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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10204/5068

Title: Deciphering the distribution of the savanna biome
Authors: Lehmann, CER
Archibald, SA
Hoffmann, WA
Bond, WJ
Keywords: C4 grasses
Alternate stable states
Issue Date: Jul-2011
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishers
Citation: Lehmann, CER, Archibald, SA, Hoffmann, WA, et al. 2011. Deciphering the distribution of the savanna biome. New Phytologist, Vol. 191(1), pp. 197–209
Series/Report no.: Workflow;6658
Abstract: We aimed to identify the limits of savanna across Africa, Australia and South America. We based our investigation on the rich history of hypotheses previously examined; that the limits of savanna are variously determined by rainfall, rainfall seasonality, soil fertility and disturbance. We categorized vegetation on all continents as “savanna” (open habitats with a C4 grass layer) or “not savanna” (closed habitats with no C4 grass layer) and used a combination of statistical approaches to examine how savanna presence varied as a function of five environmental correlates. Savanna presence is constrained by effective rainfall and rainfall seasonality. Soil fertility is regionally important, although the direction of its effect changes relative to rainfall. We identified three continental divergences in the limits of savanna that could not be explained by environment. Climate and soils do not have a deterministic effect on the distribution of savanna. Over the range of savanna, some proportion of the land is always “not savanna”. We reconciled previous contradictory views of savanna limits by developing a new conceptual framework for understanding these limits by categorizing environmental factors into whether they have a positive or negative effect on woody growth and the frequency of disturbance.
Description: Copyright. 2011 Wiley-Blackwell. This is a pre print version of the work. The definitive version is published in New Phytologist, Vol. 191(1), pp. 197–209
URI: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2011.03689.x/full
ISSN: 0028-646X
Appears in Collections:Environmental management
Climate change
Ecosystems processes & dynamics
General science, engineering & technology

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