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Variable effects of termite mounds on African savanna grass communities across a rainfall gradient

MPG-Autoren
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Levick,  Shaun R.
Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. S. E. Trumbore, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Zitation

Davies, A. B., Robertson, M. P., Levick, S. R., Asner, G. P., van Rensburg, B. J., & Parr, C. L. (2014). Variable effects of termite mounds on African savanna grass communities across a rainfall gradient. Journal of Vegetation Science, 25(6), 1405-1416. doi:10.1111/jvs.12200.


Zitierlink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0019-8C42-5
Zusammenfassung
Questions: Termite mounds of the genus Macrotermes are prominent features in African savannas, forming nutrient hotspots that support greater plant diversity, which is of higher nutritional value than the surrounding savannamatrix. However, little is known about grass communities on and around mounds or how the functional importance ofmounds varies across sites. Asmean annual rainfall increases, savannas in southern Africa become increasingly dystrophic through increased denitrification (including pyrodenitrification) and the leaching of soil nutrients. The functional importance of mounds is concomitantly expected to increase as the difference in foliar nutrient levels between mounds and the savannamatrix increases.We tested this prediction on grass communities across a rainfall gradient to: (i) determine the degree to which grass assemblages differ between termite mounds and the savanna matrix; (ii) determine the spatial extent to which mounds influence grass communities; and (iii) investigate whether these patterns differ across savanna types.