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Sample records for african savanna fires

  1. Seasonal Distribution of African Savanna Fires

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cahoon, Donald R.; Stocks, Brian J.; Levine, Joel S.; Cofer, Wesley R., III; O'Neill, Katherine P.

    1992-01-01

    Savannas consist of a continuous layer of grass interspersed with scattered trees or shrubs, and cover approx. 10 million square kilometers of tropical Africa. African savanna fires, almost all resulting from human activities, may produce as much as a third of the total global emissions from biomass burning. Little is known, however, about the frequency and location of these fires, and the area burned each year. Emissions from African savanna burning are known to be transported over the mid-Atlantic, south Pacific and Indian oceans; but to study fully the transport of regional savanna burning and the seasonality of the atmospheric circulation must be considered simultaneously. Here we describe the temporal and spatial distribution of savanna fires over the entire African continent, as determined from night-time satellite imagery. We find that, contrary to expectations, most fires are left to burn uncontrolled, so that there is no strong diurnal cycle in the fire frequency. The knowledge gained from this study regarding the distribution and variability of fires will aid monitoring of the climatically important trace gases emitted from burning biomass.

  2. Seasonal distribution of African savanna fires

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cahoon, Donald R., Jr.; Stocks, Brian J.; Levine, Joel S.; Cofer, Wesley R., III; O'Neill, Katherine P.

    1992-01-01

    The temporal and spatial distribution of savanna fires over the entire African continent, as determined from nighttime satellite imagery, is described. It is found that, contrary to expectations, most fires are left to burn uncontrolled, so that there is no strong diurnal cycle in the fire frequency. The knowledge gained from this study regarding the distribution and variability of fires is helpful in the monitoring of climatically important trace gases emitted from burning biomass.

  3. North African savanna fires and atmospheric carbon dioxide

    SciTech Connect

    Iacobellis, S.F.; Frouni, Razafimpaniolo, H.

    1994-04-20

    The effect of north African savanna fires on atmospheric CO{sub 2} is investigated using a tracer transport model. The model uses winds from operational numerical weather prediction analyses and provides CO{sub 2} concentrations as a function of space and time. After a spin-up period of several years, biomass-burning sources are added, and model experiments are run for an additional year, utilizing various estimates of CO{sub 2} sources. The various model experiments show that biomass burning in the north African savannas significantly affects CO{sub 2} concentrations in South America. The effect is more pronounced during the period from January through March, when biomass burning in South America is almost nonexistent. During this period, atmospheric CO{sub 2} concentrations in parts of South America typically may increase by 0.5 to 0.75 ppm at 970 mbar, the average pressure of the lowest model layer. These figures are above the probable uncertainty level, as model runs with biomass-burning sources estimated from independent studies using distinct data sets and techniques indicate. From May through September, when severe biomass burning occurs in South America, the effect of north African savanna fires over South America has become generally small at 970 mbar, but north of the equator it may be of the same magnitude or larger than the effect of South American fires. The CO{sub 2} concentration increase in the extreme northern and southern portions of South America, however, is mostly due to southern African fires, whose effect may be 2-3 times larger than the effect of South American fires at 970 mbar. Even in the central part of the continent, where local biomass-burning emissions are maximum, southern African fires contribute to at least 15% of the CO{sub 2} concentration increase at 970 mbar. 20 refs., 15 figs., 1 tab.

  4. North African savanna fires and atmospheric carbon dioxide

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Iacobellis, Sam F.; Frouin, Robert; Razafimpanilo, Herisoa; Somerville, Richard C. J.; Piper, Stephen C.

    1994-01-01

    The effect of north African savanna fires on atmospheric CO2 is investigated using a tracer transport model. The model uses winds from operational numerical weather prediction analyses and provides CO2 concentrations as a function of space and time. After a spin-up period of several years, biomass-burning sources are added, and model experiments are run for an additional year, utilizing various estimates of CO2 sources. The various model experiments show that biomass burning in the north African savannas significantly affects CO2 concentrations in South America. The effect is more pronounced during the period from January through March, when biomass burning in South America is almost nonexistent. During this period, atmospheric CO2 concentrations in parts of South America typically may increase by 0.5 to 0.75 ppm at 970 mbar, the average pressure of the lowest model layer. These figures are above the probable uncertainty level, as model runs with biomass-burning sources estimated from independent studies using distinct data sets and techniques indicate. From May through September, when severe biomass burning occurs in South America, the effect of north African savanna fires over South America has become generally small at 970 mbar, but north of the equator it may be of the same magnitude or larger than the effect of South American fires. The CO2 concentration increase in the extreme northern and southern portions of South America, however, is mostly due to southern African fires, whose effect may be 2-3 times larger than the effect of South American fires at 970 mbar. Even in the central part of the continent, where local biomass-burning emissions are maximum, southern African fires contribute to at least 15% of the CO2 concentration increase at 970 mbar. At higher levels in the atmosphere, less CO2 emitted by north African savanna fires reaches South America, and at 100 mbar no significant amount of CO2 is transported across the Atlantic Ocean. The vertical

  5. Observations of a seasonal cycle in NOx emissions from fires in the African savanna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mebust, A. K.; Cohen, R. C.

    2012-12-01

    Nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from wildfires account for ~15% of the global total, inducing large fluctuations in the chemical production and loss rates of O3 and CH4 and thereby affecting Earth's radiative balance. NOx emissions from fires depend on fuel N content, combustion stage, and total biomass burned; sparse observations limit current understanding of the variability in these factors across biomes. Here we use satellite-based measurements to study emission coefficients (ECs), a value proportional to emission factors i.e. NOx emitted per unit of biomass burned, from fires in African savannas. NOx ECs decrease steadily across the fire season, rather than remaining constant as is currently assumed. We speculate that this is due to reallocation of nutrients, including N, to plant roots after the growing season. We account for the observed cycle in the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model to show the impacts on monthly tropospheric ozone.

  6. The Impact of Fire on Energy Balance in Southern African Savanna Ecosystems: Implications of Climate Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dintwe, K.; Okin, G. S.; Saha, M.; Scanlon, T. M.; D'Odorico, P.; De Sales, F.; Xue, Y.

    2015-12-01

    Savannas are the most fire prone ecosystems in the world accounting for more than 75% of annual global fires. Wildfires in savannas consume large quantities of biomass releasing CO2 and aerosols while leaving ash and char residues. The residues form black-grey patches on the soil surface, and together with newly exposed bare soil patches, they play a significant role in altering surface reflectance and vegetation condition. We investigated the impact of fire on savanna albedo and vegetation greenness (from Enhanced Vegetation Index, EVI) from 2000-2014 using data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) for Africa south of the Equator. Preliminary results indicate that more mesic savannas near the Equator have the highest fire frequencies, with fire frequency generally decreasing with aridity. Immediately after fires, the average change in albedo and EVI is -5% and -10%, respectively, with the magnitude of the change increasing with aridity. The time for albedo to recover to values similar to unburned areas varied by latitude, with more mesic savannas recovering much faster (24 days vs. 65 days for dry savannas). The time for vegetation condition to recover did not vary strongly by latitude (about 65 days). The upward shortwave energy in burnt areas in mesic savannas is 53 W m-2 compared to 95 W m-2 for unburnt areas, indicating a positive forcing of about 42 W m-2 associated with mesic savanna fires locally. Approximately 7% of the (primarily savanna) land in southern Africa burns each year, suggesting an overall forcing in Africa south of the Equator of ~1-2 W m-2 associated with savanna fires. This large forcing indicates clearly the important interplay between ecosystem processes (fire) and climate (radiative forcing) in this region. With changing climate, this region is expected to become significantly drier, suggesting that the forcing due to fire might decrease in the coming decades and indicating that fire-induced albedo changes potentially

  7. Synergistic effects of fire and elephants on arboreal animals in an African savanna.

    PubMed

    Pringle, Robert M; Kimuyu, Duncan M; Sensenig, Ryan L; Palmer, Todd M; Riginos, Corinna; Veblen, Kari E; Young, Truman P

    2015-11-01

    Disturbance is a crucial determinant of animal abundance, distribution and community structure in many ecosystems, but the ways in which multiple disturbance types interact remain poorly understood. The effects of multiple-disturbance interactions can be additive, subadditive or super-additive (synergistic). Synergistic effects in particular can accelerate ecological change; thus, characterizing such synergies, the conditions under which they arise, and how long they persist has been identified as a major goal of ecology. We factorially manipulated two principal sources of disturbance in African savannas, fire and elephants, and measured their independent and interactive effects on the numerically dominant vertebrate (the arboreal gekkonid lizard Lygodactylus keniensis) and invertebrate (a guild of symbiotic Acacia ants) animal species in a semi-arid Kenyan savanna. Elephant exclusion alone (minus fire) had negligible effects on gecko density. Fire alone (minus elephants) had negligible effects on gecko density after 4 months, but increased gecko density twofold after 16 months, likely because the decay of fire-damaged woody biomass created refuges and nest sites for geckos. In the presence of elephants, fire increased gecko density nearly threefold within 4 months of the experimental burn; this occurred because fire increased the incidence of elephant damage to trees, which in turn improved microhabitat quality for geckos. However, this synergistic positive effect of fire and elephants attenuated over the ensuing year, such that only the main effect of fire was evident after 16 months. Fire also altered the structure of symbiotic plant-ant assemblages occupying the dominant tree species (Acacia drepanolobium); this influenced gecko habitat selection but did not explain the synergistic effect of fire and elephants. However, fire-driven shifts in plant-ant occupancy may have indirectly mediated this effect by increasing trees' susceptibility to elephant damage. Our

  8. Projections of 21st Century African Climate: Implications for African Savanna Fire Dynamics, Human Health and Food Security

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adegoke, J. O.

    2015-12-01

    Fire is a key agent of change in the African savannas, which are shaped through the complex interactions between trees, C4 grasses, rainfall, temperature, CO2 and fire. These fires and their emitted smoke can have numerous direct and indirect effects on the environment, water resources, air quality, and climate. For instance, veld fires in southern Africa cause large financial losses to agriculture, livestock production and forestry on an annual basis. This study contributes to our understanding of the implications of projected surface temperature evolution in Africa for fire risk, human health and agriculture over the coming decades. We use an ensemble of high-resolution regional climate model simulations of African climate for the 21st century. Regional dowscalings and recent global circulation model projections obtained for Africa indicate that African temperatures are likely to rise at 1.5 times the global rate of temperature increase in the tropics, and at almost twice the global rate of increase in the subtropics. Warming is projected to occur during the 21st century, with increases of 4-6 °C over the subtropics and 3-5 °C over the tropics plausible by the end of the century relative to present-day climate under the A2 (low mitigation) scenario. We explore the significance of the projected warming by documenting increases in projected high fire danger days and heat-wave days. General drying is projected across the continent, even for areas (e.g. tropical Africa) where an increase in rainfall is plausible. This is due to the drastic increases in temperature that are projected, which leads to drier soils (through enhanced evaporation) despite the rainfall increases. This will likely impact negatively on crop yield, particularly on the maize crop that is of crucial importance in terms of African food security.

  9. Nitrogen Subsidies and Fire Prone Ecosystems: the Case of African Savannas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prihodko, L.; Hanan, N. P.

    2008-12-01

    Savannas are the most frequently burned ecosystems on earth and fires are known to have significant effects on community composition and species interactions across all trophic levels. Fire also plays a significant role in the biogeochemical cycles of carbon and various nutrients in savannas as they are emitted or chemically transformed into more available, or more recalcitrant, forms during fires. In Africa, savanna fires occur more frequently in the unstable (mean annual precipitation (MAP) > 516mm), dystrophic (nutrient poor) savannas than they do in the relatively more stable (MAP < 516mm), eutrophic (nutrient rich) savannas. Are these dystrophic savannas dystrophic because they burn? Are the eutrophic savannas eutrophic because they are subsidized by nutrient inputs from spatially remote fires? Africa is an ideal location to study ecosystem sensitivity to atmospheric inputs of nitrogen from biomass burning for several reasons. A large proportion of the continent is very fire prone and approximately 40% of global emissions from biomass burning originate in Africa. In contrast, emissions from fossil fuel sources are low compared to highly industrialized regions in the Americas, Europe and Asia and agricultural input of nitrogen is limited in Africa. As a result, the ecosystem impacts of pyrogenic loss and gain of nitrogen are likely to be more important in Africa than elsewhere. We combine data from recent analyses of fire frequency (GFED) with an atmospheric transport model (HYSPLIT4) to simulate pyrogenic nitrogen deposition fields and analyze the fate of fire-related nitrogen in the atmosphere, gross and net N-deposition fields and thus the role fires may play in displacing nitrogen and depleting or enriching adjacent regions.

  10. The extent of burning in African savanna

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cahoon, D. R. JR.; Levine, J. S.; Cofer, W. R. Iii; Stocks, B. J.

    1994-01-01

    The temporal and spatial distribution of African savanna grassland fires has been examined, and the areal extent of these fires has been estimated for the subequatorial African continent. African savanna fires have been investigated using remote sensing techniques and imagery collected by low-light sensors on Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites and by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) which is aboard polar orbiting National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellites. DMSP imagery has been used to map the evolution of savanna burning over all of the African continent and the analysis of AVHRR imagery has been used to estimate the areal extent of the burning in the southern hemispheric African savannas. The work presented primarily reflects the analysiscompleted for the year 1987. However, comparisons have been made with other years and the representativeness of the 1987 analysis is discussed.

  11. Effects of controlled fire and livestock grazing on bird communities in East African savannas.

    PubMed

    Gregory, Nathan C; Sensenig, Ryan L; Wilcove, David S

    2010-12-01

    In East Africa fire and grazing by wild and domestic ungulates maintain savannas, and pastoralists historically set fires and herded livestock through the use of temporary corrals called bomas. In recent decades traditional pastoral practices have declined, and this may be affecting biodiversity. We investigated the effects of prescribed fires and bomas on savanna bird communities in East Africa during the first and second dry seasons of the year (respectively before and after the rains that mark the onset of breeding for most birds). We compared abundance, richness, and community composition on 9-ha burned plots, recently abandoned bomas, and control plots in the undisturbed matrix habitat over a 3-year period. Generally, recently burned areas and abandoned bomas attracted greater densities of birds and had different community assemblages than the surrounding matrix. The effects of disturbances were influenced by interactions between primary productivity, represented by the normalized difference vegetation index, and time. Bird densities were highest and a greater proportion of species was observed on burned plots in the months following the fires. Drought conditions equalized bird densities across treatments within 1 year, and individuals from a greater proportion of species were more commonly observed on abandoned bomas. Yearly fluctuations in abundance were less pronounced on bomas than on burns, which indicate that although fire may benefit birds in the short term, bomas may have a more-lasting positive effect and provide resources during droughts. Several Palearctic migrants were attracted to burned plots regardless of rainfall, which indicates continued fire suppression may threaten their already-declining populations. Most notably, the paucity of birds observed on the controls suggests that the current structure of the matrix developed as a result of fire suppression. Traditional pastoralism appears critical to the maintenance of avian diversity in these

  12. Determinants of woody cover in African savannas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sankaran, M.; Hanan, N.P.; Scholes, R.J.; Ratnam, J.; Augustine, D.J.; Cade, B.S.; Gignoux, J.; Higgins, S.I.; Le, Roux X.; Ludwig, F.; Ardo, J.; Banyikwa, F.; Bronn, A.; Bucini, G.; Caylor, K.K.; Coughenour, M.B.; Diouf, A.; Ekaya, W.; Feral, C.J.; February, E.C.; Frost, P.G.H.; Hiernaux, P.; Hrabar, H.; Metzger, K.L.; Prins, H.H.T.; Ringrose, S.; Sea, W.; Tews, J.; Worden, J.; Zambatis, N.

    2005-01-01

    Savannas are globally important ecosystems of great significance to human economies. In these biomes, which are characterized by the co-dominance of trees and grasses, woody cover is a chief determinant of ecosystem properties 1-3. The availability of resources (water, nutrients) and disturbance regimes (fire, herbivory) are thought to be important in regulating woody cover1,2,4,5, but perceptions differ on which of these are the primary drivers of savanna structure. Here we show, using data from 854 sites across Africa, that maximum woody cover in savannas receiving a mean annual precipitation (MAP) of less than ???650 mm is constrained by, and increases linearly with, MAP. These arid and semi-arid savannas may be considered 'stable' systems in which water constrains woody cover and permits grasses to coexist, while fire, herbivory and soil properties interact to reduce woody cover below the MAP-controlled upper bound. Above a MAP of ???650 mm, savannas are 'unstable' systems in which MAP is sufficient for woody canopy closure, and disturbances (fire, herbivory) are required for the coexistence of trees and grass. These results provide insights into the nature of African savannas and suggest that future changes in precipitation 6 may considerably affect their distribution and dynamics. ?? 2005 Nature Publishing Group.

  13. Determinants of woody cover in African savannas.

    PubMed

    Sankaran, Mahesh; Hanan, Niall P; Scholes, Robert J; Ratnam, Jayashree; Augustine, David J; Cade, Brian S; Gignoux, Jacques; Higgins, Steven I; Le Roux, Xavier; Ludwig, Fulco; Ardo, Jonas; Banyikwa, Feetham; Bronn, Andries; Bucini, Gabriela; Caylor, Kelly K; Coughenour, Michael B; Diouf, Alioune; Ekaya, Wellington; Feral, Christie J; February, Edmund C; Frost, Peter G H; Hiernaux, Pierre; Hrabar, Halszka; Metzger, Kristine L; Prins, Herbert H T; Ringrose, Susan; Sea, William; Tews, Jörg; Worden, Jeff; Zambatis, Nick

    2005-12-08

    Savannas are globally important ecosystems of great significance to human economies. In these biomes, which are characterized by the co-dominance of trees and grasses, woody cover is a chief determinant of ecosystem properties. The availability of resources (water, nutrients) and disturbance regimes (fire, herbivory) are thought to be important in regulating woody cover, but perceptions differ on which of these are the primary drivers of savanna structure. Here we show, using data from 854 sites across Africa, that maximum woody cover in savannas receiving a mean annual precipitation (MAP) of less than approximately 650 mm is constrained by, and increases linearly with, MAP. These arid and semi-arid savannas may be considered 'stable' systems in which water constrains woody cover and permits grasses to coexist, while fire, herbivory and soil properties interact to reduce woody cover below the MAP-controlled upper bound. Above a MAP of approximately 650 mm, savannas are 'unstable' systems in which MAP is sufficient for woody canopy closure, and disturbances (fire, herbivory) are required for the coexistence of trees and grass. These results provide insights into the nature of African savannas and suggest that future changes in precipitation may considerably affect their distribution and dynamics.

  14. Predicting the Effects of Woody Encroachment on Mammal Communities, Grazing Biomass and Fire Frequency in African Savannas.

    PubMed

    Smit, Izak P J; Prins, Herbert H T

    2015-01-01

    With grasslands and savannas covering 20% of the world's land surface, accounting for 30-35% of worldwide Net Primary Productivity and supporting hundreds of millions of people, predicting changes in tree/grass systems is priority. Inappropriate land management and rising atmospheric CO2 levels result in increased woody cover in savannas. Although woody encroachment occurs world-wide, Africa's tourism and livestock grazing industries may be particularly vulnerable. Forecasts of responses of African wildlife and available grazing biomass to increases in woody cover are thus urgently needed. These predictions are hard to make due to non-linear responses and poorly understood feedback mechanisms between woody cover and other ecological responders, problems further amplified by the lack of long-term and large-scale datasets. We propose that a space-for-time analysis along an existing woody cover gradient overcomes some of these forecasting problems. Here we show, using an existing woody cover gradient (0-65%) across the Kruger National Park, South Africa, that increased woody cover is associated with (i) changed herbivore assemblage composition, (ii) reduced grass biomass, and (iii) reduced fire frequency. Furthermore, although increased woody cover is associated with reduced livestock production, we found indigenous herbivore biomass (excluding elephants) remains unchanged between 20-65% woody cover. This is due to a significant reorganization in the herbivore assemblage composition, mostly as a result of meso-grazers being substituted by browsers at increasing woody cover. Our results suggest that woody encroachment will have cascading consequences for Africa's grazing systems, fire regimes and iconic wildlife. These effects will pose challenges and require adaptation of livelihoods and industries dependent on conditions currently prevailing.

  15. Predicting the Effects of Woody Encroachment on Mammal Communities, Grazing Biomass and Fire Frequency in African Savannas

    PubMed Central

    Smit, Izak P. J.; Prins, Herbert H. T.

    2015-01-01

    With grasslands and savannas covering 20% of the world’s land surface, accounting for 30–35% of worldwide Net Primary Productivity and supporting hundreds of millions of people, predicting changes in tree/grass systems is priority. Inappropriate land management and rising atmospheric CO2 levels result in increased woody cover in savannas. Although woody encroachment occurs world-wide, Africa’s tourism and livestock grazing industries may be particularly vulnerable. Forecasts of responses of African wildlife and available grazing biomass to increases in woody cover are thus urgently needed. These predictions are hard to make due to non-linear responses and poorly understood feedback mechanisms between woody cover and other ecological responders, problems further amplified by the lack of long-term and large-scale datasets. We propose that a space-for-time analysis along an existing woody cover gradient overcomes some of these forecasting problems. Here we show, using an existing woody cover gradient (0–65%) across the Kruger National Park, South Africa, that increased woody cover is associated with (i) changed herbivore assemblage composition, (ii) reduced grass biomass, and (iii) reduced fire frequency. Furthermore, although increased woody cover is associated with reduced livestock production, we found indigenous herbivore biomass (excluding elephants) remains unchanged between 20–65% woody cover. This is due to a significant reorganization in the herbivore assemblage composition, mostly as a result of meso-grazers being substituted by browsers at increasing woody cover. Our results suggest that woody encroachment will have cascading consequences for Africa’s grazing systems, fire regimes and iconic wildlife. These effects will pose challenges and require adaptation of livelihoods and industries dependent on conditions currently prevailing. PMID:26379249

  16. Native and domestic browsers and grazers reduce fuels, fire temperatures, and acacia ant mortality in an African savanna.

    PubMed

    Kimuyu, Duncan M; Sensenig, Ryan L; Riginos, Corinna; Veblen, Kari E; Young, Truman P

    2014-06-01

    Despite the importance of fire and herbivory in structuring savanna systems, few replicated experiments have examined the interactive effects of herbivory and fire on plant dynamics. In addition, the effects of fire on associated ant-tree mutualisms have been largely unexplored. We carried out small controlled burns in each of 18 herbivore treatment plots of the Kenya Long-term Exclosure Experiment (KLEE), where experimentally excluding elephants has resulted in 42% greater tree densities. The KLEE design includes six different herbivore treatments that allowed us to examine how different combinations of megaherbivore wildlife, mesoherbivore wildlife, and cattle affect fire temperatures and subsequent loss of ant symbionts from Acacia trees. Before burning, we quantified herbaceous fuel loads and plant community composition. We tagged all trees, measured their height and basal diameter, and identified the resident ant species on each. We recorded weather conditions during the burns and used ceramic tiles painted with fire-sensitive paints to estimate fire temperatures at different heights and in different microsites (under vs. between trees). Across all treatments, fire temperatures were highest at 0-50 cm off the ground and hotter in the grass under trees than in the grassy areas between trees. Plots with more trees burned hotter than plots with fewer trees, perhaps because of greater fine woody debris. Plots grazed by wildlife and by cattle prior to burning had lower herbaceous fuel loads and experienced lower burn temperatures than ungrazed plots. Many trees lost their ant colonies during the burns. Ant survivorship differed by ant species and at the plot level was positively associated with previous herbivory (and lower fire temperatures). Across all treatments, ant colonies on taller trees were more likely to survive, but even some of the tallest trees lost their ant colonies. Our study marks a significant step in understanding the mechanisms that underlie the

  17. Seasonal Variation and Ecosystem Dependence of Emission Factors for Selected Trace Gases and PM2.5 for Southern African Savanna Fires

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Korontzi, S.; Ward, D. E.; Susott, R. A.; Yokelson, R. J.; Justice, C. O.; Hobbs, P. V.; Smithwick, E. A. H.; Hao, W. M.

    2003-01-01

    In this paper we present the first early dry season (early June-early August) emission factor measurements for carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), methane (Ca), nonmethane hydrocarbons (NMHC), and particulates with a diameter less than 2.5 microns (pM2.5) for southern African grassland and woodland fires. Seasonal emission factors for grassland fires correlate linearly with the proportion of green grass, used as a surrogate for the fuel moisture content, and are higher for products of incomplete combustion in the early part of the dry season compared with later in the dry season. Models of emission factors for NMHC and PM(sub 2.5) versus modified combustion efficiency (MCE) are statistically different in grassland compared with woodland ecosystems. We compare predictions based on the integration of emissions factors from this study, from the southern African Fire-Atmosphere Research Initiative 1992 (SAFARI-92), and from SAFARI-2000 with those based on the smaller set of ecosystem-specific emission factors to estimate the effects of using regional-average rather than ecosystem-specific emission factors. We also test the validity of using the SAFARI-92 models for emission factors versus MCE to predict the early dry season emission factors measured in this study. The comparison indicates that the largest discrepancies occur at the low end (0.907) and high end (0.972) of MCE values measured in this study. Finally, we combine our models of MCE versus proportion of green grass for grassland fires with emission factors versus MCE for selected oxygenated volatile organic compounds measured in the SAFARI-2000 campaign to derive the first seasonal emission factors for these compounds. The results of this study demonstrate that seasonal variations in savanna fire emissions are important and should be considered in modeling emissions at regional to continental scales.

  18. Nitrogen deposition in tropical forests from deforestation and savanna fires

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Y.; Randerson, J. T.; van der Werf, G.; Morton, D. C.; Kasibhatla, P. S.

    2009-12-01

    Tropical forests account for nearly half of global net primary production (NPP) and may contribute substantially to contemporary and future land carbon (C) sinks. We used satellite-derived estimates of global fire emissions and a chemical transport model to estimate atmospheric nitrogen (N) fluxes from deforestation and savanna fires in tropical ecosystems. N emissions and deposition led to a substantial net transport of N equatorward, from savannas and areas undergoing deforestation to tropical forests. On average, N emissions from fires were equivalent to approximately 28% of biological N fixation (BNF) in savannas (4.8 kg N ha-1 yr-1) and 38% of BNF from ecosystems at the deforestation frontier (9.1 kg N ha-1 yr-1). N deposition occurred in interior tropical forests at a rate equivalent to 4% of their BNF (1.1 kg N ha-1 yr-1). This percentage was highest for African tropical forests in the Congo Basin (16%; 3.7 kg N ha-1 yr-1) owing to equatorward transport from northern and southern savannas. These results suggest that land use change, including deforestation fires, may be enhancing nutrient availability and carbon sequestration in nearby tropical forest ecosystems.

  19. Aridity, not fire, favors nitrogen-fixing plants across tropical savanna and forest biomes.

    PubMed

    Pellegrini, Adam F A; Staver, A Carla; Hedin, Lars O; Charles-Dominique, Tristan; Tourgee, Amy

    2016-09-01

    Tropical savannas are hypothesized to be hot spots of nitrogen-fixer diversity and activity because of the high disturbance and low nitrogen characteristic of savanna landscapes. Here we compare the abundances of nitrogen-fixing and non-fixing trees in both tropical savannas and tropical forests under climatically equivalent conditions, using plant inventory studies across 566 plots in South America and Africa. A single factor, aridity, explained 19-54% of the variance in fixer abundance, and unexpectedly was more important than fire frequency, biome, and continent. Nitrogen fixers were more abundant in arid environments; as a result, African savannas, which tend to be drier, were richer in nitrogen fixers than South American savannas. Fixer abundance converged on similar levels in forests in both continents. We conclude that climate plays a greater role than fire in determining the distribution of nitrogen fixers across tropical savanna and forest biomes.

  20. Determinants of woody encroachment and cover in African savannas.

    PubMed

    Devine, Aisling P; McDonald, Robbie A; Quaife, Tristan; Maclean, Ilya M D

    2017-04-01

    Savanna ecosystems are an integral part of the African landscape and sustain the livelihoods of millions of people. Woody encroachment in savannas is a widespread phenomenon but its causes are widely debated. We review the extensive literature on woody encroachment to help improve understanding of the possible causes and to highlight where and how future scientific efforts to fully understand these causes should be focused. Rainfall is the most important determinant of maximum woody cover across Africa, but fire and herbivory interact to reduce woody cover below the maximum at many locations. We postulate that woody encroachment is most likely driven by CO2 enrichment and propose a two-system conceptual framework, whereby mechanisms of woody encroachment differ depending on whether the savanna is a wet or dry system. In dry savannas, the increased water-use efficiency in plants relaxes precipitation-driven constraints and increases woody growth. In wet savannas, the increase of carbon allocation to tree roots results in faster recovery rates after disturbance and a greater likelihood of reaching sexual maturity. Our proposed framework can be tested using a mixture of experimental and earth observational techniques. At a local level, changes in precipitation, burning regimes or herbivory could be driving woody encroachment, but are unlikely to be the explanation of this continent-wide phenomenon.

  1. The ongoing development of a pragmatic and adaptive fire management policy in a large African savanna protected area.

    PubMed

    van Wilgen, Brian W; Govender, Navashni; Smit, Izak P J; MacFadyen, Sandra

    2014-01-01

    This paper describes recent changes to the fire management policy of the 1.9 million ha Kruger National Park in South Africa. It provides a real-life example of adaptive learning in an environment where understanding is incomplete, but where management nonetheless has to proceed. The previous policy called for the application of fire to meet burnt area targets that were set for administrative subdivisions, and that were assessed at the scale of the entire park. This was problematic because the park is large and heterogeneous, and because sound ecological motivations that could link burning prescriptions to ecological objectives were missing. The new policy divides the park into five fire management zones on the basis of differences in mean annual rainfall, historic fire return periods, and geology. In addition, it proposes fire management actions designed to achieve specified ecological objectives in each zone, and includes fire-regime related thresholds and associated ecological outcomes against which to assess the effectiveness of management. The new policy is an improvement over previous iterations, but several challenges remain. Most important among these would be to continually improve the understanding of the effects of fire, and to develop frameworks for assessing the impacts of fire together with other ecosystem drivers that interact strongly with fire to influence the attainment of ecological objectives.

