An African Savanna: Synthesis of the Nylsvley Study

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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...

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Overview

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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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface
I Nylsvley in an African savanna context 1
1 African savannas: an overview 2
2 The people of Nylsvley 17
3 The climate at Nylsvley 24
4 Geology, landform and soils 34
5 The Nylsvley biota 43
II The key determinants: water, nutrients, fire and herbivory 57
6 Water 58
7 Nutrients 81
8 Fire 111
9 Herbivory 126
III The carbon cycle 143
10 Primary production 144
11 Decomposition 168
IV Community and landscape pattern and change 189
12 Rich savanna, poor savanna 190
13 Community structure, composition and dynamics 208
14 Tree-grass interactions 214
15 Plant-herbivore interactions 230
V Lessons from Nylsvley 249
16 An overview of savanna ecology 250
17 Managing savannas 261
18 Reflections on ecosystem studies 273
Bibliography 280
Index 301
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