An African Savanna: Synthesis of the Nylsvley Study
Savannas cover approximately half of the African land surface and one fifth of the land surface of the world. They are one of the most important, but least understood terrestrial ecosystems. They are the basis of the African livestock industry and the wildlife they support is of key importance in bringing in tourists. The Nylsvley area in South Africa is one of the most intensively studied savanna regions in the world and as such it is a key source of data and theory relating to this important tropical biome. The South African Savanna Biome Programme was set up to develop the understanding necessary to predict changes in the ecosystem stability induced by both natural and man-made stresses. This book provides a synthesis of the programme's sixteen years of research at Nylsvley and aims to develop a unified vision of the ecology of the dry savanna.
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Acacia tortilis African savannas annual average biomass Biome broad-leafed savanna browsers Burkea africana burned carbon cattle cycle decomposition deﬁned deﬁnition density Digitaria eriantha dominant dry savannas dry season ecological ecosystem efﬁciency energy Eragrostis Eragrostis pallens estimates evaporation factors fertile ﬁeld Figure ﬁne root ﬁne-leafed savanna ﬁre ﬁrst ﬂux forage g DM m_2 g m_2 Gandar grass layer grass production grasshoppers grasslands grazing growth herbaceous herbaceous layer herbivores impala increase infertile savannas inﬂuence insect interaction leaching leaf area leafed savanna lignin litter litterfall mammalian mammals measured microbial mineralisation nitrogen nutrient nutrient-poor nutrient-rich Nylsvley study occur Ochna Ochna pulchra organic matter Owen-Smith Panicum maximum patches pattern period phosphorus photosynthesis photosynthetic rate primary production proﬁle protein rainfall reﬂected savanna at Nylsvley Scholes signiﬁcant soil water species surface tannin temperature Terminalia sericea termites tree canopies trees and grasses ungulates vegetation water content woody plants