  2. Unsustainable fuelwood extraction from South African savannas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wessels, K. J.; Colgan, M. S.; Erasmus, B. F. N.; Asner, G. P.; Twine, W. C.; Mathieu, R.; van Aardt, J. A. N.; Fisher, J. T.; Smit, I. P. J.

    2013-03-01

    Wood and charcoal supply the majority of sub-Saharan Africa’s rural energy needs. The long-term supply of fuelwood is in jeopardy given high consumption rates. Using airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR), we mapped and investigated savanna aboveground biomass across contrasting land uses, ranging from densely populated communal areas to highly protected areas in the Lowveld savannas of South Africa. We combined the LiDAR observations with socio-economic data, biomass production rates and fuelwood consumption rates in a supply-demand model to predict future fuelwood availability. LiDAR-based biomass maps revealed disturbance gradients around settlements up to 1.5 km, corresponding to the maximum distance walked to collect fuelwood. At current levels of fuelwood consumption (67% of households use fuelwood exclusively, with a 2% annual reduction), we calculate that biomass in the study area will be exhausted within thirteen years. We also show that it will require a 15% annual reduction in consumption for eight years to a level of 20% of households using fuelwood before the reduction in biomass appears to stabilize to sustainable levels. The severity of dwindling fuelwood reserves in African savannas underscores the importance of providing affordable energy for rural economic development.

  3. Fire in Australian savannas: from leaf to landscape

    PubMed Central

    Beringer, Jason; Hutley, Lindsay B; Abramson, David; Arndt, Stefan K; Briggs, Peter; Bristow, Mila; Canadell, Josep G; Cernusak, Lucas A; Eamus, Derek; Edwards, Andrew C; Evans, Bradley J; Fest, Benedikt; Goergen, Klaus; Grover, Samantha P; Hacker, Jorg; Haverd, Vanessa; Kanniah, Kasturi; Livesley, Stephen J; Lynch, Amanda; Maier, Stefan; Moore, Caitlin; Raupach, Michael; Russell-Smith, Jeremy; Scheiter, Simon; Tapper, Nigel J; Uotila, Petteri

    2015-01-01

    Savanna ecosystems comprise 22% of the global terrestrial surface and 25% of Australia (almost 1.9 million km2) and provide significant ecosystem services through carbon and water cycles and the maintenance of biodiversity. The current structure, composition and distribution of Australian savannas have coevolved with fire, yet remain driven by the dynamic constraints of their bioclimatic niche. Fire in Australian savannas influences both the biophysical and biogeochemical processes at multiple scales from leaf to landscape. Here, we present the latest emission estimates from Australian savanna biomass burning and their contribution to global greenhouse gas budgets. We then review our understanding of the impacts of fire on ecosystem function and local surface water and heat balances, which in turn influence regional climate. We show how savanna fires are coupled to the global climate through the carbon cycle and fire regimes. We present new research that climate change is likely to alter the structure and function of savannas through shifts in moisture availability and increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, in turn altering fire regimes with further feedbacks to climate. We explore opportunities to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions from savanna ecosystems through changes in savanna fire management. PMID:25044767

  4. Fire in Australian Savannas: from leaf to landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beringer, J.

    2015-12-01

    Savanna ecosystems comprise 22% of the global terrestrial surface and 25% of Australia (almost 1.9 million km2) and provide significant ecosystem services through carbon and water cycles and the maintenance of biodiversity. The current structure, composition and distribution of Australian savannas have co-evolved with fire, yet remain driven by the dynamic constraints of their bioclimatic niche. Fire in Australian savannas influences both the biophysical and biogeochemical processes at multiple scales from leaf to landscape. Here we present the latest emission estimates from Australian savanna biomass burning and their contribution to global greenhouse gas budgets. We then review our understanding of the impacts of fire on ecosystem function and local surface water and heat balances, which in turn influence regional climate. We show how savanna fires are coupled to the global climate through the carbon cycle and fire regimes. We present new research that climate change is likely to alter the structure and function of savannas through shifts in moisture availability and increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), in turn altering fire regimes with further feedbacks to climate. We explore opportunities to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions from savanna ecosystems through changes in savanna fire management.

  5. Fire in Australian savannas: from leaf to landscape.

    PubMed

    Beringer, Jason; Hutley, Lindsay B; Abramson, David; Arndt, Stefan K; Briggs, Peter; Bristow, Mila; Canadell, Josep G; Cernusak, Lucas A; Eamus, Derek; Edwards, Andrew C; Evans, Bradley J; Fest, Benedikt; Goergen, Klaus; Grover, Samantha P; Hacker, Jorg; Haverd, Vanessa; Kanniah, Kasturi; Livesley, Stephen J; Lynch, Amanda; Maier, Stefan; Moore, Caitlin; Raupach, Michael; Russell-Smith, Jeremy; Scheiter, Simon; Tapper, Nigel J; Uotila, Petteri

    2015-01-01

    Savanna ecosystems comprise 22% of the global terrestrial surface and 25% of Australia (almost 1.9 million km2) and provide significant ecosystem services through carbon and water cycles and the maintenance of biodiversity. The current structure, composition and distribution of Australian savannas have coevolved with fire, yet remain driven by the dynamic constraints of their bioclimatic niche. Fire in Australian savannas influences both the biophysical and biogeochemical processes at multiple scales from leaf to landscape. Here, we present the latest emission estimates from Australian savanna biomass burning and their contribution to global greenhouse gas budgets. We then review our understanding of the impacts of fire on ecosystem function and local surface water and heat balances, which in turn influence regional climate. We show how savanna fires are coupled to the global climate through the carbon cycle and fire regimes. We present new research that climate change is likely to alter the structure and function of savannas through shifts in moisture availability and increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, in turn altering fire regimes with further feedbacks to climate. We explore opportunities to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions from savanna ecosystems through changes in savanna fire management.

  6. Savanna vegetation-fire-climate relationships differ among continents.

    PubMed

    Lehmann, Caroline E R; Anderson, T Michael; Sankaran, Mahesh; Higgins, Steven I; Archibald, Sally; Hoffmann, William A; Hanan, Niall P; Williams, Richard J; Fensham, Roderick J; Felfili, Jeanine; Hutley, Lindsay B; Ratnam, Jayashree; San Jose, Jose; Montes, Ruben; Franklin, Don; Russell-Smith, Jeremy; Ryan, Casey M; Durigan, Giselda; Hiernaux, Pierre; Haidar, Ricardo; Bowman, David M J S; Bond, William J

    2014-01-31

    Ecologists have long sought to understand the factors controlling the structure of savanna vegetation. Using data from 2154 sites in savannas across Africa, Australia, and South America, we found that increasing moisture availability drives increases in fire and tree basal area, whereas fire reduces tree basal area. However, among continents, the magnitude of these effects varied substantially, so that a single model cannot adequately represent savanna woody biomass across these regions. Historical and environmental differences drive the regional variation in the functional relationships between woody vegetation, fire, and climate. These same differences will determine the regional responses of vegetation to future climates, with implications for global carbon stocks.

  7. Eco-hydrology driven fire regime in savanna.

    PubMed

    Ursino, Nadia

    2014-08-21

    Fire is an important evolutionary force and ecosystem consumer that shapes savanna composition. However, ecologists have not comprehensively explained the functioning and maintenance of flammable savannas. A new minimal model accounting for the interdependence between soil saturation, biomass growth, fuel availability and fire has been used to predict the increasing tree density and fire frequency along a Mean Annual Rainfall (MAR) gradient for a typical savanna. Cyclic fire recurrence is reproduced using a predator prey approach in which fire is the "predator" and vegetation is the "prey". For the first time, fire frequency is not defined a priori but rather arises from the composition of vegetation, which determines fuel availability and water limitation. Soil aridity affects fuel production and fuel composition, thus indirectly affecting the ecosystem vulnerability to fire and fire frequency. The model demonstrates that two distinct eco-hydrological states correspond to different fire frequencies: (i) at low MAR, grass is abundant and the impact of fire on the environment is enhanced by the large fuel availability, (ii) at higher MAR, tree density progressively increases and provides less fuel for fire, leading to more frequent and less destructive fires, and (iii) the threshold MAR that determines the transition between the two states and the fire frequency at high MAR are affected by the vulnerability of trees to grass fire. The eco-hydrology-driven predator-prey model originally predicts that the transition between dry and wet savanna is characterized by a shift in wildfire frequency driven by major differences in soil moisture available for plants and savanna structure. The shift and the role of fire in conserving savanna ecosystems could not have been predicted if fire was considered as an external forcing rather than an intrinsic property of the ecosystem.

  8. Fire-free land use in pre-1492 Amazonian savannas

    PubMed Central

    Iriarte, José; Power, Mitchell J.; Rostain, Stéphen; Mayle, Francis E.; Jones, Huw; Watling, Jennifer; Whitney, Bronwen S.; McKey, Doyle B.

    2012-01-01

    The nature and scale of pre-Columbian land use and the consequences of the 1492 “Columbian Encounter” (CE) on Amazonia are among the more debated topics in New World archaeology and paleoecology. However, pre-Columbian human impact in Amazonian savannas remains poorly understood. Most paleoecological studies have been conducted in neotropical forest contexts. Of studies done in Amazonian savannas, none has the temporal resolution needed to detect changes induced by either climate or humans before and after A.D. 1492, and only a few closely integrate paleoecological and archaeological data. We report a high-resolution 2,150-y paleoecological record from a French Guianan coastal savanna that forces reconsideration of how pre-Columbian savanna peoples practiced raised-field agriculture and how the CE impacted these societies and environments. Our combined pollen, phytolith, and charcoal analyses reveal unexpectedly low levels of biomass burning associated with pre-A.D. 1492 savanna raised-field agriculture and a sharp increase in fires following the arrival of Europeans. We show that pre-Columbian raised-field farmers limited burning to improve agricultural production, contrasting with extensive use of fire in pre-Columbian tropical forest and Central American savanna environments, as well as in present-day savannas. The charcoal record indicates that extensive fires in the seasonally flooded savannas of French Guiana are a post-Columbian phenomenon, postdating the collapse of indigenous populations. The discovery that pre-Columbian farmers practiced fire-free savanna management calls into question the widely held assumption that pre-Columbian Amazonian farmers pervasively used fire to manage and alter ecosystems and offers fresh perspectives on an emerging alternative approach to savanna land use and conservation that can help reduce carbon emissions. PMID:22493248

  9. Fire-free land use in pre-1492 Amazonian savannas.

    PubMed

    Iriarte, José; Power, Mitchell J; Rostain, Stéphen; Mayle, Francis E; Jones, Huw; Watling, Jennifer; Whitney, Bronwen S; McKey, Doyle B

    2012-04-24

    The nature and scale of pre-Columbian land use and the consequences of the 1492 "Columbian Encounter" (CE) on Amazonia are among the more debated topics in New World archaeology and paleoecology. However, pre-Columbian human impact in Amazonian savannas remains poorly understood. Most paleoecological studies have been conducted in neotropical forest contexts. Of studies done in Amazonian savannas, none has the temporal resolution needed to detect changes induced by either climate or humans before and after A.D. 1492, and only a few closely integrate paleoecological and archaeological data. We report a high-resolution 2,150-y paleoecological record from a French Guianan coastal savanna that forces reconsideration of how pre-Columbian savanna peoples practiced raised-field agriculture and how the CE impacted these societies and environments. Our combined pollen, phytolith, and charcoal analyses reveal unexpectedly low levels of biomass burning associated with pre-A.D. 1492 savanna raised-field agriculture and a sharp increase in fires following the arrival of Europeans. We show that pre-Columbian raised-field farmers limited burning to improve agricultural production, contrasting with extensive use of fire in pre-Columbian tropical forest and Central American savanna environments, as well as in present-day savannas. The charcoal record indicates that extensive fires in the seasonally flooded savannas of French Guiana are a post-Columbian phenomenon, postdating the collapse of indigenous populations. The discovery that pre-Columbian farmers practiced fire-free savanna management calls into question the widely held assumption that pre-Columbian Amazonian farmers pervasively used fire to manage and alter ecosystems and offers fresh perspectives on an emerging alternative approach to savanna land use and conservation that can help reduce carbon emissions.

  10. Emissions from Miombo Woodland and Dambo Grassland Savanna Fires

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sinha, Parikhit; Hobbs, Peter V.; Yokelson, Robert J.; Blake, Donald R.; Gao, Song; Kirchstetter, Thomas W.

    2004-01-01

    Airborne measurements of trace gases and particles over and downwind of two prescribed savanna fires in Zambia are described. The measurements include profiles through the smoke plumes of condensation nucleus concentrations and normalized excess mixing ratios of particles and gases, emission factors for 42 trace gases and seven particulate species, and vertical profiles of ambient conditions. The fires were ignited in plots of miombo woodland savanna, the most prevalent savanna type in southern Africa, and dambo grassland savanna, an important enclave of miombo woodland ecosystems. Emission factors for the two fires are combined with measurements of fuel loading, combustion factors, and burned area (derived from satellite burn scar retrievals) to estimate the emissions of trace gases and particles from woodland and grassland savanna fires in Zambia and southern Africa during the dry season (May-October) of 2000. It is estimated that the emissions of CO2, CO, total hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides (NOx as NO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), formaldehyde, methyl bromide, total particulate matter, and black carbon from woodland and grassland savanna fires during the dry season of 2000 in southern Africa contributed 12.3%, 12.6%, 5.9%, 10.3%, 7.5%, 24.2%, 2.8%, 17.5%, and 11.1%, respectively, of the average annual emissions from all types of savanna fires worldwide. In 2000 the average annual emissions of methane, ethane, ethene, acetylene, propene, formaldehyde, methanol, and acetic acid from the use of biofuels in Zambia were comparable to or exceeded dry season emissions of these species from woodland and grassland savanna fires in Zambia.

  11. Fire drives functional thresholds on the savanna-forest transition.

    PubMed

    Dantas, Vinícius de L; Batalha, Marco A; Pausas, Juli G

    2013-11-01

    In tropical landscapes, vegetation patches with contrasting tree densities are distributed as mosaics. However, the locations of patches and densities of trees within them cannot be predicted by climate models alone. It has been proposed that plant-fire feedbacks drive functional thresholds at a landscape scale, thereby maintaining open (savanna) and closed (forest) communities as two distinct stable states. However, there is little rigorous field evidence for this threshold model. Here we aim to provide support for such a model from a field perspective and to analyze the functional and phylogenetic consequences of fire in a Brazilian savanna landscape (Cerrado). We hypothesize that, in tropical landscapes, savanna and forest are two stable states maintained by plant-fire feedbacks. If so, their functional and diversity attributes should change abruptly along a community closure gradient. We set 98 plots along a gradient from open savanna to closed forest in the Brazilian Cerrado and tested for a threshold pattern in nine functional traits, five soil features, and seven diversity indicators. We then tested whether the threshold pattern was associated with different fire regimes. Most community attributes presented a threshold pattern on the savanna-forest transition with coinciding breakpoints. The thresholds separated two community states: (1) open environments with low-diversity communities growing in poor soils and dominated by plants that are highly resistant to high-intensity fires; and (2) closed environments with highly diverse plant communities growing in more fertile soils and dominated by shade-tolerant species that efficiently prevent light from reaching the understory. In addition, each state was associated with contrasting fire regimes. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that forests and savannas are two coexisting stable states with contrasting patterns of function and diversity that are regulated by fire-plant feedbacks; our results also

  12. Managing the matrix: decadal responses of eucalypt-dominated savanna to ambient fire regimes.

    PubMed

    Russell-Smith, Jeremy; Price, Owen F; Murphy, Brett P

    2010-09-01

    Much of our understanding of the response of savanna systems to fire disturbance relies on observations derived from manipulative fire plot studies. Equivocal findings from both recent Australian and African savanna fire plot assessments have significant implications for informing conservation management and reliable estimation of biomass stocks and dynamics. Influential northern Australian replicated fire plot studies include the 24-year plot-scale Munmarlary and the five-year catchment-scale Kapalga, mesic savanna (> 1000 mm/yr of rainfall) experiments in present-day Kakadu National Park. At Munmarlary, under low-to-moderate-intensity fire treatments, woody vegetation dominated by mature eucalypts was found to be structurally stable. At Kapalga, substantial declines in woody biomass were observed under more intense fire treatments, and modeling assessments implicate early-season fires as having adverse effects on longer-term tree recruitment. Given these contrasting perspectives, here we take advantage of a landscape-scale fire response monitoring program established on three major northern Australian conservation reserves (Kakadu, Litchfield, and Nitmiluk National Parks). Using statistical modeling we assess the decadal effects of ambient fire regime parameters (fire frequency, severity, seasonality, time since fire) on 32 vegetation structure components and abundance of 21 tree and 16 grass species from 122 monitoring plots. Over the study period the mean annual frequency of burning of plots was 0.53, comprising mostly early-dry-season, low-severity fires. Structural and species responses were variable but often substantial, notably resulting in stem recruitment and declines in juveniles, but only weakly explained by fire regime and habitat variables. Modeling of these observations under three realistic scenarios (increased fire severity under projected worsening climate change; modest and significant reductions in fire frequency to meet conservation criteria

  13. Spiny plants, mammal browsers, and the origin of African savannas

    PubMed Central

    Charles-Dominique, Tristan; Davies, T. Jonathan; Hempson, Gareth P.; Bezeng, Bezeng S.; Kabongo, Ronny M.; Maurin, Olivier; Muasya, A. Muthama; van der Bank, Michelle; Bond, William J.

    2016-01-01

    Savannas first began to spread across Africa during the Miocene. A major hypothesis for explaining this vegetation change is the increase in C4 grasses, promoting fire. We investigated whether mammals could also have contributed to savanna expansion by using spinescence as a marker of mammal herbivory. Looking at the present distribution of 1,852 tree species, we established that spinescence is mainly associated with two functional types of mammals: large browsers and medium-sized mixed feeders. Using a dated phylogeny for the same tree species, we found that spinescence evolved at least 55 times. The diversification of spiny plants occurred long after the evolution of Afrotherian proboscideans and hyracoids. However, it is remarkably congruent with diversification of bovids, the lineage including the antelope that predominantly browse these plants today. Our findings suggest that herbivore-adapted savannas evolved several million years before fire-maintained savannas and probably, in different environmental conditions. Spiny savannas with abundant mammal herbivores occur in drier climates and on nutrient-rich soils, whereas fire-maintained savannas occur in wetter climates on nutrient-poor soils. PMID:27601649

  14. Spiny plants, mammal browsers, and the origin of African savannas.

    PubMed

    Charles-Dominique, Tristan; Davies, T Jonathan; Hempson, Gareth P; Bezeng, Bezeng S; Daru, Barnabas H; Kabongo, Ronny M; Maurin, Olivier; Muasya, A Muthama; van der Bank, Michelle; Bond, William J

    2016-09-20

    Savannas first began to spread across Africa during the Miocene. A major hypothesis for explaining this vegetation change is the increase in C4 grasses, promoting fire. We investigated whether mammals could also have contributed to savanna expansion by using spinescence as a marker of mammal herbivory. Looking at the present distribution of 1,852 tree species, we established that spinescence is mainly associated with two functional types of mammals: large browsers and medium-sized mixed feeders. Using a dated phylogeny for the same tree species, we found that spinescence evolved at least 55 times. The diversification of spiny plants occurred long after the evolution of Afrotherian proboscideans and hyracoids. However, it is remarkably congruent with diversification of bovids, the lineage including the antelope that predominantly browse these plants today. Our findings suggest that herbivore-adapted savannas evolved several million years before fire-maintained savannas and probably, in different environmental conditions. Spiny savannas with abundant mammal herbivores occur in drier climates and on nutrient-rich soils, whereas fire-maintained savannas occur in wetter climates on nutrient-poor soils.

  15. Modelling fire frequency in a Cerrado savanna protected area.

    PubMed

    Pereira Júnior, Alfredo C; Oliveira, Sofia L J; Pereira, José M C; Turkman, Maria Antónia Amaral

    2014-01-01

    Covering almost a quarter of Brazil, the Cerrado is the world's most biologically rich tropical savanna. Fire is an integral part of the Cerrado but current land use and agricultural practices have been changing fire regimes, with undesirable consequences for the preservation of biodiversity. In this study, fire frequency and fire return intervals were modelled over a 12-year time series (1997-2008) for the Jalapão State Park, a protected area in the north of the Cerrado, based on burned area maps derived from Landsat imagery. Burned areas were classified using object based image analysis. Fire data were modelled with the discrete lognormal model and the estimated parameters were used to calculate fire interval, fire survival and hazard of burning distributions, for seven major land cover types. Over the study period, an area equivalent to four times the size of Jalapão State Park burned and the mean annual area burned was 34%. Median fire intervals were generally short, ranging from three to six years. Shrub savannas had the shortest fire intervals, and dense woodlands the longest. Because fires in the Cerrado are strongly responsive to fuel age in the first three to four years following a fire, early dry season patch mosaic burning may be used to reduce the extent of area burned and the severity of fire effects.

  16. Modelling Fire Frequency in a Cerrado Savanna Protected Area

    PubMed Central

    Pereira Júnior, Alfredo C.; Oliveira, Sofia L. J.; Pereira, José M. C.; Turkman, Maria Antónia Amaral

    2014-01-01

    Covering almost a quarter of Brazil, the Cerrado is the world’s most biologically rich tropical savanna. Fire is an integral part of the Cerrado but current land use and agricultural practices have been changing fire regimes, with undesirable consequences for the preservation of biodiversity. In this study, fire frequency and fire return intervals were modelled over a 12-year time series (1997–2008) for the Jalapão State Park, a protected area in the north of the Cerrado, based on burned area maps derived from Landsat imagery. Burned areas were classified using object based image analysis. Fire data were modelled with the discrete lognormal model and the estimated parameters were used to calculate fire interval, fire survival and hazard of burning distributions, for seven major land cover types. Over the study period, an area equivalent to four times the size of Jalapão State Park burned and the mean annual area burned was 34%. Median fire intervals were generally short, ranging from three to six years. Shrub savannas had the shortest fire intervals, and dense woodlands the longest. Because fires in the Cerrado are strongly responsive to fuel age in the first three to four years following a fire, early dry season patch mosaic burning may be used to reduce the extent of area burned and the severity of fire effects. PMID:25054540

  17. Savanna fire and the origins of the 'underground forests' of Africa.

    PubMed

    Maurin, Olivier; Davies, T Jonathan; Burrows, John E; Daru, Barnabas H; Yessoufou, Kowiyou; Muasya, A Muthama; van der Bank, Michelle; Bond, William J

    2014-10-01

    The origin of fire-adapted lineages is a long-standing question in ecology. Although phylogeny can provide a significant contribution to the ongoing debate, its use has been precluded by the lack of comprehensive DNA data. Here, we focus on the 'underground trees' (=geoxyles) of southern Africa, one of the most distinctive growth forms characteristic of fire-prone savannas. We placed geoxyles within the most comprehensive dated phylogeny for the regional flora comprising over 1400 woody species. Using this phylogeny, we tested whether African geoxyles evolved concomitantly with those of the South American cerrado and used their phylogenetic position to date the appearance of humid savannas. We found multiple independent origins of the geoxyle life-form mostly from the Pliocene, a period consistent with the origin of cerrado, with the majority of divergences occurring within the last 2 million yr. When contrasted with their tree relatives, geoxyles occur in regions characterized by higher rainfall and greater fire frequency. Our results indicate that the geoxylic growth form may have evolved in response to the interactive effects of frequent fires and high precipitation. As such, geoxyles may be regarded as markers of fire-maintained savannas occurring in climates suitable for forests.

  18. Trace gas emissions to the atmosphere by biomass burning in the west African savannas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frouin, Robert J.; Iacobellis, Samuel F.; Razafimpanilo, Herisoa; Somerville, Richard C. J.

    1994-01-01

    Savanna fires and atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) detection and estimating burned area using Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer_(AVHRR) reflectance data are investigated in this two part research project. The first part involves carbon dioxide flux estimates and a three-dimensional transport model to quantify the effect of north African savanna fires on atmospheric CO2 concentration, including CO2 spatial and temporal variability patterns and their significance to global emissions. The second article describes two methods used to determine burned area from AVHRR data. The article discusses the relationship between the percentage of burned area and AVHRR channel 2 reflectance (the linear method) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) (the nonlinear method). A comparative performance analysis of each method is described.

  19. Fires in tropical savanna ecosystems -- The need for mitigation?

    SciTech Connect

    Ward, D.E.; Shea, R.; Hao, W.M.

    1994-12-31

    Fires in savanna ecosystems are usually considered to be ``natural`` in that the ecosystems where fire is present generally have evolved in the presence of fire. In the past several decades, with large increases in population in most of the tropical countries, there has been an accelerated demand for fuel wood, charcoal, building materials, and agriculture. The overall effect has been to reduce the above-ground biomass and to cycle the carbon more frequently. The authors discuss the mitigation strategies for reducing the release of carbon from charcoal production and shifting cultivation.

  20. Fire and home range expansion: a behavioral response to burning among savanna dwelling vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops).

    PubMed

    Herzog, Nicole M; Parker, Christopher H; Keefe, Earl R; Coxworth, James; Barrett, Alan; Hawkes, Kristen

    2014-08-01

    The behavioral adaptations of primates to fire-modified landscapes are of considerable interest to anthropologists because fire is fundamental to life in the African savanna-the setting in which genus Homo evolved. Here we report the behavioral responses of a savanna-dwelling primate, vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops), to fire-induced ecological change. Using behavioral and spatial data to characterize ranging patterns prior to and postburn and between burn and nonburn years, we show that these primates inhabiting small, spatially bound, riverine habitats take advantage of newly burned savanna landscapes. When subjects encountered controlled fires, they did not flee but instead avoided the path of the fire seemingly unbothered by its approach. After fire, the primates' home range expanded into newly burned but previously unused areas. These results contribute to understanding the response of non-human primates to fire-modified landscapes and can shed light on the nature and scope of opportunities and constraints posed by the emergence of fire-affected landscapes in the past. Results also expose deficiencies in our knowledge of fire-related behavioral responses in the primate lineage and highlight the need for further investigation of these responses as they relate to foraging opportunities, migration, resource use, and especially fire-centric adaptations in our own genus.

  1. Spatial vegetation patterns and neighborhood competition among woody plants in an East African savanna.

    PubMed

    Dohn, Justin; Augustine, David J; Hanan, Niall P; Ratnam, Jayashree; Sankaran, Mahesh

    2017-02-01

    The majority of research on savanna vegetation dynamics has focused on the coexistence of woody and herbaceous vegetation. Interactions among woody plants in savannas are relatively poorly understood. We present data from a 10-yr longitudinal study of spatially explicit growth patterns of woody vegetation in an East African savanna following exclusion of large herbivores and in the absence of fire. We examined plant spatial patterns and quantified the degree of competition among woody individuals. Woody plants in this semiarid savanna exhibit strongly clumped spatial distributions at scales of 1-5 m. However, analysis of woody plant growth rates relative to their conspecific and heterospecific neighbors revealed evidence for strong competitive interactions at neighborhood scales of up to 5 m for most woody plant species. Thus, woody plants were aggregated in clumps despite significantly decreased growth rates in close proximity to neighbors, indicating that the spatial distribution of woody plants in this region depends on dispersal and establishment processes rather than on competitive, density-dependent mortality. However, our documentation of suppressive effects of woody plants on neighbors also suggests a potentially important role for tree-tree competition in controlling vegetation structure and indicates that the balanced-competition hypothesis may contribute to well-known patterns in maximum tree cover across rainfall gradients in Africa.

  2. Impacts of savanna trees on forage quality for a large African herbivore

    PubMed Central

    De Kroon, Hans; Prins, Herbert H. T.

