Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 408557
Title Scale of nutrient patchiness mediates resource partitioning between trees and grasses in a semi-arid savanna
Author(s) Waal, C. van der; Kroon, H. de; Heitkonig, I.M.A.; Skidmore, A.K.; Langevelde, F. van; Boer, W.F. de; Slotow, R.; Grant, R.C.; Peel, M.P.S.; Kohi, E.; Knegt, H.J. de; Prins, H.H.T.
Source Journal of Ecology 99 (2011)5. - ISSN 0022-0477 - p. 1124 - 1133.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2745.2011.01832.x
Department(s) Resource Ecology
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2011
Keyword(s) african savanna - south-africa - woody cover - cattle dung - heterogeneity - vegetation - dynamics - nitrogen - water - availability
Abstract 1. Scaling theory predicts that organisms respond to different scales of resource patchiness in relation to their own size. We tested the hypothesis that the scale of nutrient patchiness mediates resource partitioning between large trees and small grasses in a semi-arid savanna. 2. In a factorial field experiment, Colophospermum mopane trees and associated grasses were fertilized at either a fine or coarse scale of patchiness with nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) or N + P. The growth of marked tree shoots, herbaceous biomass and leafNand P concentrations were monitored for 2 years following fertilization. 3. Responses of trees were partly scale dependent. Tree leaf N concentration and shoot length relatively increased with fertilization at a coarse scale. Tree leaf mass decreased when P was supplied at a fine scale of patchiness, suggesting intensified grass competition. 4. Phosphorus fertilization increased leaf P concentrations more in grasses than trees, whereas N fertilization increased leaf N concentration moderately in both trees and grasses. Herbaceous above-ground biomass around focal trees was negatively correlated with tree size when fertilized with N, suggesting intensified tree competition. 5. Synthesis. Our results support the hypothesis that trees benefit more from nutrients supplied at a relatively coarse scale of patchiness. No direct responses of grasses to scale were detected. In trees, the scale effect was surpassed by the effect of sample year, when rainfall varied
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