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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10204/1674

Title: Convex relationships in ecosystems containing mixtures of trees and grass
Authors: Scholes, RJ
Keywords: Competition
Primary productivity
Environmental sciences
Issue Date: Dec-2003
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers
Citation: Scholes RJ. 2003. Convex relationships in ecosystems containing mixtures of trees and grass. Environmental & Resource Economics, vol. 26(4), pp 559-574.
Abstract: The relationship between grass production and the quantity of trees in mixed tree-grass ecosystems (savannas) is convex for all or most of its range. In other words, the grass production declines more steeply per unit increase in tree quantity at low tree cover than at high tree cover. Since much of the economic value in savannas is ultimately derived from grass, and the main mechanism controlling the tree-grass balance is dependent on the production of grassy fuel for fires, this non-linearity has the effect of creating two savannas configurations. One has a low tree density and supports a viable grazing enterprise, while the other has dense tree cover and a frequently non-viable grazing enterprise. The non-linearity is suggested here to have two main sources: the geometry of the spatial interaction between tree root system and grasses, and the effect of differing phenology (the time course of leaf area exposure) on the acquisition of water and nutrients. The existence of the non-linearity reduces the resilience of the generally-preferred "open" configuration, and increases the resilience of the less-desirable "closed" configuration.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10204/1674
ISSN: 0924-6460
Appears in Collections:Ecosystems processes & dynamics
General science, engineering & technology

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