    2008-01-01

    Recently, cover of large trees in African savannas has rapidly declined due to elephant pressure, frequent fires and charcoal production. The reduction in large trees could have consequences for large herbivores through a change in forage quality. In Tarangire National Park, in Northern Tanzania, we studied the impact of large savanna trees on forage quality for wildebeest by collecting samples of dominant grass species in open grassland and under and around large Acacia tortilis trees. Grasses growing under trees had a much higher forage quality than grasses from the open field indicated by a more favourable leaf/stem ratio and higher protein and lower fibre concentrations. Analysing the grass leaf data with a linear programming model indicated that large savanna trees could be essential for the survival of wildebeest, the dominant herbivore in Tarangire. Due to the high fibre content and low nutrient and protein concentrations of grasses from the open field, maximum fibre intake is reached before nutrient requirements are satisfied. All requirements can only be satisfied by combining forage from open grassland with either forage from under or around tree canopies. Forage quality was also higher around dead trees than in the open field. So forage quality does not reduce immediately after trees die which explains why negative effects of reduced tree numbers probably go initially unnoticed. In conclusion our results suggest that continued destruction of large trees could affect future numbers of large herbivores in African savannas and better protection of large trees is probably necessary to sustain high animal densities in these ecosystems. PMID:18309522

  3. Seasonality of fire weather strongly influences fire regimes in South Florida savanna-grassland landscapes.

    PubMed

    Platt, William J; Orzell, Steve L; Slocum, Matthew G

    2015-01-01

    Fire seasonality, an important characteristic of fire regimes, commonly is delineated using seasons based on single weather variables (rainfall or temperature). We used nonparametric cluster analyses of a 17-year (1993-2009) data set of weather variables that influence likelihoods and spread of fires (relative humidity, air temperature, solar radiation, wind speed, soil moisture) to explore seasonality of fire in pine savanna-grassland landscapes at the Avon Park Air Force Range in southern Florida. A four-variable, three-season model explained more variation within fire weather variables than models with more seasons. The three-season model also delineated intra-annual timing of fire more accurately than a conventional rainfall-based two-season model. Two seasons coincided roughly with dry and wet seasons based on rainfall. The third season, which we labeled the fire season, occurred between dry and wet seasons and was characterized by fire-promoting conditions present annually: drought, intense solar radiation, low humidity, and warm air temperatures. Fine fuels consisting of variable combinations of pyrogenic pine needles, abundant C4 grasses, and flammable shrubs, coupled with low soil moisture, and lightning ignitions early in the fire season facilitate natural landscape-scale wildfires that burn uplands and across wetlands. We related our three season model to fires with different ignition sources (lightning, military missions, and prescribed fires) over a 13-year period with fire records (1997-2009). Largest wildfires originate from lightning and military ignitions that occur within the early fire season substantially prior to the peak of lightning strikes in the wet season. Prescribed ignitions, in contrast, largely occur outside the fire season. Our delineation of a pronounced fire season provides insight into the extent to which different human-derived fire regimes mimic lightning fire regimes. Delineation of a fire season associated with timing of

  4. Seasonality of Fire Weather Strongly Influences Fire Regimes in South Florida Savanna-Grassland Landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Platt, William J.; Orzell, Steve L.; Slocum, Matthew G.

    2015-01-01

    Fire seasonality, an important characteristic of fire regimes, commonly is delineated using seasons based on single weather variables (rainfall or temperature). We used nonparametric cluster analyses of a 17-year (1993–2009) data set of weather variables that influence likelihoods and spread of fires (relative humidity, air temperature, solar radiation, wind speed, soil moisture) to explore seasonality of fire in pine savanna-grassland landscapes at the Avon Park Air Force Range in southern Florida. A four-variable, three-season model explained more variation within fire weather variables than models with more seasons. The three-season model also delineated intra-annual timing of fire more accurately than a conventional rainfall-based two-season model. Two seasons coincided roughly with dry and wet seasons based on rainfall. The third season, which we labeled the fire season, occurred between dry and wet seasons and was characterized by fire-promoting conditions present annually: drought, intense solar radiation, low humidity, and warm air temperatures. Fine fuels consisting of variable combinations of pyrogenic pine needles, abundant C4 grasses, and flammable shrubs, coupled with low soil moisture, and lightning ignitions early in the fire season facilitate natural landscape-scale wildfires that burn uplands and across wetlands. We related our three season model to fires with different ignition sources (lightning, military missions, and prescribed fires) over a 13-year period with fire records (1997–2009). Largest wildfires originate from lightning and military ignitions that occur within the early fire season substantially prior to the peak of lightning strikes in the wet season. Prescribed ignitions, in contrast, largely occur outside the fire season. Our delineation of a pronounced fire season provides insight into the extent to which different human-derived fire regimes mimic lightning fire regimes. Delineation of a fire season associated with timing of

  5. Particle and Gas Emissions From a Savanna Fire From Biomass Burning in Southern Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hobbs, P. V.; Sinha, P.; Jilek, B.; Yokelson, R. J.; Blake, D. R.

    2001-12-01

    Airborne measurements of the emissions of particles and gases from a 1000 ha prescribed savanna fire in the Timbavati Game Park, South Africa, were obtained on September 7, 2000, during the Southern African Fire-Atmosphere Research Initiative 2000 (SAFARI-2000) field study. These measurements provide enhancement ratios and emission factors at various points downwind of the fire for a number of gaseous and particulate species, including CO2, CO, SO2, NOx, methane, non-methane hydrocarbons, halocarbons, organic acids, ionic aerosol, organic aerosols, and condensation nuclei (CN). The structure of the plume is revealed by profiles of CN concentrations and light scattering along the length of the plume. The decay of reactive hydrocarbons and the complementary formation of formaldehyde, ozone, and acetic acid are shown downwind of the fire. Aerosol size distributions show increases in concentrations of particles greater than 0.1 μ m in diameter with increasing distance from the fire. As the fire aged, emission factors of CO2 decreased while those of CO increased, indicating a shift from flaming to smoldering combustion. Vertical profiles of trace gases show peaks in water vapor, SO2, O3, and CN beneath strong temperature inversions above the fire. >http://cargsun2.atmos.washington.edu/sys/research/safari/

  6. The stability of African savannas: insights from the indirect estimation of the parameters of a dynamic model.

    PubMed

    Higgins, Steven I; Scheiter, Simon; Sankaran, Mahesh

    2010-06-01

    Savannas are characterized by a competitive tension between grasses and trees, and theoretical models illustrate how this competitive tension is influenced by resource availability, competition for these resources, and disturbances. How this universe of theoretical possibilities translates into the real world is, however, poorly understood. In this paper we indirectly parameterize a theoretical model of savanna dynamics with the aim of gaining insights as to how the grass-tree balance changes across a broad biogeographical gradient. We use data on the abundance of trees in African savannas and Markov chain Monte Carlo methods to estimate the model parameters. The analysis shows that grasses and trees can coexist over a broad range of rainfall regimes. Further, our results indicate that savannas may be regulated by either asymptotically stable dynamics (in the absence of fire) or by stable limit cycles (in the presence of fire). Rainfall does not influence which of these two classes of dynamics occurs. We conclude that, even though fire might not be necessary for grass-tree coexistence, it nonetheless is an important modifier of grass: tree ratios.

  7. Climate change and long-term fire management impacts on Australian savannas.

    PubMed

    Scheiter, Simon; Higgins, Steven I; Beringer, Jason; Hutley, Lindsay B

    2015-02-01

    Tropical savannas cover a large proportion of the Earth's land surface and many people are dependent on the ecosystem services that savannas supply. Their sustainable management is crucial. Owing to the complexity of savanna vegetation dynamics, climate change and land use impacts on savannas are highly uncertain. We used a dynamic vegetation model, the adaptive dynamic global vegetation model (aDGVM), to project how climate change and fire management might influence future vegetation in northern Australian savannas. Under future climate conditions, vegetation can store more carbon than under ambient conditions. Changes in rainfall seasonality influence future carbon storage but do not turn vegetation into a carbon source, suggesting that CO₂ fertilization is the main driver of vegetation change. The application of prescribed fires with varying return intervals and burning season influences vegetation and fire impacts. Carbon sequestration is maximized with early dry season fires and long fire return intervals, while grass productivity is maximized with late dry season fires and intermediate fire return intervals. The study has implications for management policy across Australian savannas because it identifies how fire management strategies may influence grazing yield, carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions. This knowledge is crucial to maintaining important ecosystem services of Australian savannas.

  8. Black carbon formation by savanna fires: Measurements and implications for the global carbon cycle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuhlbusch, T. A. J.; Andreae, M. O.; Cachier, H.; Goldammer, J. G.; Lacaux, J.-P.; Shea, R.; Crutzen, P. J.

    1996-10-01

    During a field study in southern Africa (Southern African Fire-Atmosphere Research Initiative (SAFARI-92)), black carbon formation was quantified in the residues of savanna fires. The volatilization ratios of C, H, N, and S were determined by measuring their contents in the fuel and residue loads on six experimental sites. The volatilization of sulfur (86 ± 8%) was significantly higher than previously reported. Volatilization of H, N, and S was significantly correlated with that of carbon, enabling us to estimate their volatilization during savanna fires by extrapolation from those of carbon. By partitioning the residues in various fractions (unburned, partially burned, and ash), a strong correlation between the H/C ratio in the residue and the formation of black carbon was obtained. The ratio of carbon contained in ash to carbon contained in the unburned and partially burned fraction is introduced as an indicator of the degree of charring. As nitrogen was enriched in the residue, especially in the ash fraction of >0.63 mm, this indicator may be useful for an assessment of nutrient cycling. We show that the formation of black carbon is dependent on the volatilization of carbon as well as the degree of charring. The ratio of black carbon produced to the carbon exposed to the fire in this field study (0.6-1.5%) was somewhat lower than in experimental fires under laboratory conditions (1.0-1.8%) which may be due to less complete combustion. The average ratio of black carbon in the residue to carbon emitted as CO2 ranged from 0.7 to 2.0%. Using these ratios together with various estimates of carbon exposed or emitted by savanna fires, the worldwide black carbon formation was estimated to be 10-26 Tg C yr-1 with more than 90% of the black carbon remaining on the ground. The formation of this black carbon is a net sink of biospheric carbon and thus of atmospheric CO2 as well as a source of O2.

  9. Fuel moisture content estimation: a land-surface modelling approach applied to African savannas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ghent, D.; Spessa, A.; Kaduk, J.; Balzter, H.

    2009-04-01

    Despite the importance of fire to the global climate system, in terms of emissions from biomass burning, ecosystem structure and function, and changes to surface albedo, current land-surface models do not adequately estimate key variables affecting fire ignition and propagation. Fuel moisture content (FMC) is considered one of the most important of these variables (Chuvieco et al., 2004). Biophysical models, with appropriate plant functional type parameterisations, are the most viable option to adequately predict FMC over continental scales at high temporal resolution. However, the complexity of plant-water interactions, and the variability associated with short-term climate changes, means it is one of the most difficult fire variables to quantify and predict. Our work attempts to resolve this issue using a combination of satellite data and biophysical modelling applied to Africa. The approach we take is to represent live FMC as a surface dryness index; expressed as the ratio between the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and land-surface temperature (LST). It has been argued in previous studies (Sandholt et al., 2002; Snyder et al., 2006), that this ratio displays a statistically stronger correlation to FMC than either of the variables, considered separately. In this study, simulated FMC is constrained through the assimilation of remotely sensed LST and NDVI data into the land-surface model JULES (Joint-UK Land Environment Simulator). Previous modelling studies of fire activity in Africa savannas, such as Lehsten et al. (2008), have reported significant levels of uncertainty associated with the simulations. This uncertainty is important because African savannas are among some of the most frequently burnt ecosystems and are a major source of greenhouse trace gases and aerosol emissions (Scholes et al., 1996). Furthermore, regional climate model studies indicate that many parts of the African savannas will experience drier and warmer conditions in future

  10. Implications of the spatial dynamics of fire spread for the bistability of savanna and forest.

    PubMed

    Schertzer, E; Staver, A C; Levin, S A

    2015-01-01

    The role of fire in expanding the global distribution of savanna is well recognized. Empirical observations and modeling suggest that fire spread has a threshold response to fuel-layer continuity, which sets up a positive feedback that maintains savanna-forest bistability. However, modeling has so far failed to examine fire spread as a spatial process that interacts with vegetation. Here, we use simple, well-supported assumptions about fire spread as an infection process and its effects on trees to ask whether spatial dynamics qualitatively change the potential for savanna-forest bistability. We show that the spatial effects of fire spread are the fundamental reason that bistability is possible: because fire spread is an infection process, it exhibits a threshold response to fuel continuity followed by a rapid increase in fire size. Other ecological processes affecting fire spread may also contribute including temporal variability in demography or fire spread. Finally, including the potential for spatial aggregation increases the potential both for savanna-forest bistability and for savanna and forest to coexist in a landscape mosaic.

  11. Deriving Multiple Benefits from Carbon Market-Based Savanna Fire Management: An Australian Example.

    PubMed

    Russell-Smith, Jeremy; Yates, Cameron P; Edwards, Andrew C; Whitehead, Peter J; Murphy, Brett P; Lawes, Michael J

    2015-01-01

    Carbon markets afford potentially useful opportunities for supporting socially and environmentally sustainable land management programs but, to date, have been little applied in globally significant fire-prone savanna settings. While fire is intrinsic to regulating the composition, structure and dynamics of savanna systems, in north Australian savannas frequent and extensive late dry season wildfires incur significant environmental, production and social impacts. Here we assess the potential of market-based savanna burning greenhouse gas emissions abatement and allied carbon biosequestration projects to deliver compatible environmental and broader socio-economic benefits in a highly biodiverse north Australian setting. Drawing on extensive regional ecological knowledge of fire regime effects on fire-vulnerable taxa and communities, we compare three fire regime metrics (seasonal fire frequency, proportion of long-unburnt vegetation, fire patch-size distribution) over a 15-year period for three national parks with an indigenously (Aboriginal) owned and managed market-based emissions abatement enterprise. Our assessment indicates improved fire management outcomes under the emissions abatement program, and mostly little change or declining outcomes on the parks. We attribute improved outcomes and putative biodiversity benefits under the abatement program to enhanced strategic management made possible by the market-based mitigation arrangement. For these same sites we estimate quanta of carbon credits that could be delivered under realistic enhanced fire management practice, using currently available and developing accredited Australian savanna burning accounting methods. We conclude that, in appropriate situations, market-based savanna burning activities can provide transformative climate change mitigation, ecosystem health, and community benefits in northern Australia, and, despite significant challenges, potentially in other fire-prone savanna settings.

  12. Deriving Multiple Benefits from Carbon Market-Based Savanna Fire Management: An Australian Example

    PubMed Central

    Russell-Smith, Jeremy; Yates, Cameron P.; Edwards, Andrew C.; Whitehead, Peter J.; Murphy, Brett P.; Lawes, Michael J.

    2015-01-01

    Carbon markets afford potentially useful opportunities for supporting socially and environmentally sustainable land management programs but, to date, have been little applied in globally significant fire-prone savanna settings. While fire is intrinsic to regulating the composition, structure and dynamics of savanna systems, in north Australian savannas frequent and extensive late dry season wildfires incur significant environmental, production and social impacts. Here we assess the potential of market-based savanna burning greenhouse gas emissions abatement and allied carbon biosequestration projects to deliver compatible environmental and broader socio-economic benefits in a highly biodiverse north Australian setting. Drawing on extensive regional ecological knowledge of fire regime effects on fire-vulnerable taxa and communities, we compare three fire regime metrics (seasonal fire frequency, proportion of long-unburnt vegetation, fire patch-size distribution) over a 15-year period for three national parks with an indigenously (Aboriginal) owned and managed market-based emissions abatement enterprise. Our assessment indicates improved fire management outcomes under the emissions abatement program, and mostly little change or declining outcomes on the parks. We attribute improved outcomes and putative biodiversity benefits under the abatement program to enhanced strategic management made possible by the market-based mitigation arrangement. For these same sites we estimate quanta of carbon credits that could be delivered under realistic enhanced fire management practice, using currently available and developing accredited Australian savanna burning accounting methods. We conclude that, in appropriate situations, market-based savanna burning activities can provide transformative climate change mitigation, ecosystem health, and community benefits in northern Australia, and, despite significant challenges, potentially in other fire-prone savanna settings. PMID:26630453

  13. Nutrient vectors and riparian nutrient processing in African semiarid savanna ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jacobs, Shayne M.; Bechtold, J.S.; Biggs, Harry C.; Grimm, N. B.; McClain, M.E.; Naiman, R.J.; Perakis, Steven S.; Pinay, G.; Scholes, M.C.

    2007-01-01

    This review article describes vectors for nitrogen and phosphorus delivery to riparian zones in semiarid African savannas, the processing of nutrients in the riparian zone and the effect of disturbance on these processes. Semiarid savannas exhibit sharp seasonality, complex hillslope hydrology and high spatial heterogeneity, all of which ultimately impact nutrient fluxes between riparian, upland and aquatic environments. Our review shows that strong environmental drivers such as fire and herbivory enhance nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment transport to lower slope positions by shaping vegetative patterns. These vectors differ significantly from other arid and semiarid ecosystems, and from mesic ecosystems where the impact of fire and herbivory are less pronounced and less predictable. Also unique is the presence of sodic soils in certain hillslopes, which substantially alters hydrological flowpaths and may act as a trap where nitrogen is immobilized while sediment and phosphorus transport is enhanced. Nutrients and sediments are also deposited in the riparian zone during seasonal, intermittent floods while, during the dry season, subsurface movement of water from the stream into riparian soils and vegetation further enrich riparian zones with nutrients. As is found in mesic ecosystems, nutrients are immobilized in semiarid riparian corridors through microbial and plant uptake, whereas dissimilatory processes such as denitrification may be important where labile nitrogen and carbon are in adequate supply and physical conditions are suitablea??such as in seeps, wallows created by animals, ephemeral wetlands and stream edges. Interaction between temporal hydrologic connectivity and spatial heterogeneity are disrupted by disturbances such as large floods and extended droughts, which may convert certain riparian patches from sinks to sources for nitrogen and phosphorus. In the face of increasing anthropogenic pressure, the scientific challenges are to provide a basic

  14. Trace Gas Measurements in Nascent, Aged and Cloud-processed Smoke from Africa Savanna Fires by Airborne Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (AFTIR)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yokelson, Robert J.; Bertschi, Isaac T.; Christian, Ted J.; Hobbs, Peter V.; Ward, Darold E.; Hao, Wei Min

    2003-01-01

    We measured stable and reactive trace gases with an airborne Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (AFTIR) on the University of Washington Convair-580 research aircraft in August/September 2000 during the SAFARI 2000 dry season campaign in Southern Africa. The measurements included vertical profiles of C02, CO, H20, and CH4 up to 5.5 km on six occasions above instrumented ground sites and below the TERRA satellite and ER-2 high-flying research aircraft. We also measured the trace gas emissions from 10 African savanna fires. Five of these fires featured extensive ground-based fuel characterization, and two were in the humid savanna ecosystem that accounts for most African biomass burning. The major constituents we detected in nascent CH3OOH, HCHO, CH30H, HCN, NH3, HCOOH, and C2H2. These are the first quantitative measurements of the initial emissions of oxygenated volatile organic compounds (OVOC), NH3, and HCN from African savanna fires. On average, we measured 5.3 g/kg of OVOC and 3.6 g/kg of hydrocarbons (including CH4) in the initial emissions from the fires. Thus, the OVOC will have profound, largely unexplored effects on tropical tropospheric chemistry. The HCN emission factor was only weakly dependent on fire type; the average value (0.53 g/kg) is about 20 times that of a previous recommendation. HCN may be useful as a tracer for savanna fires. Delta O3/Delta CO and Delta CH3COO/Delta CO increased to as much as 9% in <1 h of photochemical processing downwind of fires. Direct measurements showed that cloud processing of smoke greatly reduced CH30H, NH3, CH3COOH, SO2, and NO2 levels, but significantly increased HCHO and NO.

  15. Spatial pattern enhances ecosystem functioning in an African savanna.

    PubMed

    Pringle, Robert M; Doak, Daniel F; Brody, Alison K; Jocqué, Rudy; Palmer, Todd M

    2010-05-25

    The finding that regular spatial patterns can emerge in nature from local interactions between organisms has prompted a search for the ecological importance of these patterns. Theoretical models have predicted that patterning may have positive emergent effects on fundamental ecosystem functions, such as productivity. We provide empirical support for this prediction. In dryland ecosystems, termite mounds are often hotspots of plant growth (primary productivity). Using detailed observations and manipulative experiments in an African savanna, we show that these mounds are also local hotspots of animal abundance (secondary and tertiary productivity): insect abundance and biomass decreased with distance from the nearest termite mound, as did the abundance, biomass, and reproductive output of insect-eating predators. Null-model analyses indicated that at the landscape scale, the evenly spaced distribution of termite mounds produced dramatically greater abundance, biomass, and reproductive output of consumers across trophic levels than would be obtained in landscapes with randomly distributed mounds. These emergent properties of spatial pattern arose because the average distance from an arbitrarily chosen point to the nearest feature in a landscape is minimized in landscapes where the features are hyper-dispersed (i.e., uniformly spaced). This suggests that the linkage between patterning and ecosystem functioning will be common to systems spanning the range of human management intensities. The centrality of spatial pattern to system-wide biomass accumulation underscores the need to conserve pattern-generating organisms and mechanisms, and to incorporate landscape patterning in efforts to restore degraded habitats and maximize the delivery of ecosystem services.

  16. Multiple Scales of Control on the Structure and Spatial Distribution of Woody Vegetation in African Savanna Watersheds.

    PubMed

    Vaughn, Nicholas R; Asner, Gregory P; Smit, Izak P J; Riddel, Edward S

    2015-01-01

    Factors controlling savanna woody vegetation structure vary at multiple spatial and temporal scales, and as a consequence, unraveling their combined effects has proven to be a classic challenge in savanna ecology. We used airborne LiDAR (light detection and ranging) to map three-dimensional woody vegetation structure throughout four savanna watersheds, each contrasting in geologic substrate and climate, in Kruger National Park, South Africa. By comparison of the four watersheds, we found that geologic substrate had a stronger effect than climate in determining watershed-scale differences in vegetation structural properties, including cover, height and crown density. Generalized Linear Models were used to assess the spatial distribution of woody vegetation structural properties, including cover, height and crown density, in relation to mapped hydrologic, topographic and fire history traits. For each substrate and climate combination, models incorporating topography, hydrology and fire history explained up to 30% of the remaining variation in woody canopy structure, but inclusion of a spatial autocovariate term further improved model performance. Both crown density and the cover of shorter woody canopies were determined more by unknown factors likely to be changing on smaller spatial scales, such as soil texture, herbivore abundance or fire behavior, than by our mapped regional-scale changes in topography and hydrology. We also detected patterns in spatial covariance at distances up to 50-450 m, depending on watershed and structural metric. Our results suggest that large-scale environmental factors play a smaller role than is often attributed to them in determining woody vegetation structure in southern African savannas. This highlights the need for more spatially-explicit, wide-area analyses using high resolution remote sensing techniques.

  17. Multiple Scales of Control on the Structure and Spatial Distribution of Woody Vegetation in African Savanna Watersheds

    PubMed Central

    Vaughn, Nicholas R.; Asner, Gregory P.; Smit, Izak P. J.; Riddel, Edward S.

    2015-01-01

    Factors controlling savanna woody vegetation structure vary at multiple spatial and temporal scales, and as a consequence, unraveling their combined effects has proven to be a classic challenge in savanna ecology. We used airborne LiDAR (light detection and ranging) to map three-dimensional woody vegetation structure throughout four savanna watersheds, each contrasting in geologic substrate and climate, in Kruger National Park, South Africa. By comparison of the four watersheds, we found that geologic substrate had a stronger effect than climate in determining watershed-scale differences in vegetation structural properties, including cover, height and crown density. Generalized Linear Models were used to assess the spatial distribution of woody vegetation structural properties, including cover, height and crown density, in relation to mapped hydrologic, topographic and fire history traits. For each substrate and climate combination, models incorporating topography, hydrology and fire history explained up to 30% of the remaining variation in woody canopy structure, but inclusion of a spatial autocovariate term further improved model performance. Both crown density and the cover of shorter woody canopies were determined more by unknown factors likely to be changing on smaller spatial scales, such as soil texture, herbivore abundance or fire behavior, than by our mapped regional-scale changes in topography and hydrology. We also detected patterns in spatial covariance at distances up to 50–450 m, depending on watershed and structural metric. Our results suggest that large-scale environmental factors play a smaller role than is often attributed to them in determining woody vegetation structure in southern African savannas. This highlights the need for more spatially-explicit, wide-area analyses using high resolution remote sensing techniques. PMID:26660502

  18. Ecological thresholds at the savanna-forest boundary: how plant traits, resources and fire govern the distribution of tropical biomes.

    PubMed

    Hoffmann, William A; Geiger, Erika L; Gotsch, Sybil G; Rossatto, Davi R; Silva, Lucas C R; Lau, On Lee; Haridasan, M; Franco, Augusto C

    2012-07-01

    Fire shapes the distribution of savanna and forest through complex interactions involving climate, resources and species traits. Based on data from central Brazil, we propose that these interactions are governed by two critical thresholds. The fire-resistance threshold is reached when individual trees have accumulated sufficient bark to avoid stem death, whereas the fire-suppression threshold is reached when an ecosystem has sufficient canopy cover to suppress fire by excluding grasses. Surpassing either threshold is dependent upon long fire-free intervals, which are rare in mesic savanna. On high-resource sites, the thresholds are reached quickly, increasing the probability that savanna switches to forest, whereas low-resource sites are likely to remain as savanna even if fire is infrequent. Species traits influence both thresholds; saplings of savanna trees accumulate bark thickness more quickly than forest trees, and are more likely to become fire resistant during fire-free intervals. Forest trees accumulate leaf area more rapidly than savanna trees, thereby accelerating the transition to forest. Thus, multiple factors interact with fire to determine the distribution of savanna and forest by influencing the time needed to reach these thresholds. Future work should decipher multiple environmental controls over the rates of tree growth and canopy closure in savanna.

  19. Climate and the landscape of fear in an African savanna.

    PubMed

    Riginos, Corinna

    2015-01-01

    Herbivores frequently have to make trade-offs between two basic needs: the need to acquire forage and the need to avoid predation. One manifestation of this trade-off is the 'landscape of fear' phenomenon - wherein herbivores avoid areas of high perceived predation risk even if forage is abundant or of high quality in those areas. Although this phenomenon is well established among invertebrates, its applicability to terrestrial large herbivores remains debated, in part because experimental evidence is scarce. This study was designed to (i) experimentally test the effects of tree density - a key landscape feature associated with predation risk for African ungulates - on herbivore habitat use and (ii) establish whether habitat use patterns could be explained by trade-offs between foraging opportunities and predation risk avoidance. In a Kenyan savanna system, replicate plots dominated by the tree Acacia drepanolobium were cleared, thinned or left intact. Ungulate responses were measured over four years, which included years of moderate rainfall as well as a severe drought. Under average rainfall conditions, most herbivores (primarily plains zebra, Grant's gazelle and hartebeest) favoured sites with fewer trees and higher visibility - regardless of grass production - while elephants (too large to be vulnerable to predation) favoured sites with many trees. During the drought, however, herbivores favoured sites that had high grass biomass, but not high visibility. Thus, during the drought, herbivores sought areas where food was more abundant, despite probable higher risk of predation. These results illustrate that the 'landscape of fear', and the associated interactions between top-down and bottom-up effects, is not static, but rather shifts markedly under different conditions. Climate thus has the potential to alter the strength and spatial dynamics of behaviourally mediated cascades in large herbivore systems.

  20. Drivers of Recent Trends in African Landscape Fires

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andela, N.; van der Werf, G.

    2014-12-01

    Landscape fires play an important role in savannah ecosystem dynamics and are an important source of emissions of (greenhouse) gases and aerosols. Within the Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Climate (MACC) project these fires are monitored using MODIS satellite data which now provides more than a decade of continuous observations. Africa is nowadays responsible for about 70% of global burned area and about 50% of fire carbon emissions, affecting regional air quality and global atmospheric composition. Although it has been reported that fire activity varies according to climatic and anthropogenic influences, much remains unclear about the drivers of the spatial distribution of fire activity over the African continent and its temporal dynamics. Resolving the drivers of this spatiotemporal variability is crucial to understand the future role of fire on the African continent. We developed a model to account for variations in fire activity due to climate, and investigated the role of sea surface temperatures on rainfall patterns and thus fire dynamics. Spatial variation and trends in cropland extent were used to improve understanding of underlying trends caused by socio-economic changes. Over 2001-2012, satellite observations indicate strong but opposing trends in the African hemispheres. Changes in precipitation, driven by the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which changed from El Niño to la Niña dominance over the study period, contributed substantially to the upward trend over southern Africa. This shift also contributed to the downward trend in northern Africa, but here rapid demographic and socio-economic developments contributed equally. Given the economic perspective of Africa and the oscillative nature of ENSO, future African savannah burned area will likely decline. Using MACC and GFED emissions estimates we expect that in the long term this decrease may be so substantial that forests may take over savannas as the main source of global fire

  1. Savanna burning methodology for fire management and emissions reduction: a critical review of influencing factors.

    PubMed

    Maraseni, Tek Narayan; Reardon-Smith, Kathryn; Griffiths, Greg; Apan, Armando

    2016-12-01

    Savanna fire is a major source of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In Australia, savanna fire contributes about 3% of annual GHG emissions reportable to the Kyoto Protocol. In order to reduce GHG emissions from savanna burning, the Australian government has developed and approved a Kyoto compliant savanna controlled burning methodology-the first legal instrument of this kind at a global level-under its Emission Reduction Fund. However, this approved methodology is currently only applicable to nine vegetation fuel types across northern parts of Australia in areas which receive on average over 600 mm rainfall annually, covering only 15.4% of the total land area in Australia. Savanna ecosystems extend across a large proportion of mainland Australia. This paper provides a critical review of ten key factors that need to be considered in developing a savanna burning methodology applicable to the other parts of Australia. It will also inform discussion in other countries intent on developing similar emissions reduction strategies.

  2. The interactions of fire regimes, land management, vegetation dynamics and the atmosphere in northern Australian savannas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cook, Garry; Meyer, Mick

    2014-05-01

    The Australian tropical savannas burn with frequencies ranging from one in five to one in two years. Uniquely for an OECD country, these fires contribute substantially to accountable national greenhouse gas emissions. Concern about those emissions has led to the development of approaches to imprive fire management to reduce emissions and increase carbon sequestration. Savanna dyanmics are however, also determined by interactions with rainfall regimes. In this paper, we present an overview of fire regimes in northern Australia, their effects on the greenhouse gas emissions and how management of those fires interacts with climatic variability and likely climate change. Data will be presented from on-ground measurements of emissions, vegetation dyanamics as well as interpretation of satellite imagery of fire scars.

