase in human and livestock populations. To describe and estimate diversity and compare the rangeland grazing management treatments, two popular indices for diversity, the Shannon index and the Simpson index, were studied for the four combinations of two sites, Hammam and Obeisan, and two grazing methods, Closed and Open, using frequentist and Bayesian approaches. We simulated the a priori and a-posteriori distributions of the Shannon and Simpson diversity indices, where from a range of values for a constant in the a priori distribution the best value normalizing the distribution of the diversity indices was chosen. The Bayesian diversity estimates were higher than their frequentist counterparts and had lower standard errors. The grazing methods at each site and sites under each grazing method delivered significant diversity of shrub species. The Bayesian estimates resulted in lower p-values than the frequentist approach for two cases reflecting in Bayesian methods higher power. Bayesian approach is recommended as it has a wider framework for inference on diversity studies.

Share and Cite:

Niane, A. , Singh, M. and Struik, P. (2014) Bayesian Estimation of Shrubs Diversity in Rangelands under Two Management Systems in Northern Syria. Open Journal of Ecology, 4, 168-173. doi: 10.4236/oje.2014.44017.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Le Houerou, H.N. (1981) Impact of Man and His Animals on Mediterranean Vegetation. Ecosystems of the world. Mediterranean-Type Ecosystems. Elsevier Scientific Co., Amsterdam, 479-517.
[2] Gamoun, M., Tarhouni, M. and Belgacem, A.O. (2011) Arid Land Research and Management Response of Different Arid Rangelands to Protection and Drought Response of Different Arid Rangelands to Protection and Drought. Arid Land Research and Management, 25, 372-378.
[3] Cesa, A. and Paruelo, J.M. (2011) Changes in Vegetation Structure Induced by Domestic Grazing in Patagonia (Southern Argentina). Journal of Arid Environments, 75, 1129-1135.
[4] Morris, L.R., Monaco, T.A. and Sheley, R.L. (2011) Land-Use Legacies and Vegetation Recovery 90 Years after Cultivation in Great Basin Sagebrush Ecosystems. Rangeland Ecology and Management, 64, 488-497.
[5] Sanlaville, P. (2003) Environment and Development. In: Mundy, M. and Musallam, B., Eds., The Transformation of Nomadic Society in the Arab East, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 876-877.
[6] Gallacher, D. and Hill, J. (2006) Effects of Camel Grazing on the Ecology of Small Perennial Plants in the Dubai (UAE) Inland Desert. Journal of Arid Environments, 66, 738-750.
[7] Nooralhamad, M. (2006) Ecological and Species Diversity of arid Mediterranean Grazing Land Vegetation. Journal of Arid Environments, 66, 698-715.
[8] Mourad, N. (2000) A Study on the Syrian Steppe and Forage Shrubs. In: Gintzburger, G., Bounejmate, M. and Nefzaoui, A., Eds., Fodder Shrub Development in Arid and Semi-arid Zones, Vol. 1, ICARDA, Aleppo, 109-121.
[9] Anon. (2006) A Report of a Case Study on Rangeland Rehabilitation and Establishment of a Wildlife Resource in Sustainable Rangeland Management in Al Badia Region by FAO and Syrian Ministry of Agricuture and Agrarian Reforms (MAAR), 58 Pages.
[10] Traba, J., Levassor, C. and Peco, B. (2003) Restoration of Species Richness in Abandoned Mediterranean Grasslands. Seeds in cattle Dung. Restoration Ecology, 11, 378-384.
[11] Nicol, J., Muston, S., D’Santos, P., McCarthy, B. and Zukowski, S. (2007) Impact of Sheep Grazing on the Soil Seed Bank of a Managed Ephemeral Wetland: Implications for Management. Australian Journal of Botany, 55, 103.
[12] Gulden, R.H. and Shirtliffe, S.J. (2009) Weed Seed Banks: Biology and Management. Prairie Soils and Crops, 2, 46-52.
[13] Magurran, A.E. (1988) Ecological Diversity and Its Measurement. Princeton University Press, Princeton.
[14] Pielou, E.C. (1975) Ecological Diversity. Wiley, New York.
[15] Patil, G.P. and Taillie, C. (1979) An Overview of Diversity. In: Grassle, F., Patil, G.P., Smith, W. and Taillie, C., Eds., Ecological Diversity in Theory and Practice. International Co-Operative Publishing House, Fairland, 3-27.
[16] Patil, G.P. and Taillie C. (1982) Diversity as a Concept and Its Measurement. Journal of American Statistical Association, 77, 548-567.
[17] Guiasu, S. and Guiasu, R.C. (2012) The Weighted Gini-Simpson Index: Revitalizing an Old Index of Biodiversity. International Journal of Ecology, 10 Pages, Article ID4:78728.
[18] Bonham, C.D., Mergen, D.E. and Montoya, S. (2004) Plant Cover Estimation: A Contiguous Daubenmire Frame. Society, 26, 17-22.
[19] Cummings, J. and Smith, D. (2001) The Line-Intercept Method: A Tool for Introductory Plant Ecology Laboratories. Education, 234-246.
[20] Csontos, P. (2007) Seed Banks: Ecological Definitions and sampling considerations. Community Ecology, 8, 75-85.
[21] Russi, P.S. and Cocks, E.H. (2011) Seed Bank Dynamics Grassland in a Mediterranean Grassland. Society, 29, 763-771.
[22] Johnson, N.L. and Kotz, S. (1969) Distributions in Statistics—Discrete Distributions. John Wiley & Sons, New York.
[23] Gelman, A., Carlin, J., Stern, H. and Rubin, D. (2004) Bayesian Data Analysis, Texts in Statistical Science. Chapman and Hall, London.
[24] Robert, C.P. and Casella, G. (2004) Monte Carlo Statistical Methods. Springer, Berlin.
[25] Ntzoufras, I. (2009). Bayesian Modeling Using WinBUGS. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken.
[26] Albert, J. (2009) Bayesian Computation with R. 2nd Edition, Springer, New York.
[27] Gill, C.A. and Joanes, D.N. (1979) Bayesian Estimation of Shannon’s Index of Diversity. Biometrika, 66, 81-85.
[28] Chao, A. and Shen, T.-J. (2003) Non-Parametric Estimation of Shannon’s Index of Diversity When There Are Unseen Species in Sample. Environmental and Ecological Statistics, 10, 429-443.
[29] R Development Core Team (2011) R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. Vienna.
[30] Good, I.J. (1953) The Population Frequencies of Species and the Estimation of Population Parameters. Biometrika, 40, 237-264.
[31] Chao, A. and Lee, S.-M. (1992) Estimating the Number of Classes via Sample Coverage. Journal of American Statis-tical Association, 87, 210-217.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.