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Ecology of Tropical Savannas

Series: Ecological Studies Volume: 42

By: Brian J Huntley(Editor), BH Walker(Editor)


Paperback | Dec 2011 | #222812 | ISBN-13: 9783642687884
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NHBS Price: £159.99 $207 / €184 approx

About this book

Ecology of Tropical Savannas examines the ecological characteristics of tropical savanna – most simply defined as those ecosystems which lie between the equatorial rainforests and the deserts and semi-deserts of Africa, Australia and South America. These savannas form a continuum of physiognomic types ranging from closed woodlands with a heliophytic grass understorey, through open savanna woodlands to treeless edaphic grasslands. In all areas Kranz syndrome or C4 grasses dominate the herbaceous layer while the woody component, at the moist end of the moisture gradient, comprises fire tolerant trees and shrubs.

Tropical savannas occupy the greater area of the southern continent – some 65% of Africa, 60% of Australia and 45% of South America. Despite their vast area and their present and potential importance in terms of livestock and crop production, they have not enjoyed the intensity of research interest devoted during the last several decades to the deserts, rainforests and mediterranean regions. Indeed they are probably the least well understood of the world's major terrestrial ecosystems. With a few notable exceptions, ecological studies in tropical savannas have been limited to scattered and rather disparate ventures. The first integrated study of a tropical savanna was probably that undertaken in the Ivory Coast by Lamotte and associates, while Medina and others had conducted important ecophysiological work in the Venezuelan llanos.


Section 1. Introduction

Section 2. Structure
1. Australian Savannas
2. Brazilian "Savannas"
3. Chaco and Caatinga - South American Arid Savannas, Woodlands and Thickets
4. The Structure and Dynamics of a West African Savanna
5. Southern African Savannas
6. Woody Plant Biomass Distribution in Burkea africana Savannas

Section 3. Determinants
7. The Influence of Soils, Geomorphology and Geology on the Distribution of Plant Communities in Savanna Ecosystems
8. The Influence of Soil Moisture Balance on Ecosystem Patterns in Southern Africa
9. The Effect of Soil Nutrient Availability on Community Structure in African Ecosystems
10. The Influence of Large Herbivores on Savanna Structure in Africa
11. Fire in Australian Tropical Savannas
12. Ecological Effect of Fire in Brazilian Cerrado
13. Ecological Effects of Fire in South African Savannas

Section 4. Function
14. Physiological Ecology of Neotropical Savanna Plants
15. Water Relations of Southern African Savannas
16. Factors Influencing the Consumption of Plant Products by Large Herbivores
17. Response of the Humid Subtropical Grassland of South Africa to Defoliation
18. Consumption and Decomposition in Tropical Grassland Ecosystems at Lamto, Ivory Coast

Section 5. Nylsvley, a South African Savanna
19. Structure of the Nylsvley Savanna
20. Towards the Development of an Energy Budget for a Savanna Ecosystem
21. Phytomass, Seasonal Phenology and Photosynthetic Studies
22. Nitrogen in the Burkea Savanna
23. Trophic Ecology and Plant/Herbivore Energetics
24. Litter Decomposition

Section 6. Dynamics and Management
25. Aspects of the Stability and Resilience of Savanna Ecosystems
26. Stability of Plant-Herbivore Models and Possible Applications to Savanna
27. A Developing Computer Model of the Auob River Ecosystem. Kalahari Gemsbok National Park
28. Management Strategies for the Utilization of Southern African Savanna

Section 7. Conclusion: Characteristic Features of Tropical Savannas

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