  3. Tree cover bimodality in savannas and forests emerging from the switching between two fire dynamics.

    PubMed

    De Michele, Carlo; Accatino, Francesco

    2014-01-01

    Moist savannas and tropical forests share the same climatic conditions and occur side by side. Experimental evidences show that the tree cover of these ecosystems exhibits a bimodal frequency distribution. This is considered as a proof of savanna-forest bistability, predicted by dynamic vegetation models based on non-linear differential equations. Here, we propose a change of perspective about the bimodality of tree cover distribution. We show, using a simple matrix model of tree dynamics, how the bimodality of tree cover can emerge from the switching between two linear dynamics of trees, one in presence and one in absence of fire, with a feedback between fire and trees. As consequence, we find that the transitions between moist savannas and tropical forests, if sharp, are not necessarily catastrophic.

  4. Fire alters ecosystem carbon and nutrients but not plant nutrient stoichiometry or composition in tropical savanna.

    PubMed

    Pellegrini, Adam F A; Hedin, Lars O; Staver, A Carla; Govender, Navashni

    2015-05-01

    Fire and nutrients interact to influence the global distribution and dynamics of the savanna biome, but the results of these interactions are both complex and poorly known. A critical but unresolved question is whether short-term losses of carbon and nutrients caused by fire can trigger long-term and potentially compensatory responses in the nutrient stoichiometry of plants, or in the abundance of dinitrogen-fixing trees. There is disagreement in the literature about the potential role of fire on savanna nutrients, and, in turn, on plant stoichiometry and composition. A major limitation has been the lack of fire manipulations over time scales sufficiently long for these interactions to emerge. We use a 58-year, replicated, large-scale, fire manipulation experiment in Kruger National Park (South Africa) in savanna to quantify the effect of fire on (1) distributions of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus at the ecosystem scale; (2) carbon: nitrogen: phosphorus stoichiometry of above- and belowground tissues of plant species; and (3) abundance of plant functional groups including nitrogen fixers. Our results show dramatic effects of fire on the relative distribution of nutrients in soils, but that individual plant stoichiometry and plant community composition remained unexpectedly resilient. Moreover, measures of nutrients and carbon stable isotopes allowed us to discount the role of tree cover change in favor of the turnover of herbaceous biomass as the primary mechanism that mediates a transition from low to high 'soil carbon and nutrients in the absence of fire. We conclude that, in contrast to extra-tropical grasslands or closed-canopy forests, vegetation in the savanna biome may be uniquely adapted to nutrient losses caused by recurring fire.

  5. Trace gas emissions to the atmosphere by biomass burning in the west African savannas. Final report, 1 October 1991-31 March 1994

    SciTech Connect

    Frouin, R.J.; Iacobellis, S.F.; Razafimpanilo, H.; Somerville, R.C.J.

    1994-08-01

    Savanna fires and atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) detection and estimating burned area using Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) reflectance data are investigated in this two part research project. The first part involves carbon dioxide flux estimates and a three-dimensional transport model to quantify the effect of North African savanna fires on atmospheric CO2 concentration, including CO2 spatial and temporal variability patterns and their significance to global emissions. The second article describes two methods used to determine burned area from AVHRR data. The article discusses the relationship between the percentage of burned area and AVHRR channel 2 reflectance (the linear method) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) (the nonlinear method). A comparative performance analysis of each method is described.

  6. Sources and sinks of methane in the African savanna. CH sub 4 emissions from biomass burning

    SciTech Connect

    Delmas, R.A.; Marenco, A. ); Tathy, J.P.; Cros, B. ); Baudet, J.G.R. )

    1991-04-20

    Sources and sinks of atmospheric methane are studied in savanna regions of west and central Africa. Flux measured over dry savanna soils, using static chambers, is always negative, the average uptake rate being 2 {times} 10{sup 10} molecules/cm{sup 2}/s. In these regions, sources are linked to biomass burning. Methane and CO{sub 2} emission from combustion of savanna plants and wood is studied by both field experiments and laboratory experiments using a combustion chamber. For savanna plants most of the carbon (85%) contained in the biomaterial is volatilized as CO{sub 2} and 0.1 to 0.25% as methane. For graminaceous plants like loudetia simplex the ratio C-CH{sub 4}/C-CO{sub 2} is 0.11%; it is 0.28% for hyparrhenia the other main type of savanna plants and it attains 1.4% for the combustion of wood. In natural fire plumes this ratio is around 0.26% for savanna fires and 0.56 to 2.22% for forest fires. These results show that methane release is highly dependent on the type of combustion. Methane to CO{sub 2} ratios are also studied in vertical profiles in the troposphere taken during the TROPOZ I campaign, an aerial research expedition carried out over west Africa during the bushfire period. Within polluted layers, the average ratio of CH{sub 4} to CO{sub 2} excess over ambient air concentration is 0.34%. These results show that biomass burning in tropical Africa constitutes an important source of atmospheric methane estimated to about 9.2 {times} 10{sup 6} T (CH{sub 4})/yr.

  7. Fire-Vegetation-Microclimate Feedbacks under Simulated Global Change in Savanna - Wetland Ecotones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Just, M.; Hohmann, M. G.; Hoffmann, W. A.

    2015-12-01

    Boundaries between pyrogenic and adjacent pyrophobic vegetation communities are created and maintained by positive feedbacks between fire, vegetation, and microclimate. These feedbacks either promote or hinder fire and the boundary is situated at the transition from flammable to non-flammable. Consequently, vegetation is only directly influenced by fire if it is burned. Therefore, revealing where fire stops between communities is important for understanding their capacity to withstand change. We identified vegetation structure and microclimate components as predictors of fire spread along a (pyrogenic) savanna - (pyrophobic) wetland ecotonal gradient in North Carolina, USA. The ability of the fire feedback to maintain the transition from flammable to non-flammable conditions under potential global change is not known. We built a cellular automaton which employed Markov transition probabilities and associated fire spread probabilities to simulate the conditions of the ecotonal gradient under differing fire frequencies. Changes to the gradient boundaries were estimated from the location of the flammable to non-flammable transition. Our simulations produced movement of the boundary under certain fire return intervals. In general, more frequent fires resulted in fire failure deeper into wetland, and less frequent fires resulted in fire failure nearer savanna. Our simulations indicate that fire feedbacks are capable of controlling boundary locations up to a perturbation threshold, but that this control is not absolute. The transition from flammable to non-flammable within these pyrogenic-pyrophobic ecotones is essential to distinct communities. The management and conservation of these systems is fire-focused and, therefore, improving predictions about where fire stops under global change is important for those objectives.

  8. Allocation strategies of savanna and forest tree seedlings in response to fire and shading: outcomes of a field experiment

    PubMed Central

    Gignoux, Jacques; Konaté, Souleymane; Lahoreau, Gaëlle; Le Roux, Xavier; Simioni, Guillaume

    2016-01-01

    The forest-savanna ecotone may be very sharp in fire-prone areas. Fire and competition for light play key roles in its maintenance, as forest and savanna tree seedlings are quickly excluded from the other ecosystem. We hypothesized a tradeoff between seedling traits linked to fire resistance and to competition for light to explain these exclusions. We compared growth- and survival-related traits of two savanna and two forest species in response to shading and fire in a field experiment. To interpret the results, we decomposed our broad hypothesis into elementary tradeoffs linked to three constraints, biomass allocation, plant architecture, and shade tolerance, that characterize both savanna and adjacent forest ecosystems. All seedlings reached similar biomasses, but forest seedlings grew taller. Savanna seedlings better survived fire after topkill and required ten times less biomass than forest seedlings to survive. Finally, only savanna seedlings responded to shading. Although results were consistent with the classification of our species as mostly adapted to shade tolerance, competition for light in the open, and fire tolerance, they raised new questions: how could savanna seedlings survive better with a 10-times lower biomass than forest seedlings? Is their shade intolerance sufficient to exclude them from forest understory? PMID:28000732

  9. Allocation strategies of savanna and forest tree seedlings in response to fire and shading: outcomes of a field experiment.

    PubMed

    Gignoux, Jacques; Konaté, Souleymane; Lahoreau, Gaëlle; Le Roux, Xavier; Simioni, Guillaume

    2016-12-21

    The forest-savanna ecotone may be very sharp in fire-prone areas. Fire and competition for light play key roles in its maintenance, as forest and savanna tree seedlings are quickly excluded from the other ecosystem. We hypothesized a tradeoff between seedling traits linked to fire resistance and to competition for light to explain these exclusions. We compared growth- and survival-related traits of two savanna and two forest species in response to shading and fire in a field experiment. To interpret the results, we decomposed our broad hypothesis into elementary tradeoffs linked to three constraints, biomass allocation, plant architecture, and shade tolerance, that characterize both savanna and adjacent forest ecosystems. All seedlings reached similar biomasses, but forest seedlings grew taller. Savanna seedlings better survived fire after topkill and required ten times less biomass than forest seedlings to survive. Finally, only savanna seedlings responded to shading. Although results were consistent with the classification of our species as mostly adapted to shade tolerance, competition for light in the open, and fire tolerance, they raised new questions: how could savanna seedlings survive better with a 10-times lower biomass than forest seedlings? Is their shade intolerance sufficient to exclude them from forest understory?

  10. Allocation strategies of savanna and forest tree seedlings in response to fire and shading: outcomes of a field experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gignoux, Jacques; Konaté, Souleymane; Lahoreau, Gaëlle; Le Roux, Xavier; Simioni, Guillaume

    2016-12-01

    The forest-savanna ecotone may be very sharp in fire-prone areas. Fire and competition for light play key roles in its maintenance, as forest and savanna tree seedlings are quickly excluded from the other ecosystem. We hypothesized a tradeoff between seedling traits linked to fire resistance and to competition for light to explain these exclusions. We compared growth- and survival-related traits of two savanna and two forest species in response to shading and fire in a field experiment. To interpret the results, we decomposed our broad hypothesis into elementary tradeoffs linked to three constraints, biomass allocation, plant architecture, and shade tolerance, that characterize both savanna and adjacent forest ecosystems. All seedlings reached similar biomasses, but forest seedlings grew taller. Savanna seedlings better survived fire after topkill and required ten times less biomass than forest seedlings to survive. Finally, only savanna seedlings responded to shading. Although results were consistent with the classification of our species as mostly adapted to shade tolerance, competition for light in the open, and fire tolerance, they raised new questions: how could savanna seedlings survive better with a 10-times lower biomass than forest seedlings? Is their shade intolerance sufficient to exclude them from forest understory?

  11. African Savanna-Forest Boundary Dynamics: A 20-Year Study.

    PubMed

    Cuni-Sanchez, Aida; White, Lee J T; Calders, Kim; Jeffery, Kathryn J; Abernethy, Katharine; Burt, Andrew; Disney, Mathias; Gilpin, Martin; Gomez-Dans, Jose L; Lewis, Simon L

    2016-01-01

    Recent studies show widespread encroachment of forest into savannas with important consequences for the global carbon cycle and land-atmosphere interactions. However, little research has focused on in situ measurements of the successional sequence of savanna to forest in Africa. Using long-term inventory plots we quantify changes in vegetation structure, above-ground biomass (AGB) and biodiversity of trees ≥10 cm diameter over 20 years for five vegetation types: savanna; colonising forest (F1), monodominant Okoume forest (F2); young Marantaceae forest (F3); and mixed Marantaceae forest (F4) in Lopé National Park, central Gabon, plus novel 3D terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) measurements to assess forest structure differences. Over 20 years no plot changed to a new stage in the putative succession, but F1 forests strongly moved towards the structure, AGB and diversity of F2 forests. Overall, savanna plots showed no detectable change in structure, AGB or diversity using this method, with zero trees ≥10 cm diameter in 1993 and 2013. F1 and F2 forests increased in AGB, mainly as a result of adding recruited stems (F1) and increased Basal Area (F2), whereas F3 and F4 forests did not change substantially in structure, AGB or diversity. Critically, the stability of the F3 stage implies that this stage may be maintained for long periods. Soil carbon was low, and did not show a successional gradient as for AGB and diversity. TLS vertical plant profiles showed distinctive differences amongst the vegetation types, indicating that this technique can improve ecological understanding. We highlight two points: (i) as forest colonises, changes in biodiversity are much slower than changes in forest structure or AGB; and (ii) all forest types store substantial quantities of carbon. Multi-decadal monitoring is likely to be required to assess the speed of transition between vegetation types.

  12. African Savanna-Forest Boundary Dynamics: A 20-Year Study

    PubMed Central

    Cuni-Sanchez, Aida; White, Lee J. T.; Calders, Kim; Jeffery, Kathryn J.; Abernethy, Katharine; Burt, Andrew; Disney, Mathias; Gilpin, Martin; Gomez-Dans, Jose L.; Lewis, Simon L.

    2016-01-01

    Recent studies show widespread encroachment of forest into savannas with important consequences for the global carbon cycle and land-atmosphere interactions. However, little research has focused on in situ measurements of the successional sequence of savanna to forest in Africa. Using long-term inventory plots we quantify changes in vegetation structure, above-ground biomass (AGB) and biodiversity of trees ≥10 cm diameter over 20 years for five vegetation types: savanna; colonising forest (F1), monodominant Okoume forest (F2); young Marantaceae forest (F3); and mixed Marantaceae forest (F4) in Lopé National Park, central Gabon, plus novel 3D terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) measurements to assess forest structure differences. Over 20 years no plot changed to a new stage in the putative succession, but F1 forests strongly moved towards the structure, AGB and diversity of F2 forests. Overall, savanna plots showed no detectable change in structure, AGB or diversity using this method, with zero trees ≥10 cm diameter in 1993 and 2013. F1 and F2 forests increased in AGB, mainly as a result of adding recruited stems (F1) and increased Basal Area (F2), whereas F3 and F4 forests did not change substantially in structure, AGB or diversity. Critically, the stability of the F3 stage implies that this stage may be maintained for long periods. Soil carbon was low, and did not show a successional gradient as for AGB and diversity. TLS vertical plant profiles showed distinctive differences amongst the vegetation types, indicating that this technique can improve ecological understanding. We highlight two points: (i) as forest colonises, changes in biodiversity are much slower than changes in forest structure or AGB; and (ii) all forest types store substantial quantities of carbon. Multi-decadal monitoring is likely to be required to assess the speed of transition between vegetation types. PMID:27336632

  13. Seasonal variation in the relative dominance of herbivore guilds in an African savanna.

    PubMed

    Davies, Andrew B; van Rensburg, Berndt J; Robertson, Mark P; Levick, Shaun R; Asner, Gregory P; Parr, Catherine L

    2016-06-01

    African savannas are highly seasonal with a diverse array of both mammalian and invertebrate herbivores, yet herbivory studies have focused almost exclusively on mammals. We conducted a 2-yr exclosure experiment in South Africa's Kruger National Park to measure the relative impact of these two groups of herbivores on grass removal at both highly productive patches (termite mounds) and in the less productive savanna matrix. Invertebrate and mammalian herbivory was greater on termite mounds, but the relative importance of each group changed over time. Mammalian offtake was higher than invertebrates in the dry season, but can be eclipsed by invertebrates during the wet season when this group is more active. Our results demonstrate that invertebrates play a substantial role in savanna herbivory and should not be disregarded in attempts to understand the impacts of herbivory on ecosystems.

  14. Fire Patterns and Drivers of Fires in the West African Tropical Forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dwomoh, F. K.; Wimberly, M. C.

    2015-12-01

    The West African tropical forest (referred to as the Upper Guinean forest, UGF), is a global biodiversity hotspot providing vital ecosystem services for the region's socio-economic and environmental wellbeing. It is also one of the most fragmented and human-modified tropical forest ecosystems, with the only remaining large patches of original forests contained in protected areas. However, these remnant forests are susceptible to continued fire-mediated degradation and forest loss due to intense climatic, demographic and land use pressures. We analyzed human and climatic drivers of fire activity in the sub-region to better understand the spatial and temporal patterns of these risks. We utilized MODIS active fire and burned area products to identify fire activity within the sub-region. We measured climatic variability using TRMM rainfall data and derived indicators of human land use from a variety of geospatial datasets. We used a boosted regression trees model to determine the influences of predictor variables on fire activity. Our analyses indicated that the spatial and temporal variability of precipitation is a key driving factor of fire activity in the UGF. Anthropogenic effects on fire activity in the area were evident through the influences of agriculture and low-density populations. These human footprints in the landscape make forests more susceptible to fires through forest fragmentation, degradation, and fire spread from agricultural areas. Forested protected areas within the forest savanna mosaic experienced frequent fires, whereas the more humid forest areas located in the south and south-western portions of the study area had fewer fires as these rainforests tend to offer some buffering against fire encroachment. These results improve characterization of UGF fire regime and expand our understanding of the spatio-temporal dynamics of tropical forest fires in response to human and climatic pressures.

  15. Small-scale fuel variation alters fire intensity and shrub abundance in a pine savanna.

    PubMed

    Thaxton, Jarrod M; Platt, William J

    2006-05-01

    Small-scale variation in fire intensity and effects may be an important source of environmental heterogeneity in frequently burned plant communities. We hypothesized that variation in fire intensity resulting from local differences in fuel loads produces heterogeneity in pine savanna ground cover by altering shrub abundance. To test this hypothesis, we experimentally manipulated prefire fuel loads to mimic naturally occurring fuel-load heterogeneity associated with branch falls, needle fall near large pines, and animal disturbances in a frequently burned longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) savanna in Louisiana, USA. We applied one of four fuel treatments (unaltered control, fine-fuel removal, fine-fuel addition, wood addition) to each of 540 (1-m2) quadrats prior to growing-season prescribed fires in each of two years (1999 and 2001). In both years fuel addition increased (and fuel removal decreased) fuel consumption and maximum fire temperatures relative to unaltered controls. Fuel addition, particularly wood, increased damage to shrubs, increased shrub mortality, and decreased resprout density relative to controls. We propose that local variation in fire intensity may contribute to maintenance of high species diversity in pine savannas by reducing shrub abundance and creating openings in an otherwise continuous ground cover.

  16. A New Application to Facilitate Post-Fire Recovery and Rehabilitation in Savanna Ecosystems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Carroll, Mark L.; Schnase, John L.; Weber, Keith T.; Brown, Molly E.; Gill, Roger L.; Haskett, George W.; Gardner, Tess A.

    2013-01-01

    The U.S. government spends an estimated $3billion per year to fight forest fires in the United States. Post-fire rehabilitation activities represent a small but essential portion of that total. The Rehabilitation Capability Convergence for Ecosystem Recovery (RECOVER) system is currently under development for Savanna ecosystems in the western U.S. The prototype of this system has been built and will have realworld testing during the summer 2013 fire season. When fully deployed, the RECOVER system will provide the emergency rehabilitation teams with critical and timely information for management decisions regarding stabilization and rehabilitation strategies.

  17. Emission Factors of Greenhouse Gases and Particulates from Australian Savanna Fires

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Desservettaz, Maximilien; Paton-Walsh, Clare; Griffith, David; Kettlewell, Graham; Wilson, Stephen; Keywood, Melita; Van der Schoot, Marcel; Seleck, Paul; Ward, Jason; Harwell, James; Reisen, Fabienne; Lawson, Sarah; Ristovski, Zoran; Mallet, Marc; Miljevic, Brenka; Milic, Andjelija; Atkinson, Brad

    2016-04-01

    In June 2014 a measurement campaign took place at the Australian Tropical Atmospheric Research Station (ATARS), in the Northern Territory, Australia, during the early dry season. The campaign was focused on understanding biomass burning emissions from savanna fires. In order to achieve this, a suite of aerosol, reactive and trace gases instruments were deployed. Seven smoke events were extracted from the 4 weeks of continuous measurements using carbon monoxide as a proxy for biomass burning. Those events were then analysed and emission factors were calculated for CO2, CO, CH4, N2O, NOx and aerosols (Aitken and Accumulation mode, and chemical speciation), along with the modified combustion efficiency (MCE). Upon review of the emission factors, smoke events could then be classified in 3 groups: high MCE events (0.98) were characterised by emission factors typical of savanna grass fires while low MCE events (0.88) were characteristic of shrub fires. Intermediate MCE events (0.93) were found not to reflect any distinct vegetation type. This presentation will outline the campaign and present emission factors of trace and reactive gases as well as the first emission factors for aerosols reported for Australian savanna fires.

  18. Tree cover in sub-Saharan Africa: rainfall and fire constrain forest and savanna as alternative stable states.

    PubMed

    Staver, A Carla; Archibald, Sally; Levin, Simon

    2011-05-01

    Savannas are known as ecosystems with tree cover below climate-defined equilibrium values. However, a predictive framework for understanding constraints on tree cover is lacking. We present (a) a spatially extensive analysis of tree cover and fire distribution in sub-Saharan Africa, and (b) a model, based on empirical results, demonstrating that savanna and forest may be alternative stable states in parts of Africa, with implications for understanding savanna distributions. Tree cover does not increase continuously with rainfall, but rather is constrained to low (<50%, "savanna") or high tree cover (>75%, "forest"). Intermediate tree cover rarely occurs. Fire, which prevents trees from establishing, differentiates high and low tree cover, especially in areas with rainfall between 1000 mm and 2000 mm. Fire is less important at low rainfall (<1000 mm), where rainfall limits tree cover, and at high rainfall (>2000 mm), where fire is rare. This pattern suggests that complex interactions between climate and disturbance produce emergent alternative states in tree cover. The relationship between tree cover and fire was incorporated into a dynamic model including grass, savanna tree saplings, and savanna trees. Only recruitment from sapling to adult tree varied depending on the amount of grass in the system. Based on our empirical analysis and previous work, fires spread only at tree cover of 40% or less, producing a sigmoidal fire probability distribution as a function of grass cover and therefore a sigmoidal sapling to tree recruitment function. This model demonstrates that, given relatively conservative and empirically supported assumptions about the establishment of trees in savannas, alternative stable states for the same set of environmental conditions (i.e., model parameters) are possible via a fire feedback mechanism. Integrating alternative stable state dynamics into models of biome distributions could improve our ability to predict changes in biome distributions

  19. Modeling the effects of anthropogenic habitat change on savanna snake invasions into African rainforest.

    PubMed

    Freedman, Adam H; Buermann, Wolfgang; Lebreton, Matthew; Chirio, Laurent; Smith, Thomas B

    2009-02-01

    We used a species-distribution modeling approach, ground-based climate data sets, and newly available remote-sensing data on vegetation from the MODIS and Quick Scatterometer sensors to investigate the combined effects of human-caused habitat alterations and climate on potential invasions of rainforest by 3 savanna snake species in Cameroon, Central Africa: the night adder (Causus maculatus), olympic lined snake (Dromophis lineatus), and African house snake (Lamprophis fuliginosus). Models with contemporary climate variables and localities from native savanna habitats showed that the current climate in undisturbed rainforest was unsuitable for any of the snake species due to high precipitation. Limited availability of thermally suitable nest sites and mismatches between important life-history events and prey availability are a likely explanation for the predicted exclusion from undisturbed rainforest. Models with only MODIS-derived vegetation variables and savanna localities predicted invasion in disturbed areas within the rainforest zone, which suggests that human removal of forest cover creates suitable microhabitats that facilitate invasions into rainforest. Models with a combination of contemporary climate, MODIS- and Quick Scatterometer-derived vegetation variables, and forest and savanna localities predicted extensive invasion into rainforest caused by rainforest loss. In contrast, a projection of the present-day species-climate envelope on future climate suggested a reduction in invasion potential within the rainforest zone as a consequence of predicted increases in precipitation. These results emphasize that the combined responses of deforestation and climate change will likely be complex in tropical rainforest systems.

  20. Assessing fire emissions from tropical savanna and forests of central Brazil

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Riggan, Philip J.; Brass, James A.; Lockwood, Robert N.

    1993-01-01

    Wildfires in tropical forest and savanna are a strong source of trace gas and particulate emissions to the atmosphere, but estimates of the continental-scale impacts are limited by large uncertainties in the rates of fire occurrence and biomass combustion. Satellite-based remote sensing offers promise for characterizing fire physical properties and impacts on the environment, but currently available sensors saturate over high-radiance targets and provide only indications of regions and times at which fires are extensive and their areal rate of growing as recorded in ash layers. Here we describe an approach combining satellite- and aircraft-based remote sensing with in situ measurements of smoke to estimate emissions from central Brazil. These estimates will improve global accounting of radiation-absorbing gases and particulates that may be contributing to climate change and will provide strategic data for fire management.

  1. Emissions of Trace Gases and Particles from Savanna Fires in Southern Africa

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sinha, Parikhit; Hobbs, Peter V.; Yokelson, Robert J.; Bertschi, Isaac T.; Blake, Donald R.; Simpson, Isobel J.; Gao, Song; Kirchstetter, Thomas W.; Novakov, Tica

    2003-01-01

    Airborne measurements made on initial smoke from 10 savanna fires in southern Africa provide quantitative data on emissions of 50 gaseous and particulate species, including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, methane, ammonia, dimethyl sulfide, nonmethane organic compounds, halocarbons, gaseous organic acids, aerosol ionic components, carbonaceous aerosols, and condensation nuclei (CN). Measurements of several of the gaseous species by gas chromatography and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy are compared. Emission ratios and emission factors are given for eight species that have not been reported previously for biomass burning of savanna in southern Africa (namely, dimethyl sulfide, methyl nitrate, five hydrocarbons, and particles with diameters from 0.1 to 3 microns). The emission factor that we measured for ammonia is lower by a factor of 4, and the emission factors for formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, and CN are greater by factors of about 3, 20, and 3 - 15, respectively, than previously reported values. The new emission factors are used to estimate annual emissions of these species from savanna fires in Africa and worldwide.

  2. Episodic nitrous oxide soil emissions in Brazilian savanna (cerrado) fire-scars. Final technical report

    SciTech Connect

    Nobre, A.D.; Crill, P.M.; Harriss, R.C.

    1994-08-01

    The seasonally burned cerrados of Brazil are the largest savanna-type ecosystem of South America and their contribution to the global atmospheric nitrous oxide (N2O) budget is unknown. Four types of fire-scarred cerrado along a vegetation gradient from grassland to forest were investigated during the wet season of 1992/93. The effect of fire and subsequent water additions on epiodic emissions of N2O and the associated profile dynamic of soil/gas phase N2O concentrations were studied for several months. Additionally, the effect on episodic emissions of N2O of nitrate and glucose additions to a cerrado soil after fire and the associated profile dynamic of soil/gas phase N2O mixing ratios were determined. Finally, N2O episodic emissions in cerrado converted to corn, soybean, and pasture fields were investigated during one growing/wet season. Results showed N2O consumption/emission for the four fire-scared savanna ecosystems, for nitrogen and carbon fertilization, and for agriculture/pasture ranging from -0.3 to +0.7, 1.8 to 9.1, and 0.5 to 3.7 g N2O-N ha(exp -1) d(exp -1), respectively. During the wet season the cerrado biome does not appear to be a major source of N2O to the troposphere, even following fire events. However, the results of this study suggest that conversion of the cerrado to high input agriculture, with liming and fertilization, can increase N2O emissions more than ten fold.

  3. Episodic nitrous oxide soil emissions in Brazilian savanna (cerrado) fire-scars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nobre, A. D.; Crill, P. M.; Harriss, R. C.

    1994-01-01

    The seasonally burned cerrados of Brazil are the largest savanna-type ecosystem of South America and their contribution to the global atmospheric nitrous oxide (N20) budget is unknown. Four types of fire-scarred cerrado along a vegetation gradient from grassland to forest were investigated during the wet season of 1992/93. The effect of fire and subsequent water additions on epiodic emissions of N2O and the associated profile dynamic of soil/gas phase N2O concentrations were studied for several months. Additionally, the effect on episodic emissions of N2O of nitrate and glucose additions to a cerrado soil after fire and the associated profile dynamic of soil/gas phase N2O mixing ratios were determined. Finally, N2O episodic emissions in cerrado converted to corn, soybean, and pasture fields were investigated during one growing/wet season. Results showed N2O consumption/emission for the four fire-scared savanna ecosystems, for nitrogen and carbon fertilization, and for agriculture/pasture ranging from -0.3 to +0.7, 1.8 to 9.1, and 0.5 to 3.7 g N2O-N ha(exp -1) d(exp -1), respectively. During the wet season the cerrado biome does not appear to be a major source of N2O to the troposphere, even following fire events. However, the results of this study suggest that conversion of the cerrado to high input agriculture, with liming and fertilization, can increase N2O emissions more than ten fold.

  4. Shifts in functional traits elevate risk of fire-driven tree dieback in tropical savanna and forest biomes.

    PubMed

    Pellegrini, Adam F A; Franco, Augusto C; Hoffmann, William A

    2016-03-01

    Numerous predictions indicate rising CO2 will accelerate the expansion of forests into savannas. Although encroaching forests can sequester carbon over the short term, increased fires and drought-fire interactions could offset carbon gains, which may be amplified by the shift toward forest plant communities more susceptible to fire-driven dieback. We quantify how bark thickness determines the ability of individual tree species to tolerate fire and subsequently determine the fire sensitivity of ecosystem carbon across 180 plots in savannas and forests throughout the 2.2-million km(2) Cerrado region in Brazil. We find that not accounting for variation in bark thickness across tree species underestimated carbon losses in forests by ~50%, totaling 0.22 PgC across the Cerrado region. The lower bark thicknesses of plant species in forests decreased fire tolerance to such an extent that a third of carbon gains during forest encroachment may be at risk of dieback if burned. These results illustrate that consideration of trait-based differences in fire tolerance is critical for determining the climate-carbon-fire feedback in tropical savanna and forest biomes.

