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 491314
Title Competition with trees does not influence root characteristics of perennial grasses in semi-arid and arid savannas in South Africa
Author(s) Priyadarshini, K.V.R.; Bie, S. de; Heitkonig, I.M.A.; Woodborne, S.; Gort, G.; Kirkman, K.P.; Prins, H.H.T.
Source Journal of Arid Environments 124 (2016). - ISSN 0140-1963 - p. 270 - 277.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2015.09.006
Department(s) Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
Mathematical and Statistical Methods - Biometris
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Abstract Savannas support mixed tree-grass communities and interactions between these are typically viewed as being competitive based on studies that focused on grass aboveground production. However, an important plant response to competition and resource limitation is an increase in root reserves. We investigated root characteristics of perennial grasses in the presence and absence of trees as a proxy of competition in South African savannas in three sites that differed in rainfall. We based our study on the hypothesis that competition from trees and water limitation will result in increased storage in roots of grasses under trees. Results indicate no significant effect of variation in rainfall of the different study locations on root characteristics of grasses. Furthermore, trees did not significantly influence most grass root characteristics that we measured. The only exception was nitrogen-content that showed an increase with rainfall and tree presence through potentially higher mineralization rates and nitrogen availability in the under-tree canopy environment. As the study sites are in the drier rainfall range in South Africa, it is likely that trees and grasses in these dry savannas may have a positive relationship conforming to the stress-gradient hypothesis. Alternatively, grasses and trees may be using complementary water and nutritional resources.
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