  5. Metapopulation dynamics of the mistletoe and its host in savanna areas with different fire occurrence.

    PubMed

    Teodoro, Grazielle Sales; van den Berg, Eduardo; Arruda, Rafael

    2013-01-01

    Mistletoes are aerial hemiparasitic plants which occupy patches of favorable habitat (host trees) surrounded by unfavorable habitat and may be possibly modeled as a metapopulation. A metapopulation is defined as a subdivided population that persists due to the balance between colonization and extinction in discrete habitat patches. Our aim was to evaluate the dynamics of the mistletoe Psittacanthus robustus and its host Vochysia thyrsoidea in three Brazilian savanna areas using a metapopulation approach. We also evaluated how the differences in terms of fire occurrence affected the dynamic of those populations (two areas burned during the study and one was fire protected). We monitored the populations at six-month intervals. P. robustus population structure and dynamics met the expected criteria for a metapopulation: i) the suitable habitats for the mistletoe occur in discrete patches; (ii) local populations went extinct during the study and (iii) colonization of previously non-occupied patches occurred. The ratio of occupied patches decreased in all areas with time. Local mistletoe populations went extinct due to two different causes: patch extinction in area with no fire and fire killing in the burned areas. In a burned area, the largest decrease of occupied patch ratios occurred due to a fire event that killed the parasites without, however, killing the host trees. The greatest mortality of V. thyrsoidea occurred in the area without fire. In this area, all the dead trees supported mistletoe individuals and no mortality was observed for parasite-free trees. Because P. robustus is a fire sensitive species and V. thyrsoidea is fire tolerant, P. robustus seems to increase host mortality, but its effect is lessened by periodic burning that reduces the parasite loads.

  6. Metapopulation Dynamics of the Mistletoe and Its Host in Savanna Areas with Different Fire Occurrence

    PubMed Central

    Teodoro, Grazielle Sales; van den Berg, Eduardo; Arruda, Rafael

    2013-01-01

    Mistletoes are aerial hemiparasitic plants which occupy patches of favorable habitat (host trees) surrounded by unfavorable habitat and may be possibly modeled as a metapopulation. A metapopulation is defined as a subdivided population that persists due to the balance between colonization and extinction in discrete habitat patches. Our aim was to evaluate the dynamics of the mistletoe Psittacanthus robustus and its host Vochysia thyrsoidea in three Brazilian savanna areas using a metapopulation approach. We also evaluated how the differences in terms of fire occurrence affected the dynamic of those populations (two areas burned during the study and one was fire protected). We monitored the populations at six-month intervals. P. robustus population structure and dynamics met the expected criteria for a metapopulation: i) the suitable habitats for the mistletoe occur in discrete patches; (ii) local populations went extinct during the study and (iii) colonization of previously non-occupied patches occurred. The ratio of occupied patches decreased in all areas with time. Local mistletoe populations went extinct due to two different causes: patch extinction in area with no fire and fire killing in the burned areas. In a burned area, the largest decrease of occupied patch ratios occurred due to a fire event that killed the parasites without, however, killing the host trees. The greatest mortality of V. thyrsoidea occurred in the area without fire. In this area, all the dead trees supported mistletoe individuals and no mortality was observed for parasite-free trees. Because P. robustus is a fire sensitive species and V. thyrsoidea is fire tolerant, P. robustus seems to increase host mortality, but its effect is lessened by periodic burning that reduces the parasite loads. PMID:23776554

  7. Shifts in Functional Traits Elevate Risk of Fire-driven Tree Dieback in Tropical Savanna-forest Biomes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pellegrini, A.; Franco, A. C.; Hoffmann, W. A.

    2015-12-01

    Rising CO2 is predicted to accelerate the expansion of forests into savannas. Although encroaching forests can sequester carbon over the short-term, the carbon pools may become increasingly sensitive to fire due to a shift towards plant communities more susceptible to fire-driven dieback. We quantify how functional traits determine the ability of individual tree species to tolerate fire and subsequently determine the fire-sensitivity of ecosystem carbon across 180 plots throughout the 2.2-million km2 Cerrado region in Brazil. We find that accounting for variation in functional traits fundamentally changes fire-driven dieback predictions: savannas and forests switched from having similar amounts of potential carbon losses to forests containing substantially greater potential carbon losses when differences in functional traits were considered. In fact, we find that not accounting for variation in functional traits underestimated carbon losses in forests by ~50%, summing to an underestimation of 0.22PgC across the Cerrado region. In total, shifts in the fire sensitivity of forests due to changes in community composition and functional traits may offset a third of carbon gains during forest encroachment. These results illustrate that functional traits are critical for determining the climate-carbon-fire feedback in tropical savanna-forest biomes.

  8. Micrometeorological and leaf-level measurements of isoprene emissions from a southern African savanna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harley, Peter; Otter, Luanne; Guenther, Alex; Greenberg, James

    2003-07-01

    In February 2001, as part of the Southern African Regional Science Initiative (SAFARI 2000), isoprene fluxes were measured for 8 days using the relaxed eddy accumulation technique from a 21-m tower in a Combretum-Acacia savanna in Kruger National Park, 13 km from Skukuza, RSA. Despite warm and sunny conditions, midday isoprene concentrations were low, averaging 0.39 nL/L. Fluxes of isoprene increased through the morning hours, with midday fluxes averaging 0.34 mg m-2 h-1 and a maximum measured flux of approximately 1.0 mg m-2 h-1. Consistent with these low fluxes, leaf enclosure measurements of woody species within the tower footprint determined that only one isoprene-emitting species, Acacia nigrescens, was present in significant numbers, comprising less than 10% of the woody biomass. Combining enclosure data with species composition and leaf area index data from the site, we estimated that the isoprene emission capacity of the vegetation within the vicinity of the tower was very low, approximately 0.47 mg m-2 h-1, and patchy. Under these circumstances, low and variable fluxes are expected. Additional leaf enclosure measurements, for a total of 121 species, were made at other locations, and approximately 35% of the species was found to emit significant amounts of isoprene. Important isoprene emitting plant families included Caesalpinaceae, Mimosaceae, Papilionaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Moraceae, and Myrtaceae. Twelve members of the important savanna genus Acacia were measured, of which five species, all belonging in Subgenus Aculeiferum, Section Aculeiferum, were found to emit significant amounts of isoprene. In contrast, the plant family, Combretaceae, dominant in many savanna ecosystems, was found to contain no species which emit isoprene.

  9. Late Holocene vegetation and fire dynamics from a savanna-forest ecotone in Roraima state, northern Brazilian Amazon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    da Silva Meneses, Maria Ecilene Nunes; da Costa, Marcondes Lima; Behling, Hermann

    2013-03-01

    Two sediment cores from Mauritia flexuosa palm swamps have been studied by pollen and charcoal analysis. The cores Fazenda Cigana (FC) and Terra Indígena Aningal (TIA) were taken from a savanna-forest ecotone area in the Roraima State, northern Brazilian Amazon. Based on 5 radiocarbon dates, these records allow the reconstruction of the vegetation fire and climate dynamics during the past 1550 years. At the FC site was recorded a higher proportion of forest cover, suggesting local wetter climatic conditions favorable for forest expansion, especially by gallery forests, between 1550 and 1400 cal yr BP. Stands of M. flexuosa started to establish on the site indicating sufficient soil moisture. From 1400 to 1050 cal yr BP, forest cover retreated while savanna, and the Mauritia palm swamp expanded considerably. The FC site was marked by savanna and Mauritia cover with a slight increase of forest between ca. 1050 and 900 cal yr BP. From 900 to 300 cal yr BP the savanna and palm swamp taxa became dominant and the forest area decreased. At the TIA site the savanna cover was dominant between 1200 and 1000 cal yr BP. From 1000 to 700 forest expanded while savanna and Mauritia palm swamp reduced. Between 700 and 300 cal yr BP savanna and Mauritia palm swamp increased and forest area decreased. The high amount of charred particles found in the sediments, indicate fires with a marked increase between 1400 to 1000 cal yr BP (FC site) and 700 to 300 cal yr BP (TIA site), and probably caused the retreat of forest cover during these two time intervals. The relatively lower fire activity after 300 cal yr BP until present-day favored the increase of forested area at both TIA and FC sites. The arrival of the European settler and the subsequent introduction of cattle, is suggested as the main reason for the decrease of fire in the study region. The results point the fire caused by indigenous people as the principal controlling factor for forest and savanna dynamics during the past

  10. A spatio-temporal analysis of fire recurrence and extent for semi-arid savanna ecosystems in Southern Africa using moderate-resolution satellite imagery.

    PubMed

    Pricope, Narcisa G; Binford, Michael W

    2012-06-15

    Savanna ecosystems are semi-arid and fire-prone. Increasing temperatures and decreasing precipitation in Southern Africa will probably have a series of strong impacts on the various components of fire regimes in these ecosystems that will, in turn, affect their ecology, structure, and function. This paper presents a geospatial analysis to quantify changes in fire frequency, seasonality and spatial distribution during the last decade and creates a fire return interval map for the core area of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, which spans five Southern African countries and is the largest cooperative multistate conservation region in the world. To disentangle the relative contribution of environmental variability from country-specific land management decisions in driving changes in fire regimes, we use two different products from the MODIS Terra platform (Active Fire and Burned Area products), TRMM precipitation data and the Multivariate ENSO Index data to analyze change in fire regimes among the five countries, differentiating between different land uses such as protected areas, forest reserves, and communal lands and accounting for specific changes in fire management policies. There are significant differences in fire frequencies between countries with more effective fire management (Botswana and Zimbabwe) and countries where anthropogenic, mainly early-dry season, burning is largely uncontrolled (Namibia, Angola, and Zambia), both within and outside protected areas, while all countries and land-use units show an overall increasing trend in fire occurrences. Large fire occurrences increased up to 200% in the period before the beginning of the natural fire season in Namibia, where a new prescribed burn policy was introduced in 2006, while the other countries show a slightly different shift in seasonality of increasing fire occurrences mainly during the dry season. The mean size of fires also increases significantly across all land uses despite

  11. Airborne studies of aerosol emissions from savanna fires in southern Africa: 2. Aerosol chemical composition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andreae, M. O.; Andreae, T. W.; Annegarn, H.; Beer, J.; Cachier, H.; Le Canut, P.; Elbert, W.; Maenhaut, W.; Salma, I.; Wienhold, F. G.; Zenker, T.

    1998-12-01

    We investigated smoke emissions from fires in savanna, forest, and agricultural ecosystems by airborne sampling of plumes close to prescribed burns and incidental fires in southern Africa. Aerosol samples were collected on glass fiber filters and on stacked filter units, consisting of a Nuclepore prefilter for particles larger than ˜1-2 μm and a Teflon second filter stage for the submicron fraction. The samples were analyzed for soluble ionic components, organic carbon, and black carbon. Onboard the research aircraft, particle number and volume distributions as a function of size were determined with a laser-optical particle counter and the black carbon content of the aerosol with an aethalometer. We determined the emission ratios (relative to CO2 and CO) and emission factors (relative to the amount of biomass burnt) for the various aerosol constituents. The smoke aerosols were rich in organic and black carbon, the latter representing 10-30% of the aerosol mass. K+ and NH4+ were the dominant cationic species in the smoke of most fires, while Cl- and SO42- were the most important anions. The aerosols were unusually rich in Cl-, probably due to the high Cl content of the semiarid vegetation. Comparison of the element budget of the fuel before and after the fires shows that the fraction of the elements released during combustion is highly variable between elements. In the case of the halogen elements, almost the entire amount released during the fire is present in the aerosol phase, while in the case of C, N, and S, only a small proportion ends up as particulate matter. This suggests that the latter elements are present predominantly as gaseous species in the fresh fire plumes studied here.

  12. Effects of tree harvest on the stable-state dynamics of savanna and forest.

    PubMed

    Tredennick, Andrew T; Hanan, Niall P

    2015-05-01

    Contemporary theory on the maintenance and stability of the savanna biome has focused extensively on how climate and disturbances interact to affect tree growth and demography. In particular, the role of fire in reducing tree cover from climatic maxima is now well appreciated, and in certain cases, herbivory also strongly affects tree cover. However, in African savannas and forests, harvest of trees by humans for cooking and heating is an oft overlooked disturbance. Thus, we incorporate tree harvest into a population dynamic model of grasses, savanna saplings, savanna trees, and forest trees. We use assumptions about the differential demographic responses of savanna trees and forest trees to harvest to show how tree harvest influences tree cover, demography, and community composition. Tree harvest can erode the intrinsic basin of attraction for forest and make a state transition via fire to savanna more likely. The savanna state is generally resilient to all but high levels of tree harvest because of the resprouting abilities of savanna trees. In the absence of active fire suppression, our analysis suggests that we can expect to see large and potentially irreversible shifts from forest to savanna as demand increases for charcoal in sub-Saharan Africa. On the other hand, savanna tree species' traits promote savanna stability in the face of low to moderate harvest pressure.

  13. Comparison of nitrogen monoxide emissions from several African tropical ecosystems and influence of season and fire

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    SerçA, D.; Delmas, R.; Le Roux, X.; Parsons, D. A. B.; Scholes, M. C.; Abbadie, L.; Lensi, R.; Ronce, O.; Labroue, L.

    1998-12-01

    NO emission rates from soils were measured for twelve major African ecosystems in four countries (Congo, Niger, Ivory Coast, and South Africa) and within four major phytogeographic domains: the Guineo-Congolese, Guinean, Sahelian, and Zambezian domains. Measurements were performed during wet and/or dry seasons. All the measurements were made with the same dynamic chamber device, which allowed true comparisons to be made. This study showed that emission rates strongly differed between ecosystems and exhibited a marked temporal variability. Ecosystem effect was highly significant during both the dry and wet seasons. Emission rates were low (<0.6 ng NO-N m-2 s-1) in Hyparrhenia and Loudetia savannas of the Guinean or Guineo-Congolese domains. Intermediate NO fluxes were obtained in rain forest and gallery forest ecosystems, in a broad-leafed savanna and in a seasonally wetted grassland (sandy soil) of the Zambezian domain, and in a dry fallow savanna of the Sahelian domain. Emission rates were maximum (>7 ng NO-N m-2 s-1) in a seasonally wetted grassland (site 2) and in particular sites subjected to various disturbances, for example soil fauna activity (termite mounds) or past human disturbance (Acacia patches-settlement site). Microbial activity potentials (i.e., carbon mineralization, nitrification, denitrification, and total net N mineralization) were determined for most of the soils where NO fluxes were measured. In some sites, these potential activities were useful to identify the major processes controlling NO emission rates. Denitrification potential was very low and could not explain substantial NO fluxes from broad- and fine-leafed savannas and Hyperihelia savannas of the Zambezian domain. Very low potentials of both nitrification and denitrification could be related to the low NO fluxes for the three Guinean savanna sites studied. NO fluxes were significantly higher during the wet season than the dry season in both savanna and forest ecosystems. Emission

  14. Stem and leaf gas exchange and their responses to fire in a north Australian tropical savanna.

    PubMed

    Cernusak, Lucas A; Hutley, Lindsay B; Beringer, Jason; Tapper, Nigel J

    2006-04-01

    We measured stem CO2 efflux and leaf gas exchange in a tropical savanna ecosystem in northern Australia, and assessed the impact of fire on these processes. Gas exchange of mature leaves that flushed after a fire showed only slight differences from that of mature leaves on unburned trees. Expanding leaves typically showed net losses of CO2 to the atmosphere in both burned and unburned trees, even under saturating irradiance. Fire caused stem CO2 efflux to decline in overstory trees, when measured 8 weeks post-fire. This decline was thought to have resulted from reduced availability of C substrate for respiration, due to reduced canopy photosynthesis caused by leaf scorching, and to priority allocation of fixed C towards reconstruction of a new canopy. At the ecosystem scale, we estimated the annual above-ground woody-tissue CO2 efflux to be 275 g C m(-2) ground area year(-1) in a non-fire year, or approximately 13% of the annual gross primary production. We contrasted the canopy physiology of two co-dominant overstory tree species, one of which has a smooth bark on its branches capable of photosynthetic re-fixation (Eucalyptus miniata), and the other of which has a thick, rough bark incapable of re-fixation (Eucalyptus tetrodonta). Eucalyptus miniata supported a larger branch sapwood cross-sectional area in the crown per unit subtending leaf area, and had higher leaf stomatal conductance and photosynthesis than E. tetrodonta. Re-fixation by photosynthetic bark reduces the C cost of delivering water to evaporative sites in leaves, because it reduces the net C cost of constructing and maintaining sapwood. We suggest that re-fixation allowed leaves of E. miniata to photosynthesize at higher rates than those of E. tetrodonta, while the two invested similar amounts of C in the maintenance of branch sapwood.

  15. Influence of Fire Mosaics, Habitat Characteristics and Cattle Disturbance on Mammals in Fire-Prone Savanna Landscapes of the Northern Kimberley

    PubMed Central

    Radford, Ian J.; Gibson, Lesley A.; Corey, Ben; Carnes, Karin; Fairman, Richard

    2015-01-01

    Patch mosaic burning, in which fire is used to produce a mosaic of habitat patches representative of a range of fire histories (‘pyrodiversity’), has been widely advocated to promote greater biodiversity. However, the details of desired fire mosaics for prescribed burning programs are often unspecified. Threatened small to medium-sized mammals (35 g to 5.5 kg) in the fire-prone tropical savannas of Australia appear to be particularly fire-sensitive. Consequently, a clear understanding of which properties of fire mosaics are most instrumental in influencing savanna mammal populations is critical. Here we use mammal capture data, remotely sensed fire information (i.e. time since last fire, fire frequency, frequency of late dry season fires, diversity of post-fire ages in 3 km radius, and spatial extent of recently burnt, intermediate and long unburnt habitat) and structural habitat attributes (including an index of cattle disturbance) to examine which characteristics of fire mosaics most influence mammals in the north-west Kimberley. We used general linear models to examine the relationship between fire mosaic and habitat attributes on total mammal abundance and richness, and the abundance of the most commonly detected species. Strong negative associations of mammal abundance and richness with frequency of late dry season fires, the spatial extent of recently burnt habitat (post-fire age <1 year within 3 km radius) and level of cattle disturbance were observed. Shrub cover was positively related to both mammal abundance and richness, and availability of rock crevices, ground vegetation cover and spatial extent of ≥4 years unburnt habitat were all positively associated with at least some of the mammal species modelled. We found little support for diversity of post-fire age classes in the models. Our results indicate that both a high frequency of intense late dry season fires and extensive, recently burnt vegetation are likely to be detrimental to mammals in the

  16. Influence of Fire Mosaics, Habitat Characteristics and Cattle Disturbance on Mammals in Fire-Prone Savanna Landscapes of the Northern Kimberley.

    PubMed

    Radford, Ian J; Gibson, Lesley A; Corey, Ben; Carnes, Karin; Fairman, Richard

    2015-01-01

    Patch mosaic burning, in which fire is used to produce a mosaic of habitat patches representative of a range of fire histories ('pyrodiversity'), has been widely advocated to promote greater biodiversity. However, the details of desired fire mosaics for prescribed burning programs are often unspecified. Threatened small to medium-sized mammals (35 g to 5.5 kg) in the fire-prone tropical savannas of Australia appear to be particularly fire-sensitive. Consequently, a clear understanding of which properties of fire mosaics are most instrumental in influencing savanna mammal populations is critical. Here we use mammal capture data, remotely sensed fire information (i.e. time since last fire, fire frequency, frequency of late dry season fires, diversity of post-fire ages in 3 km radius, and spatial extent of recently burnt, intermediate and long unburnt habitat) and structural habitat attributes (including an index of cattle disturbance) to examine which characteristics of fire mosaics most influence mammals in the north-west Kimberley. We used general linear models to examine the relationship between fire mosaic and habitat attributes on total mammal abundance and richness, and the abundance of the most commonly detected species. Strong negative associations of mammal abundance and richness with frequency of late dry season fires, the spatial extent of recently burnt habitat (post-fire age <1 year within 3 km radius) and level of cattle disturbance were observed. Shrub cover was positively related to both mammal abundance and richness, and availability of rock crevices, ground vegetation cover and spatial extent of ≥4 years unburnt habitat were all positively associated with at least some of the mammal species modelled. We found little support for diversity of post-fire age classes in the models. Our results indicate that both a high frequency of intense late dry season fires and extensive, recently burnt vegetation are likely to be detrimental to mammals in the

  17. Contributions of microbial activity and ash deposition to post-fire nitrogen availability in a pine savanna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ficken, Cari D.; Wright, Justin P.

    2017-01-01

    Many ecosystems experience drastic changes to soil nutrient availability associated with fire, but the magnitude and duration of these changes are highly variable among vegetation and fire types. In pyrogenic pine savannas across the southeastern United States, pulses of soil inorganic nitrogen (N) occur in tandem with ecosystem-scale nutrient losses from prescribed burns. Despite the importance of this management tool for restoring and maintaining fire-dependent plant communities, the contributions of different mechanisms underlying fire-associated changes to soil N availability remain unclear. Pulses of N availability following fire have been hypothesized to occur through (1) changes to microbial cycling rates and (2) direct ash deposition. Here, we document fire-associated changes to N availability across the growing season in a longleaf pine savanna in North Carolina. To differentiate between possible mechanisms driving soil N pulses, we measured net microbial cycling rates and changes to soil δ15N before and after a burn. Our findings refute both proposed mechanisms: we found no evidence for changes in microbial activity, and limited evidence that ash deposition could account for the increase in ammonium availability to more than 5-25 times background levels. Consequently, we propose a third mechanism to explain post-fire patterns of soil N availability, namely that (3) changes to plant sink strength may contribute to ephemeral increases in soil N availability, and encourage future studies to explicitly test this mechanism.

  18. Convergent phylogenetic and functional responses to altered fire regimes in mesic savanna grasslands of North America and South Africa.

    PubMed

    Forrestel, Elisabeth J; Donoghue, Michael J; Smith, Melinda D

    2014-08-01

    The importance of fire in the creation and maintenance of mesic grassland communities is well recognized. Improved understanding of how grasses--the dominant clade in these important ecosystems--will respond to alterations in fire regimes is needed in the face of anthropogenically driven climate and land-use change. Here, we examined how grass communities shift in response to experimentally manipulated fire regimes at multiple levels of community diversity--taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional--in C4-dominanted mesic savanna grassland sites with similar structure and physiognomy, yet disparate biogeographic histories. We found that the grass communities were similar in their phylogenetic response and aspects of their functional response to high fire frequency. Both sites exhibited phylogenetic clustering of highly abundant species in annually burned plots, driven by species of the Andropogoneae, and a narrow range of functional strategies associated with rapid post-fire regeneration in a high-light, nitrogen-limited environment. By examining multiple facets of diversity in a comparative context, we identified convergent phylogenetic and functional responses to altered fire regimes in two mesic savanna grasslands. Our results highlight the importance of a common filtering process associated with fire that is consistent across grasslands of disparate biogeographic histories and taxonomic representation.

  19. Emission Factors of Greenhouse Gases and Particulates from Australian Savanna Fires

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Desservettaz, M.; Paton-Walsh, C.; Griffith, D. W. T.; Kettlewell, G.; Wilson, S. R.; Keywood, M. D.; van der Schoot, M. V.; Selleck, P. W.; Ward, J.; Harnwell, J.; Reisen, F.; Lawson, S. J.; Ristovski, Z.; Mallet, M.; Miljevic, B.; Atkinson, B.; Milic, A.

    2015-12-01

    In June 2014 a measurement campaign took place at Gunn Point in the Northern Territory, Australia, aimed at characterising the emissions from early dry season savanna fires. The campaign was especially focused on understanding aerosol composition and size distribution. Equipment deployed to measure aerosol properties included a multi-angle absorption photometer, a nephelometer, a cloud condensation nuclei counter, a condensation particle counter, two scanning mobility particle sizer, two aerosol mass spectrometers (one a time of flight instrument) , a multi-axis differential optical absorption spectrometer, a volatility-humidity tandem differential mobility analyser and two high volume aerosol samplers (one PM10 and one MOUDI). In addition there were measurements of mercury in both gas and aerosol phase. Complementary measurements of trace gases were provided by a proton transfer reaction mass spectrometer, a volatile organic compounds sequencer, a Fourier transform spectrometer, an ozone analyser and a nitrogen oxides monitor. This presentation will present results from the Fourier transform spectrometer, the scanning mobility particulate sizer, the beta attenuation monitor and the aerosol mass spectrometer. In particular individual fire events have been identified and emission factors calculated for CO2, CO, CH4 N2O and aerosols (PM1, PM10, Aitken and Accumulation mode).

  20. Long-distance dispersal in a fire- and livestock-protected savanna

    PubMed Central

    Tarazi, Roberto; Sebbenn, Alexandre M; Kageyama, Paulo Y; Vencovsky, Roland

    2013-01-01

    Savannas are highly diverse and dynamic environments that can shift to forest formations due to protection policies. Long-distance dispersal may shape the genetic structure of these new closed forest formations. We analyzed eight microsatellite loci using a single-time approach to understand contemporary pollen and effective seed dispersal of the tropical tree, Copaifera langsdorffii Desf. (Fabaceae), occurring in a Brazilian fire- and livestock-protected savanna. We sampled all adult trees found within a 10.24 ha permanent plot, young trees within a subplot of 1.44 ha and open-pollinated seeds. We detected a very high level of genetic diversity among the three generations in the studied plot. Parentage analysis revealed high pollen immigration rate (0.64) and a mean contemporary pollen dispersal distance of 74 m. In addition, half-sib production was 1.8 times higher than full-sibs in significant higher distances, indicating foraging activity preference for different trees at long distances. There was a significant and negative correlation between diameter at breast height (DBH) of the pollen donor with the number of seeds (r = −0.640, P-value = 0.032), suggesting that pollen donor trees with a higher DBH produce less seeds. The mean distance of realized seed dispersal (recruitment kernel) was 135 m due to the large home range dispersers (birds and mammals) in the area. The small magnitude of spatial genetic structure found in young trees may be a consequence of overlapping seed shadows and increased tree density. Our results show the positive side of closed canopy expansion, where animal activities regarding pollination and seed dispersal are extremely high. PMID:23610640

  1. Brief communication: Reaction to fire by savanna chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) at Fongoli, Senegal: Conceptualization of "fire behavior" and the case for a chimpanzee model.

    PubMed

    Pruetz, Jill D; LaDuke, Thomas C

    2010-04-01

    The use and control of fire are uniquely human traits thought to have come about fairly late in the evolution of our lineage, and they are hypothesized to correlate with an increase in intellectual complexity. Given the relatively sophisticated cognitive abilities yet small brain size of living apes compared to humans and even early hominins, observations of wild chimpanzees' reactions to naturally occurring fire can help inform hypotheses about the likely responses of early hominins to fire. We use data on the behavior of savanna chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) at Fongoli, Senegal during two encounters with wildfires to illuminate the similarities between great apes and humans regarding their reaction to fire. Chimpanzees' close relatedness to our lineage makes them phylogenetically relevant to the study of hominid evolution, and the open, hot and dry environment at Fongoli, similar to the savanna mosaic thought to characterize much of hominid evolution, makes these apes ecologically important as a living primate model as well. Chimpanzees at Fongoli calmly monitor wildfires and change their behavior in anticipation of the fire's movement. The ability to conceptualize the "behavior" of fire may be a synapomorphic trait characterizing the human-chimpanzee clade. If the cognitive underpinnings of fire conceptualization are a primitive hominid trait, hypotheses concerning the origins of the control and use of fire may need revision. We argue that our findings exemplify the importance of using living chimpanzees as models for better understanding human evolution despite recently published suggestions to the contrary.

  2. Herbaceous Forage and Selection Patterns by Ungulates across Varying Herbivore Assemblages in a South African Savanna

    PubMed Central

    Treydte, Anna Christina; Baumgartner, Sabine; Heitkönig, Ignas M. A.; Grant, Catharina C.; Getz, Wayne M.

    2013-01-01

    Herbivores generally have strong structural and compositional effects on vegetation, which in turn determines the plant forage species available. We investigated how selected large mammalian herbivore assemblages use and alter herbaceous vegetation structure and composition in a southern African savanna in and adjacent to the Kruger National Park, South Africa. We compared mixed and mono-specific herbivore assemblages of varying density and investigated similarities in vegetation patterns under wildlife and livestock herbivory. Grass species composition differed significantly, standing biomass and grass height were almost twice as high at sites of low density compared to high density mixed wildlife species. Selection of various grass species by herbivores was positively correlated with greenness, nutrient content and palatability. Nutrient-rich Urochloa mosambicensis Hack. and Panicum maximum Jacq. grasses were preferred forage species, which significantly differed in abundance across sites of varying grazing pressure. Green grasses growing beneath trees were grazed more frequently than dry grasses growing in the open. Our results indicate that grazing herbivores appear to base their grass species preferences on nutrient content cues and that a characteristic grass species abundance and herb layer structure can be matched with mammalian herbivory types. PMID:24358228

  3. Harvesting and chewing as constraints to forage consumption by the African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    O’Connor, Timothy G.

    2016-01-01

    As a foundation for understanding the diet of African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana), adult bulls and cows were observed over an annual cycle to determine whether harvesting (Pt), chewing (Ct) and handling times (Ht) differed across food types and harvesting methods (handling time is defined as the time to harvest, chew and swallow a trunkload of food). Bulls and cows were observed 105 and 26 times, respectively (94 and 26 individuals), with a total of 64 h of feeding recorded across 32 vegetation types. Some food types took longer to harvest and chew than others, which may influence intake rate and affect choice of diet. The method used to gather a trunkload of food had a significant effect on harvesting time, with simple foraging actions being comparatively rapid and more difficult tasks taking longer. Handling time was constrained by chewing for bulls, except for the processing of roots from woody plants, which was limited by harvesting. Time to gather a trunkload had a greater influence on handling time for cows compared to bulls. Harvesting and handling times were longer for bulls than cows, with the sexes adopting foraging behaviors that best suited their energy requirements. PMID:27688971

  4. Drivers of Intensity and Prevalence of Flea Parasitism on Small Mammals in East African Savanna Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Young, Hillary S; Dirzo, Rodolfo; McCauley, Douglas J; Agwanda, Bernard; Cattaneo, Lia; Dittmar, Katharina; Eckerlin, Ralph P; Fleischer, Robert C; Helgen, Lauren E; Hintz, Ashley; Montinieri, John; Zhao, Serena; Helgen, Kristofer M

    2015-06-01

    The relative importance of environmental factors and host factors in explaining variation in prevalence and intensity of flea parasitism in small mammal communities is poorly established. We examined these relationships in an East African savanna landscape, considering multiple host levels: across individuals within a local population, across populations within species, and across species within a landscape. We sampled fleas from 2,672 small mammals of 27 species. This included a total of 8,283 fleas, with 5 genera and 12 species identified. Across individual hosts within a site, both rodent body mass and season affected total intensity of flea infestation, although the explanatory power of these factors was generally modest (<10%). Across host populations in the landscape, we found consistently positive effects of host density and negative effects of vegetation cover on the intensity of flea infestation. Other factors explored (host diversity, annual rainfall, anthropogenic disturbance, and soil properties) tended to have lower and less consistent explanatory power. Across host species in the landscape, we found that host body mass was strongly positively correlated with both prevalence and intensity of flea parasitism, while average robustness of a host species to disturbance was not correlated with flea parasitism. Cumulatively, these results provide insight into the intricate roles of both host and environmental factors in explaining complex patterns of flea parasitism across landscape mosaics.

  5. Lightning fires in North Dakota grasslands and in pine-savanna lands of South Dakota and Montana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Higgins, K.F.

    1984-01-01

    Lightning strike fires which occurred between 1940 and 1981 were studied in mixed-grass prairie grasslands and in pine-savanna lands in the Northern Great Plains region. A majority (73%) of ignitions occurred during July and August, while a lesser number was recorded in April, May, June, and September. The April-September period is also the average time of the freeze-free period and approximates the average distribution period for thunderstorm activity in this region. The area burned by each of 293 lightning fires (most of which were suppressed) ranged from 0.004-1158.3 ha (mean = 10.8 ha). The frequency of lightning fires in mixed-grass prairie grasslands averaged 6.0/yr per 10,000 km2 in eastern North Dakota, 22.4/yr per 10,000 km2 in southcentral North Dakota, 24.7/yr per 10,000 km2 in western North Dakota, and 91.7/yr per 10,000 km2 in pine-savanna lands in northwestern South Dakota and southeastern Montana. The ecological role of lightning-set fires is discussed relative to the development of resource research and management plans and to the interpretation of historical records of natural fire occurrence in the Northern Great Plains region.

  6. Evolution of Gases and Particles from a Savanna Fire in South Africa

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hobbs, Peter V.; Sinha, Parikhit; Yokelson, Robert J.; Christian, Ted J.; Blake, Donald R.; Gao, Song; Kirchstetter, Thomas W.; Novakov, Tica; Pilewskie, Peter

    2003-01-01

    Airborne measurements of particles and gases fiom a 1000-ha savanna fire in South Africa are presented. These measurements represent the most extensive data set reported on the aging of biomass smoke. The measurements include total concentrations of particles (CN), particle sizes, particulate organic carbon and black carbon, light-scattering coefficients, downwelling UV fluxes, and mixing ratios for 42 trace gases and 7 particulate species. The ratios of excess nitrate, ozone, and gaseous acetic acid to excess CO increased significantly as the smoke aged over approximately 40-45 min, indicating that these species were formed by photochemistry in the plume. For 17 other species, the excess mixing ratio normalized by the excess mixing ratio of CO decreased significantly with ' smoke age. The relative rates of decrease for a number of chemical species imply that the average OH concentration in the plume was approximately 1.7 x l0(exp 7) molecules /cubic centimeter. Excess CN, normalized by excess CO, decreased rapidly during the first approximately 5 min of aging, probably due to coagulation, and then increased, probably due to gas-to-particle conversion. The CO-normalized concentrations of particles < 1.5 microns in diameter decreased, and particles >1.5 micron diameter increased, with smoke age. The spectral depletion of solar radiation by the smoke is depicted. The downwelling UV flux near the vertical center of the plume was about two-thirds of that near the top of the plume.

  7. EFFECTS OF PRESCRIBED FIRES ON NITROGEN FLUXES IN SAVANNA FORMATIONS OF CENTRAL BRAZIL

    EPA Science Inventory

    Savanna ecosystems are controlled by the interactions between water and nutrient availability. The savannas of Central Brazil (Cerrado) are the second most extensive plant formation in tropical South America with two million km2 of area. The Cerrado landscape contains different ...

  8. Spatial vegetation patterns and neighborhood competition among woody plants in an East African savanna

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The majority of research on savanna vegetation dynamics has focused on the coexistence of woody and herbaceous vegetation; interactions among woody plants in savannas are relatively poorly understood. We present data from a 10-year longitudinal study of spatially explicit growth patterns of woody ve...

  9. An impulsive modelling framework of fire occurrence in a size-structured model of tree-grass interactions for savanna ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Yatat, V; Couteron, P; Tewa, J J; Bowong, S; Dumont, Y

    2016-09-22

    Fires and mean annual rainfall are major factors that regulate woody and grassy biomasses in savanna ecosystems. Within the savanna biome, conditions of long-lasting coexistence of trees and grasses have been often studied using continuous-time modelling of tree-grass competition. In these studies, fire is a time-continuous forcing while the relationship between woody plant size and fire-sensitivity is not systematically considered. In this paper, we propose a new mathematical framework to model tree-grass interactions that takes into account both the impulsive nature of fire occurrence and size-dependent fire sensitivity (via two classes of woody plants). We carry out a qualitative analysis that highlights ecological thresholds and bifurcation parameters that shape the dynamics of the savanna-like systems within the main ecological zones. Through a qualitative analysis, we show that the impulsive modelling of fire occurrences leads to more diverse behaviors including cases of grassland, savanna and forest tristability and a more realistic array of solutions than the analogous time-continuous fire models. Numerical simulations are carried out with respect to the three main ecological contexts (moist, mesic, semi-arid) to illustrate the theoretical results and to support a discussion about the bifurcation parameters and the advantages of the model.

  10. Drivers of recent trends in African landscape fires

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andela, Niels; van der Werf, Guido R.

    2014-05-01

    Wildfires play an important role in savannah ecosystem dynamics and are an important source of emissions of (greenhouse) gasses and aerosols. Africa is nowadays responsible for about 70% of global burned area and about 50% of fire carbon emissions. Although it has been reported that fire activity varies according to climatic and anthropogenic influences, much remains unclear about the drivers of the spatial distribution of fire activity over the continent and its temporal dynamics. Resolving the drivers of this spatiotemporal variability is crucial to understand the future role of fire on the African continent. Satellite observations are the preferred way to monitor fire activity at this scale and the satellite fire record starts to be long enough to study recent trends in fire occurrence, the subject of our work. We developed a model to account for variations in fire activity due to climate, and investigated the role of sea surface temperatures on rainfall patterns and thus fire dynamics. Spatial variation and trends in land cover were used to improve understanding of underlying trends caused by socio-economic changes. Results elucidate the importance of various drivers on recent trends in African landscape fires and allow new insights in the future of African fire dynamics.

  11. New emission factors for Australian vegetation fires measured using open-path Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy - Part 2: Australian tropical savanna fires

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, T. E. L.; Paton-Walsh, C.; Meyer, C. P.; Cook, G. D.; Maier, S. W.; Russell-Smith, J.; Wooster, M. J.; Yates, C. P.

    2014-10-01

    Savanna fires contribute approximately 40-50% of total global annual biomass burning carbon emissions. Recent comparisons of emission factors from different savanna regions have highlighted the need for a regional approach to emission factor development, and better assessment of the drivers of the temporal and spatial variation in emission factors. This paper describes the results of open-path Fourier transform infrared (OP-FTIR) spectroscopic field measurements at 21 fires occurring in the tropical savannas of the Northern~Territory, Australia, within different vegetation assemblages and at different stages of the dry season. Spectra of infrared light passing through a long (22-70 m) open-path through ground-level smoke released from these fires were collected using an infrared lamp and a field-portable FTIR system. The IR spectra were used to retrieve the mole fractions of 14 different gases present within the smoke, and these measurements used to calculate the emission ratios and emission factors of the various gases emitted by the burning. Only a handful of previous emission factor measures are available specifically for the tropical savannas of Australia and here we present the first reported emission factors for methanol, acetic acid, and formic acid for this biome. Given the relatively large sample size, it was possible to study the potential causes of the within-biome variation of the derived emission factors. We find that the emission factors vary substantially between different savanna vegetation assemblages; with a majority of this variation being mirrored by variations in the modified combustion efficiency (MCE) of different vegetation classes. We conclude that a significant majority of the variation in the emission factor for trace gases can be explained by MCE, irrespective of vegetation class, as illustrated by variations in the calculated methane emission factor for different vegetation classes using data sub-set by different combustion efficiencies

  12. New emission factors for Australian vegetation fires measured using open-path Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy - Part 2: Australian tropical savanna fires

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, T. E. L.; Paton-Walsh, C.; Meyer, C. P.; Cook, G. D.; Maier, S. W.; Russell-Smith, J.; Wooster, M. J.; Yates, C. P.

    2014-03-01

    Savanna fires contribute approximately 40-50% of total global annual biomass burning carbon emissions. Recent comparisons of emission factors from different savanna regions have highlighted the need for a regional approach to emission factor development, and better assessment of the drivers of the temporal and spatial variation in emission factors. This paper describes the results of open-path Fourier Transform Infrared (OP-FTIR) spectroscopic field measurements at twenty-one fires occurring in the tropical savannas of the Northern Territory, Australia, within different vegetation assemblages and at different stages of the dry season. Spectra of infrared light passing through a long (22-70 m) open-path through ground-level smoke released from these fires were collected using an infrared lamp and a field-portable FTIR system. The IR spectra were used to retrieve the mole fractions of fourteen different gases present within the smoke, and these measurements used to calculate the emission ratios and emission factors of the various gases emitted by the burning. Only a handful of previous emission factor measures are available specifically for the tropical savannas of Australia and here we present the first reported emission factors for methanol, acetic acid, and formic acid for this biome. Given the relatively large sample size, it was possible to study the potential causes of the within-biome variation of the derived emission factors. We find that the emission factors vary substantially between different savanna vegetation assemblages; with a majority of this variation being mirrored by variations in the modified combustion efficiency (MCE) of different vegetation classes. We conclude that a significant majority of the variation in the emission factor for trace gases can be explained by MCE, irrespective of vegetation class, as illustrated by variations in the calculated methane emission factor for different vegetation classes using data subsetted by different

  13. A Landscape-Scale, Applied Fire Management Experiment Promotes Recovery of a Population of the Threatened Gouldian Finch, Erythrura gouldiae, in Australia’s Tropical Savannas

    PubMed Central

    Legge, Sarah; Garnett, Stephen; Maute, Kim; Heathcote, Joanne; Murphy, Steve; Woinarski, John C. Z.; Astheimer, Lee

    2015-01-01

    Fire is an integral part of savanna ecology and changes in fire patterns are linked to biodiversity loss in savannas worldwide. In Australia, changed fire regimes are implicated in the contemporary declines of small mammals, riparian species, obligate-seeding plants and grass seed-eating birds. Translating this knowledge into management to recover threatened species has proved elusive. We report here on a landscape-scale experiment carried out by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) on Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary in northwest Australia. The experiment was designed to understand the response of a key savanna bird guild to fire, and to use that information to manage fire with the aim of recovering a threatened species population. We compared condition indices among three seed-eating bird species–one endangered (Gouldian finch) and two non-threatened (long-tailed finch and double-barred finch)—from two large areas (> 2,830 km2) with initial contrasting fire regimes (‘extreme’: frequent, extensive, intense fire; versus ‘benign’: less frequent, smaller, lower intensity fires). Populations of all three species living with the extreme fire regime had condition indices that differed from their counterparts living with the benign fire regime, including higher haematocrit levels in some seasons (suggesting higher levels of activity required to find food), different seasonal haematocrit profiles, higher fat scores in the early wet season (suggesting greater food uncertainty), and then lower muscle scores later in the wet season (suggesting prolonged food deprivation). Gouldian finches also showed seasonally increasing stress hormone concentrations with the extreme fire regime. Cumulatively, these patterns indicated greater nutritional stress over many months for seed-eating birds exposed to extreme fire regimes. We tested these relationships by monitoring finch condition over the following years, as AWC implemented fire management to produce the

  14. A Landscape-Scale, Applied Fire Management Experiment Promotes Recovery of a Population of the Threatened Gouldian Finch, Erythrura gouldiae, in Australia's Tropical Savannas.

    PubMed

    Legge, Sarah; Garnett, Stephen; Maute, Kim; Heathcote, Joanne; Murphy, Steve; Woinarski, John C Z; Astheimer, Lee

    2015-01-01

    Fire is an integral part of savanna ecology and changes in fire patterns are linked to biodiversity loss in savannas worldwide. In Australia, changed fire regimes are implicated in the contemporary declines of small mammals, riparian species, obligate-seeding plants and grass seed-eating birds. Translating this knowledge into management to recover threatened species has proved elusive. We report here on a landscape-scale experiment carried out by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) on Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary in northwest Australia. The experiment was designed to understand the response of a key savanna bird guild to fire, and to use that information to manage fire with the aim of recovering a threatened species population. We compared condition indices among three seed-eating bird species--one endangered (Gouldian finch) and two non-threatened (long-tailed finch and double-barred finch)--from two large areas (> 2,830 km2) with initial contrasting fire regimes ('extreme': frequent, extensive, intense fire; versus 'benign': less frequent, smaller, lower intensity fires). Populations of all three species living with the extreme fire regime had condition indices that differed from their counterparts living with the benign fire regime, including higher haematocrit levels in some seasons (suggesting higher levels of activity required to find food), different seasonal haematocrit profiles, higher fat scores in the early wet season (suggesting greater food uncertainty), and then lower muscle scores later in the wet season (suggesting prolonged food deprivation). Gouldian finches also showed seasonally increasing stress hormone concentrations with the extreme fire regime. Cumulatively, these patterns indicated greater nutritional stress over many months for seed-eating birds exposed to extreme fire regimes. We tested these relationships by monitoring finch condition over the following years, as AWC implemented fire management to produce the 'benign' fire regime

  15. SOIL EMISSIONS OF N2O, NO AND CO2 IN BRAZILIAN SAVANNAS: EFFECTS OF VEGETATION TYPE, SEASONALITY, AND PRESCRIBED FIRES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Using closed chamber techniques, soil fluxes of NO, N20 and C02 were measured from September 1999 through October 2000 in savanna areas in central Brazil (Cerrado) subjected to prescribed fires. Our studies focused on two vegetation types, cerrado stricto sensu (20-50% canopy cov...

  16. The pulsed response of soil respiration to precipitation in an African savanna ecosystem: a coupled measurement and modeling approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fan, Z.; Neff, J. C.; Hanan, N. P.

    2014-12-01

    Savannas cover 60% of the African continent and play an essential role in the global carbon (C) cycle. To better characterize the physical controls over soil respiration in these settings, half-hourly observations of volumetric soil-water content, temperature, and the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) at different soil depths were continually measured from 2005 to 2007 under trees ("sub-canopy") and between trees ("inter-canopy") in a savanna vegetation near Skukuza, Kruger National Park, South Africa. The measured soil climate and CO2 concentration data were assimilated into a process-based model that estimates the CO2 production and flux with coupled dynamics of dissolved organic C (DOC) and microbial biomass C. Our results show that temporal and spatial variations in CO2 flux were strongly influenced by precipitation and vegetation cover, with two times greater CO2 flux in the sub-canopy plots (~2421 g CO2 m-2 yr-1) than in the inter-canopy plots (~1290 g CO2 m-2 yr-1). Precipitation influenced soil respiration by changing soil temperature and moisture; however, our modeling analysis suggests that the pulsed response of soil respiration to precipitation [known as "Birch effect (BE)"] is a key control on soil fluxes at this site. At this site, BE contributed to approximately 50% and 65% of heterotrophic respiration or 20% and 39% of soil respiration in the sub-canopy and inter-canopy plots, respectively. These results suggest that pulsed response of respiration to precipitation is an important component of the C cycle of savannas and should be considered in both measurement and modeling studies of carbon exchange in similar ecosystems.

  17. Nutrient limitation in tropical savannas across multiple scales and mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Pellegrini, Adam F A

    2016-02-01

    Nutrients have been hypothesized to influence the distribution of the savanna biome through two possible mechanisms. Low nutrient availability may restrict growth rates of trees, thereby allowing for intermittent fires to maintain low tree cover; alternatively, nutrient deficiency may even place an absolute constraint on the ability of forests to form, independent of fire. However, we have little understanding of the scales at which nutrient limitation operates, what nutrients are limiting, and the mechanisms that influence how nutrient limitation regulates savanna-forest transitions. Here, I review literature, synthesize existing data, and present a simple calculation of nutrient demand to evaluate how nutrient limitation may regulate the distribution of the savanna biome. The literature primarily supports the hypothesis that nutrients may interact dynamically with fire to restrict the transition of savanna into forest. A compilation of indirect metrics of nutrient limitation suggest that nitrogen and phosphorus are both in short supply and may limit plants. Nutrient demand calculations provided a number of insights. First, trees required high rates of nitrogen and phosphorus supply relative to empirically determined inputs. Second, nutrient demand increased as landscapes approached the transition point between savanna and forest. Third, the potential for fire-driven nutrient losses remained high throughout transitions, which may exaggerate limitation and could be a key feedback stabilizing the savanna biome. Fourth, nutrient limitation varied between functional groups, with fast-growing forest species having substantially greater nutrient demand and a higher susceptibility to fire-driven nutrient losses. Finally, African savanna trees required substantially larger amounts of nutrients supplied at greater rates, although this varied across plant functional groups. In summary, the ability of nutrients to control transitions emerges at individual and landscape

  18. Small reservoirs in the West African savanna: Usage, monitoring and impact (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van De Giesen, N.; Liebe, J. R.; Annor, F.; Andreini, M.

    2013-12-01

    The West African savanna is dotted with thousands of small reservoirs. These reservoirs were primarily built for irrigation purposes, supplying supplementary irrigation in the rainy season and full irrigation in the dry season. Some reservoirs were specifically constructed for watering cattle. Most reservoirs, however, now fulfill a multitude of functions in addition to irrigation and cattle watering, such as fishing, bathing, household water, supply of construction materials, and recreation. In the framework of the Small Reservoirs Project (www.smallreservoirs.org), extensive research has been undertaken over the past ten years that addresses the functioning of these reservoirs and the development of new monitoring methods. This presentation will give a general overview of our findings with respect to history, usage, and hydrological impact of small reservoirs in West Africa. In general, no comprehensive databases are available to local and national governments that contain all reservoirs and their attributes. Remote sensing, therefore, offers an interesting alternative to produce inventories of small reservoirs in a cost effective way. The most straightforward application is the mapping of small reservoirs with the aid of optical satellite images. Open water tends to stand out clearly from its surroundings in such images, allowing for relatively accurate determination of the location and surface area of the reservoirs. An important early discovery was that within a given geomorphological region, there is a very good correlation between surface area and storage volume. Once this correlation is established through a small sub-sample of the reservoirs, all volumes can be calculated on the basis of surfaces as determined through remote sensing. In turn, this opens up the opportunity to monitor water storage over the year by means of satellite images. Optical images are usually not available during large parts of the year due to cloud cover. This holds especially true

  19. Are fire, soil fertility and toxicity, water availability, plant functional diversity, and litter decomposition related in a Neotropical savanna?

    PubMed

    Carvalho, Gustavo Henrique; Batalha, Marco Antônio; Silva, Igor Aurélio; Cianciaruso, Marcus Vinicius; Petchey, Owen L

    2014-07-01

    Understanding how biodiversity and ecosystem functioning respond to changes in the environment is fundamental to the maintenance of ecosystem function. In realistic scenarios, the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning path may account for only a small share of all factors determining ecosystem function. Here, we investigated the strength to which variations in environmental characteristics in a Neotropical savanna affected functional diversity and decomposition. We sought an integrative approach, testing a number of pairwise hypotheses about how the environment, biodiversity, and functioning were linked. We used structural equation modelling to connect fire frequency, soil fertility, exchangeable Al, water availability, functional diversity of woody plants, tree density, tree height, and litter decomposition rates in a causal chain. We found significant effects of soil nutrients, water availability, and Al on functional diversity and litter decomposition. Fire did not have a significant direct effect on functional diversity or litter decomposition. However, fire was connected to both variables through soil fertility. Functional diversity did not influence rates of litter decomposition. The mediated effects that emerged from pairwise interactions are encouraging not only for predicting the functional consequences of changes in environmental variables and biodiversity, but also to caution against predictions based on only environmental or only biodiversity change.

  20. Forest-savanna- morichal dynamics in relation to fire and human occupation in the southern Gran Sabana (SE Venezuela) during the last millennia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montoya, Encarni; Rull, Valentí; Stansell, Nathan D.; Abbott, Mark B.; Nogué, Sandra; Bird, Broxton W.; Díaz, Wilmer A.

    2011-11-01

    The southern Gran Sabana (SE Venezuela) holds a particular type of neotropical savanna characterized by the local occurrence of morichales ( Mauritia palm swamps) , in a climate apparently more suitable for rain forests. We present a paleoecological analysis of the last millennia of Lake Chonita (4°39'N-61°0'W, 884 m elevation), based on biological and physico-chemical proxies. Savannas dominated the region during the last millennia, but a significant vegetation replacement occurred in recent times. The site was covered by a treeless savanna with nearby rainforests from 3640 to 2180 cal yr BP. Water levels were higher than today until about 2800 cal yr BP. Forests retreated since about 2180 cal yr BP onwards, likely influenced by a higher fire incidence that facilitated a dramatic expansion of morichales. The simultaneous appearance of charcoal particles and Mauritia pollen around 2000 cal yr BP supports the potential pyrophilous nature of this palm and the importance of fire for its recent expansion. The whole picture suggests human settlements similar to today - in which fire is an essential element - since around 2000 yr ago. Therefore, present-day southern Gran Sabana landscapes seem to have been the result of the synergy between biogeographical, climatic and anthropogenic factors, mostly fire.

  1. Body temperature daily rhythm adaptations in African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Kinahan, A A; Inge-moller, R; Bateman, P W; Kotze, A; Scantlebury, M

    2007-11-23

    The savanna elephant is the largest extant mammal and often inhabits hot and arid environments. Due to their large size, it might be expected that elephants have particular physiological adaptations, such as adjustments to the rhythms of their core body temperature (T(b)) to deal with environmental challenges. This study describes for the first time the T(b) daily rhythms in savanna elephants. Our results showed that elephants had lower mean T(b) values (36.2 +/- 0.49 degrees C) than smaller ungulates inhabiting similar environments but did not have larger or smaller amplitudes of T(b) variation (0.40 +/- 0.12 degrees C), as would be predicted by their exposure to large fluctuations in ambient temperature or their large size. No difference was found between the daily T(b) rhythms measured under different conditions of water stress. Peak T(b)'s occurred late in the evening (22:10) which is generally later than in other large mammals ranging in similar environmental conditions.

  2. Water-soluble Organic Components in Aerosols Associated with Savanna Fires in Southern Africa: Identification, Evolution and Distribution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gao, Song; Hegg, Dean A.; Hobbs, Peter V.; Kirchstetter, Thomas W.; Magi, Brian I.; Sadilek, Martin

    2003-01-01

    During the SAFARI 2000 field campaign, both smoke aerosols from savanna fires and haze aerosols in the boundary layer and in the free troposphere were collected from an aircraft in southern Africa. These aerosol samples were analyzed for their water-soluble chemical components, particularly the organic species. A novel technique, electrospray ionization-ion trap mass spectrometry, was used concurrently with an ion chromatography system to analyze for carbohydrate species. Seven carbohydrates, seven organic acids, five metallic elements, and three inorganic anions were identified and quantified. On the average, these 22 species comprised 36% and 27% of the total aerosol mass in haze and smoke aerosols, respectively. For the smoke aerosols, levoglucosan was the most abundant carbohydrate species, while gluconic acid was tentatively identified as the most abundant organic acid. The mass abundance and possible source of each class of identified species are discussed, along with their possible formation pathways. The combustion phase of a fire had an impact on the chemical composition of the emitted aerosols. Secondary formation of sulfate, nitrate, levoglucosan, and several organic acids occurred during the initial aging of smoke aerosols. It is likely that under certain conditions, some carbohydrate species in smoke aerosols, such as levoglucosan, were converted to organic acids during upward transport.

  3. Fire effects on the population structure of Zanthoxylum rhoifolium Lam (Rutaceae) in a Brazilian savanna.

    PubMed

    Silva, I A; Valenti, M W; Silva-Matos, D M

    2009-08-01

    Since cerrado fires may impede the growth of seedlings into trees, they may shape the population of woody species. In this study, we assessed the effects of a severe fire on the population structure and spatial distribution of Zanthoxylum rhoifolium, a widespread cerrado tree. We were interested to know the importance of the resprouting and sexual reproduction in regenerating the population. The study area had been for about six years protected from fire, before a severe fire at the end of the dry season in 2006. We sampled and measured all individuals of Z. rhoifolium found in 80 plots of 25 m(2). We found 149 individuals before the fire and 112 after the fire, of which 77 were resprouts from burned seedlings and saplings. We did not find significant differences between the population structure before and after the fire. The spatial distribution of the population remained clumped after the fire. Thus, the Z. rhoifolium population was very resilient to a severe fire. We did not find any new seedlings. As a consequence, resprouting seems to be more important than sexual reproduction in promptly regenerating the Z. rhoifolium populations.

  4. What Controls the Extent of Tropical Forest? An 8-year Experiment to Understand the Response of Savanna-Forest Boundaries to Climate, Soils, and Fire in Central Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoffmann, W.; Franco, A. C.; Haridasan, M.; Geiger, E.; Gotsch, S. G.

    2015-12-01

    Tropical savanna-forest boundaries are considered to be sensitive indicators of climate change, but direct tests of this are lacking, which limits our ability to predict the future of these two biomes. We used an ecosystem experiment at a savanna-forest boundary to compare the importance of seasonal drought and soil nutrients for limiting forest expansion. We set up twelve 70m x 10 plots, each extending across the biome boundary. Water and nutrient treatments were randomly assigned to these plots in a factorial experiment. The water treatment consisted of a control (no added water) or irrigation (60 mm per week throughout the dry season to eliminate soil water deficit), and the nutrient treatment consisted of a control (no added nutrients or a complete NPK + micronutrients added twice per year to minimize nutrient deficits). After four years, the study site was burned, allowing us to examine interactions with the primary disturbance at savanna-forest boundaries. Tree growth and forest expansion were strongly limited by nutrients, but not water. Nutrient addition doubled rates of tree diameter growth over 4 years (2.4 mm/yr versus 1.1 mm/yr) growth, but irrigation had no detectable effect (1.9 mm/yr versus 1.7 mm/yr). Long-term fire suppression at the site had allowed forest tree species to establish in savanna, and these had more than a 3-fold greater growth rate than savanna species. The higher productivity of forest species was offset by greater biomass loss during fire, but within 3 years these losses were largely recovered. Nutrient limitation, combined with the slow growth of savanna tree species, greatly slows canopy closure in this environment, predisposing the savanna to remain in an open state under occasional burning. These results challenge the perception that rainfall is the primary factor limiting the natural distribution of tropical forest. Climate change is likely to cause a shift in the biome boundary only it is accompanied with a changing fire

  5. Reliability of biomass burning estimates from savanna fires: Biomass burning in northern Australia during the 1999 Biomass Burning and Lightning Experiment B field campaign

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Russell-Smith, Jeremy; Edwards, Andrew C.; Cook, Garry D.

    2003-02-01

    This paper estimates the two-daily extent of savanna burning and consumption of fine (grass and litter) fuels from an extensive 230,000 km2 region of northern Australia during August-September 1999 encompassing the Australian continental component of the Biomass Burning and Lightning Experiment B (BIBLE B) campaign [, 2002]. The extent of burning for the study region was derived from fire scar mapping of imagery from the advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR) on board the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite. The mapping was calibrated and verified with reference to one Landsat scene and associated aerial transect validation data. Fine fuel loads were estimated using published fuel accumulation relationships for major regional fuel types. It is estimated that more than 43,000 km2 was burnt during the 25 day study period, with about 19 Mt of fine (grass and litter) fuels. This paper examines assumptions and errors associated with these estimates. It is estimated from uncalibrated fire mapping derived from AVHRR imagery that 417,500 km2 of the northern Australian savanna was burnt in 1999, of which 136,405 km2, or 30%, occurred in the Northern Territory study region. Using generalized fuel accumulation equations, such biomass burning consumed an estimated 212.3 Mt of fine fuels, but no data are available for consumption of coarse fuels. This figure exceeds a recent estimate, based on fine fuels only, for the combined Australian savanna and temperate grassland biomass burning over the period 1990-1999 but is lower than past estimates derived from classification approaches. We conclude that (1) fire maps derived from coarse-resolution optical imagery can be applied relatively reliably to estimate the extent of savanna fires, generally with 70-80% confidence using the approach adopted here, over the major burning period in northern Australia and (2) substantial further field assessment and associated modeling of fuel accumulation

  6. Indirect effects of domestic and wild herbivores on butterflies in an African savanna

    PubMed Central

    Wilkerson, Marit L; Roche, Leslie M; Young, Truman P

    2013-01-01

    Indirect interactions driven by livestock and wild herbivores are increasingly recognized as important aspects of community dynamics in savannas and rangelands. Large ungulate herbivores can both directly and indirectly impact the reproductive structures of plants, which in turn can affect the pollinators of those plants. We examined how wild herbivores and cattle each indirectly affect the abundance of a common pollinator butterfly taxon, Colotis spp., at a set of long-term, large herbivore exclosure plots in a semiarid savanna in central Kenya. We also examined effects of herbivore exclusion on the main food plant of Colotis spp., which was also the most common flowering species in our plots: the shrub Cadaba farinosa. The study was conducted in four types of experimental plots: cattle-only, wildlife-only, cattle and wildlife (all large herbivores), and no large herbivores. Across all plots, Colotis spp. abundances were positively correlated with both Cadaba flower numbers (adult food resources) and total Cadaba canopy area (larval food resources). Structural equation modeling (SEM) revealed that floral resources drove the abundance of Colotis butterflies. Excluding browsing wildlife increased the abundances of both Cadaba flowers and Colotis butterflies. However, flower numbers and Colotis spp. abundances were greater in plots with cattle herbivory than in plots that excluded all large herbivores. Our results suggest that wild browsing herbivores can suppress pollinator species whereas well-managed cattle use may benefit important pollinators and the plants that depend on them. This study documents a novel set of ecological interactions that demonstrate how both conservation and livelihood goals can be met in a working landscape with abundant wildlife and livestock. PMID:24198932

  7. Effects of past climate variability on fire and vegetation in the cerrãdo savanna of the Huanchaca Mesetta, NE Bolivia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maezumi, S. Y.; Power, M. J.; Mayle, F. E.; McLauchlan, K. K.; Iriarte, J.

    2015-06-01

    Cerrãdo savannas have the greatest fire activity of all major global land-cover types and play a significant role in the global carbon cycle. During the 21st century, temperatures are projected to increase by ~ 3 °C coupled with a precipitation decrease of ~ 20%. Although these conditions could potentially intensify drought stress, it is unknown how that might alter vegetation composition and fire regimes. To assess how Neotropical savannas responded to past climate changes, a 14 500-year, high-resolution, sedimentary record from Huanchaca Mesetta, a palm swamp located in the cerrãdo savanna in northeastern Bolivia, was analyzed with phytoliths, stable isotopes, and charcoal. A non-analogue, cold-adapted vegetation community dominated the Lateglacial-early Holocene period (14 500-9000 cal yr BP, which included trees and C3 Pooideae and C4 Panicoideae grasses. The Lateglacial vegetation was fire-sensitive and fire activity during this period was low, likely responding to fuel availability and limitation. Although similar vegetation characterized the early Holocene, the warming conditions associated with the onset of the Holocene led to an initial increase in fire activity. Huanchaca Mesetta became increasingly fire-dependent during the middle Holocene with the expansion of C4 fire-adapted grasses. However, as warm, dry conditions, characterized by increased length and severity of the dry season, continued, fuel availability decreased. The establishment of the modern palm swamp vegetation occurred at 5000 cal yr BP. Edaphic factors are the first-order control on vegetation on the rocky quartzite mesetta. Where soils are sufficiently thick, climate is the second-order control of vegetation on the mesetta. The presence of the modern palm swamp is attributed to two factors: (1) increased precipitation that increased water table levels and (2) decreased frequency and duration of surazos (cold wind incursions from Patagonia) leading to increased temperature minima

  8. Modeling the Distribution of African Savanna Elephants in Kruger National Park: AN Application of Multi-Scale GLOBELAND30 Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, W.; Hays, B.; Fayrer-Hosken, R.; Presotto, A.

    2016-06-01

    The ability of remote sensing to represent ecologically relevant features at multiple spatial scales makes it a powerful tool for studying wildlife distributions. Species of varying sizes perceive and interact with their environment at differing scales; therefore, it is important to consider the role of spatial resolution of remotely sensed data in the creation of distribution models. The release of the Globeland30 land cover classification in 2014, with its 30 m resolution, presents the opportunity to do precisely that. We created a series of Maximum Entropy distribution models for African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) using Globeland30 data analyzed at varying resolutions. We compared these with similarly re-sampled models created from the European Space Agency's Global Land Cover Map (Globcover). These data, in combination with GIS layers of topography and distance to roads, human activity, and water, as well as elephant GPS collar data, were used with MaxEnt software to produce the final distribution models. The AUC (Area Under the Curve) scores indicated that the models created from 600 m data performed better than other spatial resolutions and that the Globeland30 models generally performed better than the Globcover models. Additionally, elevation and distance to rivers seemed to be the most important variables in our models. Our results demonstrate that Globeland30 is a valid alternative to the well-established Globcover for creating wildlife distribution models. It may even be superior for applications which require higher spatial resolution and less nuanced classifications.

  9. Tree foliar chemistry in an African savanna and its relation to life history strategies and environmental filters.

    PubMed

    Colgan, Matthew S; Martin, Roberta E; Baldeck, Claire A; Asner, Gregory P

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the relative importance of environment and life history strategies in determining leaf chemical traits remains a key objective of plant ecology. We assessed 20 foliar chemical properties among 12 African savanna woody plant species and their relation to environmental variables (hillslope position, precipitation, geology) and two functional traits (thorn type and seed dispersal mechanism). We found that combinations of six leaf chemical traits (lignin, hemi-cellulose, zinc, boron, magnesium, and manganese) predicted the species with 91% accuracy. Hillslope position, precipitation, and geology accounted for only 12% of the total variance in these six chemical traits. However, thorn type and seed dispersal mechanism accounted for 46% of variance in these chemical traits. The physically defended species had the highest concentrations of hemi-cellulose and boron. Species without physical defense had the highest lignin content if dispersed by vertebrates, but threefold lower lignin content if dispersed by wind. One of the most abundant woody species in southern Africa, Colophospermum mopane, was found to have the highest foliar concentrations of zinc, phosphorus, and δ(13)C, suggesting that zinc chelation may be used by this species to bind metallic toxins and increase uptake of soil phosphorus. Across all studied species, taxonomy and physical traits accounted for the majority of variability in leaf chemistry.

  10. Tree Foliar Chemistry in an African Savanna and Its Relation to Life History Strategies and Environmental Filters

    PubMed Central

    Colgan, Matthew S.; Martin, Roberta E.; Baldeck, Claire A.; Asner, Gregory P.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the relative importance of environment and life history strategies in determining leaf chemical traits remains a key objective of plant ecology. We assessed 20 foliar chemical properties among 12 African savanna woody plant species and their relation to environmental variables (hillslope position, precipitation, geology) and two functional traits (thorn type and seed dispersal mechanism). We found that combinations of six leaf chemical traits (lignin, hemi-cellulose, zinc, boron, magnesium, and manganese) predicted the species with 91% accuracy. Hillslope position, precipitation, and geology accounted for only 12% of the total variance in these six chemical traits. However, thorn type and seed dispersal mechanism accounted for 46% of variance in these chemical traits. The physically defended species had the highest concentrations of hemi-cellulose and boron. Species without physical defense had the highest lignin content if dispersed by vertebrates, but threefold lower lignin content if dispersed by wind. One of the most abundant woody species in southern Africa, Colophospermum mopane, was found to have the highest foliar concentrations of zinc, phosphorus, and δ13C, suggesting that zinc chelation may be used by this species to bind metallic toxins and increase uptake of soil phosphorus. Across all studied species, taxonomy and physical traits accounted for the majority of variability in leaf chemistry. PMID:25993539

  11. Seasonal diet and prey preference of the African lion in a waterhole-driven semi-arid savanna.

    PubMed

    Davidson, Zeke; Valeix, Marion; Van Kesteren, Freya; Loveridge, Andrew J; Hunt, Jane E; Murindagomo, Felix; Macdonald, David W

    2013-01-01

    Large carnivores inhabiting ecosystems with heterogeneously distributed environmental resources with strong seasonal variations frequently employ opportunistic foraging strategies, often typified by seasonal switches in diet. In semi-arid ecosystems, herbivore distribution is generally more homogeneous in the wet season, when surface water is abundant, than in the dry season when only permanent sources remain. Here, we investigate the seasonal contribution of the different herbivore species, prey preference and distribution of kills (i.e. feeding locations) of African lions in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, a semi-arid African savanna structured by artificial waterholes. We used data from 245 kills and 74 faecal samples. Buffalo consistently emerged as the most frequently utilised prey in all seasons by both male (56%) and female (33%) lions, contributing the most to lion dietary biomass. Jacobs' index also revealed that buffalo was the most intensively selected species throughout the year. For female lions, kudu and to a lesser extent the group "medium Bovidae" are the most important secondary prey. This study revealed seasonal patterns in secondary prey consumption by female lions partly based on prey ecology with browsers, such as giraffe and kudu, mainly consumed in the early dry season, and grazers, such as zebra and suids, contributing more to female diet in the late dry season. Further, it revealed the opportunistic hunting behaviour of lions for prey as diverse as elephants and mice, with elephants taken mostly as juveniles at the end of the dry season during droughts. Jacobs' index finally revealed a very strong preference for kills within 2 km from a waterhole for all prey species, except small antelopes, in all seasons. This suggested that surface-water resources form passive traps and contribute to the structuring of lion foraging behaviour.

  12. Effects of resource availability on seedling recruitment in a fire-maintained savanna.

    PubMed

    Iacona, Gwenllian D; Kirkman, L Katherine; Bruna, Emilio M

    2010-05-01

    The herbaceous ground cover of the longleaf pine ecosystem harbors the highest plant species richness in North America, with up to 50 species per square meter, but the mechanisms that regulate this diversity are not well understood. In this system, variability in seedling recruitment events may best explain the extremely high small-scale species richness and its relationship to soil moisture and system net primary productivity. To understand the potential mechanistic controls on species richness, we used a long-term resource manipulation study across a natural soil moisture gradient to assess environmental controls on seedling recruitment. We considered the availability of resources to be an indicator of seedling safe-site supply, and also manipulated seed availability to examine the relative importance of recruitment limitations on seedling diversity. We found that water availability regulated the number of species in the seedling community regardless of the underlying natural moisture gradient, and that this effect may result from differential responses of seedling guilds to resource availability. Water supply was more important than seed supply in determining seedling establishment, suggesting that appropriate sites for regeneration are a factor limiting seedling success. This is the first study that shows that the episodic supply of microsites for recruitment could influence species richness in the highly threatened and biodiverse longleaf pine savanna.

  13. The relationship between satellite-derived indices and species diversity across African savanna ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mapfumo, Ratidzo B.; Murwira, Amon; Masocha, Mhosisi; Andriani, R.

    2016-10-01

    The ability to use remotely sensed diversity is important for the management of ecosystems at large spatial extents. However, to achieve this, there is still need to develop robust methods and approaches that enable large-scale mapping of species diversity. In this study, we tested the relationship between species diversity measured in situ with the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and the Coefficient of Variation in the NDVI (CVNDVI) derived from high and medium spatial resolution satellite data at dry, wet and coastal savanna woodlands. We further tested the effect of logging on NDVI along the transects and between transects as disturbance may be a mechanism driving the patterns observed. Overall, the results of this study suggest that high tree species diversity is associated with low and high NDVI and at intermediate levels is associated with low tree species diversity and NDVI. High tree species diversity is associated with high CVNDVI and vice versa and at intermediate levels is associated with high tree species diversity and CVNDVI.

  14. Fire and soil-plant nutrient relations in a pine-wiregrass savanna on the coastal plain of North Carolina.

    PubMed

    Christensen, Norman L

    1977-01-01

    Changes in soil and plant nutrient conditions were evaluated following various burn and clip treatments in a longleaf pine-wiregrass savanna in Bladen Co., N.C., USA. Ground fires were found to add substantial quantities of N, P, K, Ca, and Mg to the soil, though not necessarily in forms immediately available to plants. Less than 1% of the total nitrogen in the charred residue (ash) is present as nitrate or ammonium. Considerable quantities of all nutrients examined were lost to the atmosphere during burning. Green leaf tissue in recently burned areas was consistently higher in N, P, K, Ca, and Mg compared to unburned areas. Howerver, when compared to similar tissues from clipped plots, burned area tissues were significantly higher in N, Ca, and Mg only. Data presented here suggest that tissue age significantly affects nutrient content and must be considered in any analysis of tissue nutrient content following burning. Within 4-6 months following fire, burned-area tissue nutrient content decreases to concentrations found in the unburned area. Burning resulted in initial enrichment of available soil nutrients including PO4, K(+), Ca(++), and Mg(++), however, NO3(-), and NH4(+) concentrations in burned soil were not significantly different from unbruned soil. Soil and plant nutrient changes in an area burned two years in succession indicate that repeated burning may diminish nutrient availability. Plant response to various nutrient enrichment treatments of the soil indicated that nitrogen is limiting growth in both burned and unburned soils and that burning may alter some factors other than nutrients which may retard plant growth in unburned areas.

  15. Termites create spatial structure and govern ecosystem function by affecting N2 fixation in an East African savanna.

    PubMed

    Fox-Dobbs, Kena; Doak, Daniel F; Brody, Alison K; Palmer, Todd M

    2010-05-01

    The mechanisms by which even the clearest of keystone or dominant species exert community-wide effects are only partially understood in most ecosystems. This is especially true when a species or guild influences community-wide interactions via changes in the abiotic landscape. Using stable isotope analyses, we show that subterranean termites in an East African savanna strongly influence a key ecosystem process: atmospheric nitrogen fixation by a monodominant tree species and its bacterial symbionts. Specifically, we applied the 15N natural abundance method in combination with other biogeochemical analyses to assess levels of nitrogen fixation by Acacia drepanolobium and its effects on co-occurring grasses and forbs in areas near and far from mounds and where ungulates were or were not excluded. We find that termites exert far stronger effects than do herbivores on nitrogen fixation. The percentage of nitrogen derived from fixation in Acacia drepanolobium trees is higher (55-80%) away from mounds vs. near mounds (40-50%). Mound soils have higher levels of plant available nitrogen, and Acacia drepanolobium may preferentially utilize soil-based nitrogen sources in lieu of fixed nitrogen when these sources are readily available near termite mounds. At the scale of the landscape, our models predict that termite/soil derived nitrogen sources influence >50% of the Acacia drepanolobium trees in our system. Further, the spatial extent of these effects combine with the spacing of termite mounds to create highly regular patterning in nitrogen fixation rates, resulting in marked habitat heterogeneity in an otherwise uniform landscape. In summary, we show that termite-associated effects on nitrogen processes are not only stronger than those of more apparent large herbivores in the same system, but also occur in a highly regular spatial pattern, potentially adding to their importance as drivers of community and ecosystem structure.

  16. The impact of land use on the net ecosystem CO2 exchanges in the West African Sudanian Savannas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mauder, Matthias; Quansah, Emmanuel; Annor, Thompson; Balogun, Ahmed A.; Amekudzi, Leonard K.; Bliefernicht, Jan; Heinzeller, Dominikus; Kunstmann, Harald

    2016-04-01

    The land surface in West Africa has been considerably changed within the past decade due to various anthropogenic measures such as an increased agricultural activity. However, the impact of these land use changes on land-atmosphere exchange processes such as net ecosystems exchange is not well known for this highly vulnerable region. To tackle this problem, the effects of land use on the net ecosystem exchange of CO2 (NEE) along a transect of three contrasting ecosystems have been investigated on seasonal and annual time scales using the Eddy Covariance method. The ecosystems were grassland (GL), a mixture of fallow and cropland (CR) in the Upper East Region of Ghana, and a nature reserve (NR) near Pô in the Nahouri Province of Burkina Faso. The results for January to December 2013 showed that the ecosystems of the three sites served as net sinks of CO2 during the rainy season (May to October) and net sources of CO2 during the dry season (November to April). However, NR was a net sink of CO2 during the wet to dry transition period (November to December). On an annual timescale, only NR served as a net sink of CO2 from the atmosphere into the ecosystem, while the others were net sources of CO2 into the atmosphere. Furthermore, the study revealed that the three contrasting ecosystems responded to environmental and physiological factors based on the ecosystem functional types. This suggests that land use and land use management may play a significant role in the diurnal to annual sequestration and efflux patterns of NEE and its composite fluxes, gross primary production (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (ER), over the West African Sudanian Savannas.

  17. Testing the Accuracy of Aerial Surveys for Large Mammals: An Experiment with African Savanna Elephants (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Schlossberg, Scott; Chase, Michael J.; Griffin, Curtice R.

    2016-01-01

    Accurate counts of animals are critical for prioritizing conservation efforts. Past research, however, suggests that observers on aerial surveys may fail to detect all individuals of the target species present in the survey area. Such errors could bias population estimates low and confound trend estimation. We used two approaches to assess the accuracy of aerial surveys for African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) in northern Botswana. First, we used double-observer sampling, in which two observers make observations on the same herds, to estimate detectability of elephants and determine what variables affect it. Second, we compared total counts, a complete survey of the entire study area, against sample counts, in which only a portion of the study area is sampled. Total counts are often considered a complete census, so comparing total counts against sample counts can help to determine if sample counts are underestimating elephant numbers. We estimated that observers detected only 76% ± SE of 2% of elephant herds and 87 ± 1% of individual elephants present in survey strips. Detectability increased strongly with elephant herd size. Out of the four observers used in total, one observer had a lower detection probability than the other three, and detectability was higher in the rear row of seats than the front. The habitat immediately adjacent to animals also affected detectability, with detection more likely in more open habitats. Total counts were not statistically distinguishable from sample counts. Because, however, the double-observer samples revealed that observers missed 13% of elephants, we conclude that total counts may be undercounting elephants as well. These results suggest that elephant population estimates from both sample and total counts are biased low. Because factors such as observer and habitat affected detectability of elephants, comparisons of elephant populations across time or space may be confounded. We encourage survey teams to

  18. Undergraduate Research Experiences in Support of Dryland Monitoring: Field and Satellite Remote Sensing of Change in Savanna Structure, Biomass, and Carbon after Prescribed Fires

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Washington-Allen, R. A.; Twidwell, D. L., Jr.; Mendieta, V. P.; Delgado, A.; Redman, B.; Trollope, W. S.; Trollope, L.; Govender, N.; Smit, I.; Popescu, S. C.; de Bruno Austin, C.; Reeves, M. C.

    2009-12-01

    The status and trend of degradation in the world’s Drylands, that support over 1.2 billion people, is unknown because monitoring & assessment has not occurred on a globally consistent basis and skilled personnel with a cultivated interest in natural resource science and management are lacking. A major monitoring dataset is the 37-year Landsat data archive that has been released free to the world, but this dataset requires persons who understand how to process and interpret this and similar datasets applicable to the desertification problem. The College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (COALS) at Texas A&M University (TAMU) has an initiative to provide undergraduates with both international and research experiences. The lead author used start-up money, USFS project funds for livestock footprint studies in the US, and seed money from COALS to 1) develop academic mentor contacts in Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, and Tunisia to prepare a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) Site proposal and 2) launch a pilot REU for two TAMU undergraduate students. Mr. Delgado and Mr. Redman received lidar processing and visualization, field survey training on global positioning systems (GPS), terrestrial LIDAR, and ground penetrating radar technologies and conducted carbon change studies by collecting pre- and post-fire laser scans on experimental burn (EPB) sites in Texas and South Africa. Mr. Redman also developed GIS databases of Landsat timeseries for these EPBs and others in southern Africa. Mr. Delgado participated in the Savanna Fire Ignition Research Experiment (SavFIRE) in Kruger National Park (KNP) by collected laser scan data on 3 EPBs. He also received mentoring from Dr. Winston Trollope, a prominent fire ecologist, and Mr. Chris Austin both of Working with Fire International and Navashni Govender, KNP’s Fire Ecologist. He also was an active participant in a NASA sponsored workshop on remote sensing of global

  19. Bud protection: a key trait for species sorting in a forest-savanna mosaic.

    PubMed

    Charles-Dominique, Tristan; Beckett, Heath; Midgley, Guy F; Bond, William J

    2015-09-01

    Contrasting fire regimes maintain patch mosaics of savanna, thicket and forest biomes in many African subtropical landscapes. Species dominating each biome are thus expected to display distinct fire-related traits, commonly thought to be bark related. Recent Australian savanna research suggests that bud position, not bark protection alone, determines fire resilience via resprouting. We tested first how bud position influences resprouting ability in 17 tree species. We then compared the effect of both bark-related protection and bud position on the distribution of 63 tree species in 253 transects in all three biomes. Tree species with buds positioned deep under bark had a higher proportion of post-fire aboveground shoot resprouting. Species with low bud protection occurred in fire-prone biomes only if they could root-sucker. The effect of bud protection was supported by a good relationship between species bud protection and distribution across a gradient of fire frequency. Bud protection and high bark production are required to survive frequent fires in savanna. Forests are fire refugia hosting species with little or no bud protection and thin bark. Root-suckering species occur in the three biomes, suggesting that fire is not the only factor filtering this functional type.

  20. SOIL EMISSIONS OF CO2 AND CO IN TROPICAL SAVANNAS OF CENTRAL BRAZIL UNDER DIFFERENT FIRE REGIMES

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Cerrado is a tropical savanna in which herbaceous vegetation (mainly C4 grasses) coexists with trees and shrubs. It covers more than two million square kilometers and accounts for 22% of the total area of Brazil. In general, cerrado soils are old, deep, well drained, well s...

  1. RECOVER - An Automated Burned Area Emergency Response Decision Support System for Post-fire Rehabilitation Management of Savanna Ecosystems in the Western US

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weber, K.; Schnase, J. L.; Carroll, M.; Brown, M. E.; Gill, R.; Haskett, G.; Gardner, T.

    2013-12-01

    In partnership with the Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL), we are building and evaluating the RECOVER decision support system. RECOVER - which stands for Rehabilitation Capability Convergence for Ecosystem Recovery - is an automatically deployable, context-aware decision support system for savanna wildfires that brings together in a single application the information necessary for post-fire rehabilitation decision-making and long-term ecosystem monitoring. RECOVER uses state-of-the-art cloud-based data management technologies to improve performance, reduce cost, and provide site-specific flexibility for each fire. The RECOVER Server uses Integrated Rule-Oriented Data System (iRODS) data grid technology deployed in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). The RECOVER Client is an Adobe Flex web map application that is able to provide a suite of convenient GIS analytical capabilities. In a typical use scenario, the RECOVER Server is provided a wildfire name and geospatial extent. The Server then automatically gathers Earth observational data and other relevant products from various geographically distributed data sources. The Server creates a database in the cloud where all relevant information about the wildfire is stored. This information is made available to the RECOVER Client and ultimately to fire managers through their choice of web browser. The Server refreshes the data throughout the burn and subsequent recovery period (3-5 years) with each refresh requiring two minutes to complete. Since remediation plans must be completed within 14 days of a fire's containment, RECOVER has the potential to significantly improve the decision-making process. RECOVER adds an important new dimension to post-fire decision-making by focusing on ecosystem rehabilitation in semiarid savannas. A novel aspect of RECOVER's approach involves the use of soil moisture estimates, which are an important but difficult

  2. Habitat differences in dung beetle assemblages in an African savanna-forest ecotone: implications for secondary seed dispersal.

    PubMed

    Kunz, Britta K; Krell, Frank-Thorsten

    2011-06-01

    The probability and pattern of secondary seed dispersal by dung beetles (Scarabaeinae) depend on their community structure and composition at the site of primary deposition, which, in turn, seem to be strongly determined by vegetation. Consequently, we expected pronounced differences in secondary seed dispersal between forest and savanna in the northern Ivory Coast, West Africa. We found 99 dung beetle species at experimentally exposed dung piles of the olive baboon (Papio anubis (Lesson, 1827)), an important primary seed disperser in West Africa. Seventy-six species belonged to the roller and tunneler guilds, which are relevant for secondary seed dispersal. Most species showed a clear habitat preference. Contrary to the Neotropics, species number and abundance were much higher in the savanna than in the forest. Rollers and tunnelers each accounted for approximately 50% of the individuals in the savanna, but in the forest rollers made up only 4%. Seeds deposited into the savanna by an omnivorous primary disperser generally have a higher overall probability of being more rapidly dispersed secondarily by dung beetles than seeds in the forest. Also, rollers disperse seeds over larger distances. In contrast to other studies, small rollers were active in dispersal of large seeds, which were seemingly mistaken for dung balls. Our results suggest that rollers can remove seeds from any plant dispersed in primate dung in this ecosystem.

  3. Aerosol emissions by tropical forest and savanna biomass burning: Characteristic trace elements and fluxes

    SciTech Connect

    Echalar, F.; Gaudichet, A.; Cachier, H.

    1995-11-15

    This report characterizes and compares trace element emissions from fires of three different types of savannas and from the southwestern amazonian rain forest. This study tries to verify a fingerprint that may characterize savanna fires or tropical biomass burning.

  4. Integrating in-situ, Landsat, and MODIS data for mapping in Southern African savannas: experiences of LCCS-based land-cover mapping in the Kalahari in Namibia.

    PubMed

    Hüttich, Christian; Herold, Martin; Strohbach, Ben J; Dech, Stefan

    2011-05-01

    Integrated ecosystem assessment initiatives are important steps towards a global biodiversity observing system. Reliable earth observation data are key information for tracking biodiversity change on various scales. Regarding the establishment of standardized environmental observation systems, a key question is: What can be observed on each scale and how can land cover information be transferred? In this study, a land cover map from a dry semi-arid savanna ecosystem in Namibia was obtained based on the UN LCCS, in-situ data, and MODIS and Landsat satellite imagery. In situ botanical relevé samples were used as baseline data for the definition of a standardized LCCS legend. A standard LCCS code for savanna vegetation types is introduced. An object-oriented segmentation of Landsat imagery was used as intermediate stage for downscaling in-situ training data on a coarse MODIS resolution. MODIS time series metrics of the growing season 2004/2005 were used to classify Kalahari vegetation types using a tree-based ensemble classifier (Random Forest). The prevailing Kalahari vegetation types based on LCCS was open broadleaved deciduous shrubland with an herbaceous layer which differs from the class assignments of the global and regional land-cover maps. The separability analysis based on Bhattacharya distance measurements applied on two LCCS levels indicated a relationship of spectral mapping dependencies of annual MODIS time series features due to the thematic detail of the classification scheme. The analysis of LCCS classifiers showed an increased significance of life-form composition and soil conditions to the mapping accuracy. An overall accuracy of 92.48% was achieved. Woody plant associations proved to be most stable due to small omission and commission errors. The case study comprised a first suitability assessment of the LCCS classifier approach for a southern African savanna ecosystem.

  5. Experimental test for facilitation of seedling recruitment by the dominant bunchgrass in a fire-maintained savanna.

    PubMed

    Iacona, Gwenllian D; Kirkman, L Katherine; Bruna, Emilio M

    2012-01-01

    Facilitative interactions between neighboring plants can influence community composition, especially in locations where environmental stress is a factor limiting competitive effects. The longleaf pine savanna of the southeastern United States is a threatened and diverse system where seedling recruitment success and understory species richness levels are regulated by the availability of moist microsites. We hypothesized that the dominant bunch grass species (Aristida stricta Michx.) would facilitate moist seedling microsites through shading, but that the effect would depend on stress gradients. Here, we examined the environmental properties modified by the presence of wiregrass and tested the importance of increased shade as a potential facilitative mechanism promoting seedling recruitment across spatial and temporal stress gradients. We showed that environmental gradients, season, and experimental water manipulation influence seedling success. Environmental properties were modified by wiregrass proximity in a manner that could facilitate seedling success, but we showed that shade alone does not provide a facilitative benefit to seedlings in this system.

  6. The effects of past climate variability on fire and vegetation in the cerrãdo savanna ecosystem of the Huanchaca Mesetta, Noel Kempff Mercado National Park, NE Bolivia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maezumi, S. Y.; Power, M. J.; Mayle, F. E.; McLauchlan, K.; Iriarte, J.

    2015-01-01

    Cerrãdo savannas have the greatest fire activity of all major global land-cover types and play a significant role in the global carbon cycle. During the 21st century, temperatures are predicted to increase by ~ 3 °C coupled with a precipitation decrease of ~ 20%. Although these conditions could potentially intensify drought stress, it is unknown how that might alter vegetation composition and fire regimes. To assess how Neotropical savannas responded to past climate changes, a 14 500 year, high-resolution, sedimentary record from Huanchaca Mesetta, a palm swamp located in the cerrãdo savanna in northeastern Bolivia, was analyzed for phytoliths, stable isotopes and charcoal. A non-analogue, cold-adapted vegetation community dominated the Late Glacial-Early Holocene period (14 500-9000 ka), that included trees and C3 Pooideae and C4 Panicoideae grasses. The Late Glacial vegetation was fire sensitive and fire activity during this period was low, likely responding to fuel availability and limitation. Although similar vegetation characterized the Early Holocene, the warming conditions associated with the onset of the Holocene led to an initial increase in fire activity. Huanchaca Mesetta became increasingly fire-dependent during the Middle Holocene with the expansion of C4 fire adapted grasses. However, as warm, dry conditions, characterized by increased length and severity of the dry season, continued, fuel availability decreased. The establishment of the modern palm swamp vegetation occurred at 5000 cal yr BP. Edaphic factors are the first order control on vegetation on the rocky quartzite mesetta. Where soils are sufficiently thick, climate is the second order control of vegetation on the mesetta. The presence of the modern palm swamp is attributed to two factors: (1) increased precipitation that increased water table levels, and (2) decreased frequency and duration of surazos leading to increased temperature minima. Natural (soil, climate, fire) drivers rather

  7. Competition between a Lawn-Forming Cynodon dactylon and a Tufted Grass Species Hyparrhenia hirta on a South-African Dystrophic Savanna.

    PubMed

    Zwerts, J A; Prins, H H T; Bomhoff, D; Verhagen, I; Swart, J M; de Boer, W F

    2015-01-01

    South African savanna grasslands are often characterised by indigestible tufted grass species whereas lawn grasses are far more desirable in terms of herbivore sustenance. We aimed to investigate the role of nutrients and/or the disturbance (grazing, trampling) by herbivores on the formation of grazing lawns. We conducted a series of common garden experiments to test the effect of nutrients on interspecific competition between a typical lawn-forming grass species (Cynodon dactylon) and a species that is frequently found outside grazing lawns (Hyparrhenia hirta), and tested for the effect of herbivore disturbance in the form of trampling and clipping. We also performed a vegetation and herbivore survey to apply experimentally derived insights to field observations. Our results showed that interspecific competition was not affected by soil nutrient concentrations. C. dactylon did show much more resilience to disturbance than H. hirta, presumably due to the regenerative capacity of its rhizomes. Results from the field survey were in line with these findings, describing a correlation between herbivore pressure and C. dactylon abundance. We conclude that herbivore disturbance, and not soil nutrients, provide C. dactylon with a competitive advantage over H. hirta, due to vegetative regeneration from its rhizomes. This provides evidence for the importance of concentrated, high herbivore densities for the creation and maintenance of grazing lawns.

  8. Competition between a Lawn-Forming Cynodon dactylon and a Tufted Grass Species Hyparrhenia hirta on a South-African Dystrophic Savanna

    PubMed Central

    Zwerts, J. A.; Prins, H. H. T.; Bomhoff, D.; Verhagen, I.; Swart, J. M.; de Boer, W. F.

    2015-01-01

    South African savanna grasslands are often characterised by indigestible tufted grass species whereas lawn grasses are far more desirable in terms of herbivore sustenance. We aimed to investigate the role of nutrients and/or the disturbance (grazing, trampling) by herbivores on the formation of grazing lawns. We conducted a series of common garden experiments to test the effect of nutrients on interspecific competition between a typical lawn-forming grass species (Cynodon dactylon) and a species that is frequently found outside grazing lawns (Hyparrhenia hirta), and tested for the effect of herbivore disturbance in the form of trampling and clipping. We also performed a vegetation and herbivore survey to apply experimentally derived insights to field observations. Our results showed that interspecific competition was not affected by soil nutrient concentrations. C. dactylon did show much more resilience to disturbance than H. hirta, presumably due to the regenerative capacity of its rhizomes. Results from the field survey were in line with these findings, describing a correlation between herbivore pressure and C. dactylon abundance. We conclude that herbivore disturbance, and not soil nutrients, provide C. dactylon with a competitive advantage over H. hirta, due to vegetative regeneration from its rhizomes. This provides evidence for the importance of concentrated, high herbivore densities for the creation and maintenance of grazing lawns. PMID:26510157

  9. Researching the Link Between Biomass Burning and Drought Across the Northern Sub-Saharan African Savanna/Sahel Belt

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ichoku, Charles; Ellison, Luke

    2012-01-01

    The northern sub-Saharan African (NSSA) region, bounded by the Sahara, Equator, and the West and East African coastlines, is subjected to intense biomass burning every year during the dry season. This is believed to be one of the drivers of the regional carbon and energy cycles, with serious implications for the water cycle anomalies that probably contribute to drought and desertification. In this presentation, we will discuss a new multi-disciplinary research in the NSSA region, review progress, evaluate preliminary results, and interact with the research and user communities to examine how best to coordinate with other research activities in order to address related environmental issues most effectively.

  10. How Rainfall Variation Influences Reproductive Patterns of African Savanna Ungulates in an Equatorial Region Where Photoperiod Variation Is Absent.

    PubMed

    Ogutu, Joseph O; Owen-Smith, Norman; Piepho, Hans-Peter; Dublin, Holly T

    2015-01-01

    In high temperate latitudes, ungulates generally give birth within a narrow time window when conditions are optimal for offspring survival in spring or early summer, and use changing photoperiod to time conceptions so as to anticipate these conditions. However, in low tropical latitudes day length variation is minimal, and rainfall variation makes the seasonal cycle less predictable. Nevertheless, several ungulate species retain narrow birth peaks under such conditions, while others show births spread quite widely through the year. We investigated how within-year and between-year variation in rainfall influenced the reproductive timing of four ungulate species showing these contrasting patterns in the Masai Mara region of Kenya. All four species exhibited birth peaks during the putative optimal period in the early wet season. For hartebeest and impala, the birth peak was diffuse and offspring were born throughout the year. In contrast, topi and warthog showed a narrow seasonal concentration of births, with conceptions suppressed once monthly rainfall fell below a threshold level. High rainfall in the previous season and high early rains in the current year enhanced survival into the juvenile stage for all the species except impala. Our findings reveal how rainfall variation affecting grass growth and hence herbivore nutrition can govern the reproductive phenology of ungulates in tropical latitudes where day length variation is minimal. The underlying mechanism seems to be the suppression of conceptions once nutritional gains become insufficient. Through responding proximally to within-year variation in rainfall, tropical savanna ungulates are less likely to be affected adversely by the consequences of global warming for vegetation phenology than northern ungulates showing more rigid photoperiodic control over reproductive timing.

  11. How Rainfall Variation Influences Reproductive Patterns of African Savanna Ungulates in an Equatorial Region Where Photoperiod Variation Is Absent

    PubMed Central

    Ogutu, Joseph O.; Owen-Smith, Norman; Piepho, Hans-Peter; Dublin, Holly T.

    2015-01-01

    In high temperate latitudes, ungulates generally give birth within a narrow time window when conditions are optimal for offspring survival in spring or early summer, and use changing photoperiod to time conceptions so as to anticipate these conditions. However, in low tropical latitudes day length variation is minimal, and rainfall variation makes the seasonal cycle less predictable. Nevertheless, several ungulate species retain narrow birth peaks under such conditions, while others show births spread quite widely through the year. We investigated how within-year and between-year variation in rainfall influenced the reproductive timing of four ungulate species showing these contrasting patterns in the Masai Mara region of Kenya. All four species exhibited birth peaks during the putative optimal period in the early wet season. For hartebeest and impala, the birth peak was diffuse and offspring were born throughout the year. In contrast, topi and warthog showed a narrow seasonal concentration of births, with conceptions suppressed once monthly rainfall fell below a threshold level. High rainfall in the previous season and high early rains in the current year enhanced survival into the juvenile stage for all the species except impala. Our findings reveal how rainfall variation affecting grass growth and hence herbivore nutrition can govern the reproductive phenology of ungulates in tropical latitudes where day length variation is minimal. The underlying mechanism seems to be the suppression of conceptions once nutritional gains become insufficient. Through responding proximally to within-year variation in rainfall, tropical savanna ungulates are less likely to be affected adversely by the consequences of global warming for vegetation phenology than northern ungulates showing more rigid photoperiodic control over reproductive timing. PMID:26295154

  12. Source characterization of biomass burning particles: The combustion of selected European conifers, African hardwood, savanna grass, and German and Indonesian peat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iinuma, Y.; Brüggemann, E.; Gnauk, T.; Müller, K.; Andreae, M. O.; Helas, G.; Parmar, R.; Herrmann, H.

    2007-04-01

    We carried out a detailed size-resolved chemical characterization of particle emissions from the combustion of European conifer species, savanna grass, African hardwood, and German and Indonesian peat. Combustion particles were sampled using two sets of five-stage Berner-type cascade impactors after a buffer volume and a dilution tunnel. We determined the emission factors of water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC, 46-6700 mg kg-1, sum of five stages), water-insoluble organic carbon (WISOC, 1300-6100 mg kg-1), (apparent) elemental carbon (ECa, 490-1800 mg kg-1), inorganic ions (68-400 mg kg-1), n-alkanes (0.38-910 mg kg-1), n-alkenes (0.45-180 mg kg-1), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (1.4-28 mg kg-1), oxy-PAHs (0.08-1.0 mg kg-1), lignin decomposition products (59-620 mg kg-1), nitrophenols (1.4-31 mg kg-1), resin acids (0-110 mg kg-1), and cellulose and hemicellulose decomposition products (540-5900 mg kg-1). The combustion and particle emission characteristics of both of peat were significantly different from those of the other biofuels. Peat burning yielded significantly higher emission factors of total fine particles in comparison to the other biofuels. Very high emission factors of n-alkanes and n-alkenes were observed from peat combustion, which may be connected to the concurrently observed "missing" CCN in peat smoke. A high level of monosaccharide anhydrides, especially levoglucosan, was detected from all types of biofuel combustion. The fractions of monosaccharide anhydrides in the emitted total carbon were higher in smaller particles (aerodynamic diameter, Dpa < 0.42 μm).

  13. Land use scenarios development and impacts assessment on vegetation carbon/nitrogen sequestration in the West African Sudan savanna watershed, Benin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chabi, A.

    2015-12-01

    ackground: Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), being developed through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) requires information on the carbon/nitrogen stocks in the plant biomass for predicting future climate under scenarios development. The development of land use scenarios in West Africa is needed to predict future impacts of change in the environment and the socio-economic status of rural communities. The study aims at developing land use scenario based on mitigation strategy to climate change as an issue of contributing for carbon and nitrogen sequestration, the condition 'food focused' as a scenario based crop production and 'financial investment' as scenario based on an economic development pathway, and to explore the possible future temporal and spatial impacts on vegetation carbon/nitrogen sequestration/emission and socio-economic status of rural communities. Preliminary results: BEN-LUDAS (Benin-Land Use DyNamic Simulator) model, carbon and nitrogen equations, remote sensing and socio-economic data were used to predict the future impacts of each scenario in the environment and human systems. The preliminary results which are under analysis will be presented soon. Conclusion: The proposed BEN-LUDAS models will help to contribute to policy decision making at the local and regional scale and to predict future impacts of change in the environment and socio-economic status of the rural communities. Keywords: Land use scenarios development, BEN-LUDAS, socio-economic status of rural communities, future impacts of change, assessment, West African Sudan savanna watershed, Benin

  14. Methyl Halide Emissions From Experimental Fires With Southern African Biofuels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lobert, J. M.; Lobert, J. M.; Keene, W. C.; Crutzen, P. J.; Scharffe, D. H.; Maben, J. R.; Williams, J.

    2001-12-01

    Under the auspices of SAFARI 2000, biofuels (savanna grasses, shrubs, woody plants, litter, agricultural waste, and charcoal) were sampled in the savannah of Kruger National Park, the Kalahari of Etosha National Park and the Miombo woodlands in Zambia and Malawi. More than 50 sub-samples were burned in 60 experiments under semi-controlled conditions at the biomass burning facility of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany. Emissions were sampled with flasks and analyzed by GC-MS for gaseous CH3Br, CH3Cl, CH3I and other halogenated compounds. The elemental compositions of the fuel and ash from each burn were also measured. Molar emission ratios of these compounds relative to CO, CO2 and the elemental composition of the fuel as well as partial mass balances for carbon, nitrogen and halogens will be presented with emphasis on methyl halide emissions. These results will be compared to similar data in the literature and preliminary estimates for the impacts of biomass burning on regional and global budgets will be presented. Additional resources can be found at: http://jurgenlobert.org/projects/mpi_safari/ and http://safari.gecp.virginia.edu/

  15. Insights into the management of large carnivores for profitable wildlife-based land uses in African savannas.

    PubMed

    Funston, Paul J; Groom, Rosemary J; Lindsey, Peter A

    2013-01-01

    Large African predators, especially lions (Panthera leo) and leopards (Panthera pardus), are financially valuable for ecotourism and trophy hunting operations on land also utilized for the production of other wildlife species for the same purpose. Predation of ungulates used for trophy hunting can create conflict with landholders and trade off thus exists between the value of lions and leopards and their impact on ungulate populations. Therefore productionist and conservation trade-offs are complexly graded and difficult to resolve. We investigated this with a risk-benefit analysis on a large private wildlife production area in Zimbabwe. Our model showed that lions result in substantial financial costs through predation on wild ungulates that may not be offset by profits from hunting them, whereas the returns from trophy hunting of leopards are projected to exceed the costs due to leopard predation. In the absence of additional income derived from photo-tourism the number of lions may need to be managed to minimize their impact. Lions drive important ecological processes, but there is a need to balance ecological and financial imperatives on wildlife ranches, community wildlife lands and other categories of multiple use land used for wildlife production. This will ensure the competitiveness of wildlife based land uses relative to alternatives. Our findings may thus be limited to conservancies, community land-use areas and commercial game ranches, which are expansive in Africa, and should not necessarily applied to areas where biodiversity conservation is the primary objective, even if hunting is allowed there.

  16. Insights into the Management of Large Carnivores for Profitable Wildlife-Based Land Uses in African Savannas

    PubMed Central

    Funston, Paul J.; Groom, Rosemary J.; Lindsey, Peter A.

    2013-01-01

    Large African predators, especially lions (Panthera leo) and leopards (Panthera pardus), are financially valuable for ecotourism and trophy hunting operations on land also utilized for the production of other wildlife species for the same purpose. Predation of ungulates used for trophy hunting can create conflict with landholders and trade off thus exists between the value of lions and leopards and their impact on ungulate populations. Therefore productionist and conservation trade-offs are complexly graded and difficult to resolve. We investigated this with a risk-benefit analysis on a large private wildlife production area in Zimbabwe. Our model showed that lions result in substantial financial costs through predation on wild ungulates that may not be offset by profits from hunting them, whereas the returns from trophy hunting of leopards are projected to exceed the costs due to leopard predation. In the absence of additional income derived from photo-tourism the number of lions may need to be managed to minimize their impact. Lions drive important ecological processes, but there is a need to balance ecological and financial imperatives on wildlife ranches, community wildlife lands and other categories of multiple use land used for wildlife production. This will ensure the competitiveness of wildlife based land uses relative to alternatives. Our findings may thus be limited to conservancies, community land-use areas and commercial game ranches, which are expansive in Africa, and should not necessarily applied to areas where biodiversity conservation is the primary objective, even if hunting is allowed there. PMID:23527083

  17. Demography of woody species in a semi-arid African savanna reserve following the re-introduction of elephants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Connor, Timothy G.

    2017-01-01

    The hypothesis that African elephants may cause the local extirpation of selected woody species was evaluated in a medium-sized, semi-arid reserve following their reintroduction at low density. Mortality, state-change, and regeneration of 25 tree and 17 shrub species were studied between 1997 and 2010. Annual mortality of shrub species ranged from 0.2 to 8.0%, with six species experiencing 6-8%. Eight shrub species lost more than half their adult population (range 10-94%). Annual tree mortality ranged from 0.2 to 10.5%. The two dominant dryland tree species experienced <1% annual mortality, 18 species lost more than half their tree population, and one was eliminated. Elephants accounted for >63% and stress-related agents >20% of tree deaths. The manner in which elephants induced tree death depended on species. The proportion of individuals of a species killed by pollarding or uprooting ranged from 0 to 74%, and by debarking from 0 to 100%. Complete uprooting was a common cause of death for three shrub species. Regeneration ranged from zero for six tree and one shrub species to a seedling every 7 m2 for Colophospermum mopane and 23 m2 for Dichrostachys cinerea in riparian habitat. Three shrub and eight tree species were identified as vulnerable to local extirpation owing to a combination of high mortality and poor regeneration that is likely to result in a considerably simplified system. Reintroduction of elephants into medium-sized reserves without regulation of their numbers may not be a desirable action.

  18. Delta15N values of tropical savanna and monsoon forest species reflect root specialisations and soil nitrogen status.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, S; Stewart, G R

    2003-03-01

    species. Plants from annually burnt savanna had significantly higher delta(15)N values compared to plants from less frequently burnt savanna, suggesting that foliar (15)N natural abundance could be used as marker for assessing historic fire regimes. Australian woodland and savanna species had low leaf delta(15)N and N content compared to species from equivalent African communities indicating that Australian biota are the more N depauperate. The largest differences in leaf delta(15)N occurred between the dominant ECM Australian and African savanna (miombo) species, which were depleted and enriched in (15)N, respectively. While the depleted delta(15)N of Australian ECM species are similar to those of previous reports on ECM species in natural plant communities, the (15)N-enriched delta(15)N of African ECM species represent an anomaly.

  19. MISR and AirMISR Simultaneously Observe African Grassland Fires

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2000-01-01

    These images of northeastern South Africa, near Kruger National Park, were acquired on September 7, 2000. The left image shows an 85-kilometer wide x 200-kilometer long area captured by MISR's aftward-viewing 45-degree camera. At lower left are the Drakensberg Mountains; to the east of this range a large burn scar with thin smoke plumes from still-smoldering fires is visible. Near the top of the image another large burn scar with an open-pit mine at its western edge can be seen. Other burn scars are scattered throughout the image.

    Just above the center of the lefthand image is a polygonal burn scar with a set of smoke plumes from actively burning fires at its southwestern tip. The righthand image, which is a 'zoomed-in' view of the area, was acquired almost simultaneously by MISR's airborne counterpart, AirMISR, aboard a NASA ER-2 high-altitude aircraft. AirMISR contains a single camera that rotates to different view angles; when this image was acquired the camera was pointed straight downward. Because the ER-2 aircraft flies at an altitude of 20 kilometers, whereas the Terra spacecraft orbits the Earth 700 kilometers above the ground, the AirMISR image has 35 times finer spatial resolution. The AirMISR image covers about 9 kilometers x 9 kilometers. Unlike the MISR view, the AirMISR data are in 'raw' form and processing to remove radiometric and geometric distortions has not yet been performed.

    Fires such as those shown in the images are deliberately set to burn off dry vegetation, and constitute a widespread agricultural practice in many parts of Africa. These MISR and AirMISR images are part of an international field, aircraft, and satellite data collection and analysis campaign known as SAFARI-2000, the Southern Africa Regional Science Initiative. SAFARI-2000 is designed, in part, to study the effects of large-scale human activities on the regional climate, meteorology, and ecosystems.

    MISR was built and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

  20. Disaggregating tree and grass phenology in tropical savannas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhou, Qiang

    Savannas are mixed tree-grass systems and as one of the world's largest biomes represent an important component of the Earth system affecting water and energy balances, carbon sequestration and biodiversity as well as supporting large human populations. Savanna vegetation structure and its distribution, however, may change because of major anthropogenic disturbances from climate change, wildfire, agriculture, and livestock production. The overstory and understory may have different water use strategies, different nutrient requirements and have different responses to fire and climate variation. The accurate measurement of the spatial distribution and structure of the overstory and understory are essential for understanding the savanna ecosystem. This project developed a workflow for separating the dynamics of the overstory and understory fractional cover in savannas at the continental scale (Australia, South America, and Africa). Previous studies have successfully separated the phenology of Australian savanna vegetation into persistent and seasonal greenness using time series decomposition, and into fractions of photosynthetic vegetation (PV), non-photosynthetic vegetation (NPV) and bare soil (BS) using linear unmixing. This study combined these methods to separate the understory and overstory signal in both the green and senescent phenological stages using remotely sensed imagery from the MODIS (MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) sensor. The methods and parameters were adjusted based on the vegetation variation. The workflow was first tested at the Australian site. Here the PV estimates for overstory and understory showed best performance, however NPV estimates exhibited spatial variation in validation relationships. At the South American site (Cerrado), an additional method based on frequency unmixing was developed to separate green vegetation components with similar phenology. When the decomposition and frequency methods were compared, the frequency

  1. Modeling the Optical Properties of Biomass Burning Aerosols: Young Smoke Aerosols From Savanna Fires and Comparisons to Observations from SAFARI 2000

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Matichuk, R. I.; Smith, J. A.; Toon, O. B.; Colarso, P. R.

    2006-01-01

    Annually, farmers in southern Africa manage their land resources and prepare their fields for cultivation by burning crop residual debris, with a peak in the burning season occurring during August and September. The emissions from these fires in southern Africa are among the greatest from fires worldwide, and the gases and aerosol particles produced adversely affect air quality large distances from their source regions, and can even be tracked in satellite imagery as they cross the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean basins. During August and September 2000 an international group of researchers participating in the Southern African Regional Science Initiate field experiment (SAFARI 2000) made extensive ground-based, airborne, and satellite measurements of these gases and aerosols in order to quantify their amounts and effects on Earth's atmosphere. In this study we interpreted the measurements of smoke aerosol particles made during SAFARI 2000 in order to better represent these particles in a numerical model simulating their transport and fate. Typically, smoke aerosols emitted from fires are concentrated by mass in particles about 0.3 micrometers in diameter (1,000,000 micrometers = 1 meter, about 3 feet); for comparison, the thickness of a human hair is about 50 micrometers, almost 200 times as great. Because of the size of these particles, at the surface they can be easily inhaled into the lungs, and in high concentrations have deleterious health effects on humans. Additionally, these particles reflect and absorb sunlight, impacting both visibility and the balance of sunlight reaching -Earth's surface, and ultimately play a role in modulating Earth's climate. Because of these important effects, it is important that numerical models used to estimate Earth's climate response to changes in atmospheric composition accurately represent the quantity and evolution of smoke particles. In our model, called the Community Aerosol and Radiation Model for Atmospheres (CARMA) we used

  2. Contrasting long-term records of biomass burning in wet and dry savannas of equatorial East Africa.

    PubMed

    Colombaroli, Daniele; Ssemmanda, Immaculate; Gelorini, Vanessa; Verschuren, Dirk

    2014-09-01

    Rainfall controls fire in tropical savanna ecosystems through impacting both the amount and flammability of plant biomass, and consequently, predicted changes in tropical precipitation over the next century are likely to have contrasting effects on the fire regimes of wet and dry savannas. We reconstructed the long-term dynamics of biomass burning in equatorial East Africa, using fossil charcoal particles from two well-dated lake-sediment records in western Uganda and central Kenya. We compared these high-resolution (5 years/sample) time series of biomass burning, spanning the last 3800 and 1200 years, with independent data on past hydroclimatic variability and vegetation dynamics. In western Uganda, a rapid (<100 years) and permanent increase in burning occurred around 2170 years ago, when climatic drying replaced semideciduous forest by wooded grassland. At the century time scale, biomass burning was inversely related to moisture balance for much of the next two millennia until ca. 1750 ad, when burning increased strongly despite regional climate becoming wetter. A sustained decrease in burning since the mid20th century reflects the intensified modern-day landscape conversion into cropland and plantations. In contrast, in semiarid central Kenya, biomass burning peaked at intermediate moisture-balance levels, whereas it was lower both during the wettest and driest multidecadal periods of the last 1200 years. Here, burning steadily increased since the mid20th century, presumably due to more frequent deliberate ignitions for bush clearing and cattle ranching. Both the observed historical trends and regional contrasts in biomass burning are consistent with spatial variability in fire regimes across the African savanna biome today. They demonstrate the strong dependence of East African fire regimes on both climatic moisture balance and vegetation, and the extent to which this dependence is now being overridden by anthropogenic activity.

  3. Changes in grass plant populations and temporal soil seed bank dynamics in a semi-arid African savanna: Implications for restoration.

    PubMed

    Tessema, Zewdu K; de Boer, Willem F; Prins, Herbert H T

    2016-11-01

    The re-colonization or recovery of grass species after disappearance due to heavy grazing depends on the presence of persistent soil seed banks that might be accumulated over time from the aboveground vegetation. Moreover, successful plant recruitment is a function of seed production, seed germination and seedling survival, which can be mechanistically understood through studying the life cycle processes of grass species populations under field conditions. Therefore, we studied the number of germinable seeds, species richness and life-forms in the soil seed banks under light and heavy grazing conditions, and the changes in grass species populations in a semi-arid savanna of Ethiopia. Accordingly, a total of 103 species (15 perennial and 29 annual grasses, 6 legumes, 52 forbs and 1 woody species) emerged from the soil samples collected. Lightly grazed sites had a higher seed density compared with heavily grazed sites. The seed density increased over the first three months of soil sampling and decreased thereafter. Perennial grasses dominated the light grazing sites, whereas annual species dominated the heavily grazed sites, indicating that perennial grasses were replaced by annual species in the soil seed bank through grazing. The mean mortality rate from the seedling stage to adult plants was 65%. The seed-to-seedling stage was found to be the most critical transitional stage for grass survival. High seedling mortality in the aboveground vegetation and depletion of seeds in the soil seed banks as a result of sustained heavy grazing can lead to local extinction and disappearance of perennial grasses in semi-arid Ethiopian savannas.

  4. Defoliation by pastoralists affects savanna tree seedling dynamics by limiting the facilitative role of canopy cover.

    PubMed

    Bufford, Jennifer L; Gaoue, Orou G

    2015-07-01

    Recurrent tree defoliation by pastoralists, akin to herbivory, can negatively affect plant reproduction and population dynamics. However, our understanding of the indirect role of defoliation in seedling recruitment and tree-grass dynamics in tropical savanna is limited. In West African savanna, Fulani pastoralists frequently defoliate several fodder tree species to feed livestock in the dry season. We investigated the direct and indirect effects of recurrent defoliation of African mahogany (Khaya senegalensis) by Fulani people on seedling (< 2 cm basal diameter) and sapling dynamics in West Africa using four years of demographic data on seedling and sapling density, growth, and survival, coupled with fruit production and microhabitat data over the same time period. Tree canopy cover facilitated seedlings but had negative effects on sapling growth possibly via intraspecific competition with adult plants. Interspecific competition with grasses strongly reduced seedling survival but had a weak effect on sapling growth. Fire reduced seedling survival and weakly reduced growth of seedlings and saplings, but did not affect sapling survival. These results indicate that the effect of fire on seedlings and saplings is distinct, a mechanism suitable for an episodic recruitment of seedlings into the sapling stage and consistent with predictions from the demographic bottleneck model. Defoliation affected seedling density and sapling growth through changes in canopy cover, but had no effect on seedling growth and sapling survival. In the moist region, sapling density was higher in sites with low-intensity defoliation, indicating that defoliation may strengthen the tree recruitment bottleneck. Our study suggests that large-scale defoliation can alter the facilitative role of nurse trees on seedling dynamics and tree-sapling competition. Given that tree defoliation by local people is a widespread activity throughout savanna-forest systems in West Africa, it has the potential to

  5. Fires in the Cenozoic: a late flowering of flammable ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Bond, William J

    2014-01-01

    Modern flammable ecosystems include tropical and subtropical savannas, steppe grasslands, boreal forests, and temperate sclerophyll shrublands. Despite the apparent fiery nature of much contemporary vegetation, terrestrial fossil evidence would suggest we live in a time of low fire activity relative to the deep past. The inertinite content of coal, fossil charcoal, is strikingly low from the Eocene to the Pleistocene and no charcoalified mesofossils have been reported for the Cenozoic. Marine cores have been analyzed for charcoal in the North Pacific, the north and south Atlantic off Africa, and the south China sea. These tell a different story with the oldest records indicating low levels of fire activity from the Eocene but a surge of fire from the late Miocene (~7 Ma). Phylogenetic studies of woody plants adapted to frequent savanna fires show them beginning to appear from the Late Miocene with peak origins in the late Pliocene in both South American and African lineages. Phylogenetic studies indicate ancient origins (60 Ma+) for clades characteristic of flammable sclerophyll vegetation from Australia and the Cape region of South Africa. However, as for savannas, there was a surge of speciation from the Late Miocene associated with the retreat of closed fire-intolerant forests. The wide geographic spread of increased fire activity in the last few million years suggests a global cause. However, none of the potential global factors (oxygen, rainfall seasonality, CO2, novel flammable growth forms) provides an adequate explanation as yet. The global patterns and processes of fire and flammable vegetation in the Cenozoic, especially since the Late Miocene, deserve much more attention to better understand fire in the earth system.

  6. Fires in the Cenozoic: a late flowering of flammable ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Bond, William J.

    2015-01-01

    Modern flammable ecosystems include tropical and subtropical savannas, steppe grasslands, boreal forests, and temperate sclerophyll shrublands. Despite the apparent fiery nature of much contemporary vegetation, terrestrial fossil evidence would suggest we live in a time of low fire activity relative to the deep past. The inertinite content of coal, fossil charcoal, is strikingly low from the Eocene to the Pleistocene and no charcoalified mesofossils have been reported for the Cenozoic. Marine cores have been analyzed for charcoal in the North Pacific, the north and south Atlantic off Africa, and the south China sea. These tell a different story with the oldest records indicating low levels of fire activity from the Eocene but a surge of fire from the late Miocene (~7 Ma). Phylogenetic studies of woody plants adapted to frequent savanna fires show them beginning to appear from the Late Miocene with peak origins in the late Pliocene in both South American and African lineages. Phylogenetic studies indicate ancient origins (60 Ma+) for clades characteristic of flammable sclerophyll vegetation from Australia and the Cape region of South Africa. However, as for savannas, there was a surge of speciation from the Late Miocene associated with the retreat of closed fire-intolerant forests. The wide geographic spread of increased fire activity in the last few million years suggests a global cause. However, none of the potential global factors (oxygen, rainfall seasonality, CO2, novel flammable growth forms) provides an adequate explanation as yet. The global patterns and processes of fire and flammable vegetation in the Cenozoic, especially since the Late Miocene, deserve much more attention to better understand fire in the earth system. PMID:25601873

  7. Understory plant communities and the functional distinction between savanna trees, forest trees, and pines

    SciTech Connect

    Veldman, Joseph W.; Mattingly, W. Brett; Brudvig, Lars A.

    2013-02-01

    Although savanna trees and forest trees are thought to represent distinct functional groups with different effects on ecosystem processes, few empirical studies have examined these effects. In particular, it remains unclear if savanna and forest trees differ in their ability to coexist with understory plants, which comprise the majority of plant diversity in most savannas. We used structural equation modeling (SEM) and data from 157 sites across three locations in the southeastern United States to understand the effects of broadleaf savanna trees, broadleaf forest trees, and pine trees on savanna understory plant communities. After accounting for underlying gradients in fire frequency and soil moisture, abundances (i.e., basal area and stem density) of forest trees and pines, but not savanna trees, were negatively correlated with the cover and density (i.e., local-scale species richness) of C4 graminoid species, a defining savanna understory functional group that is linked to ecosystem flammability. In analyses of the full understory community, abundances of trees from all functional groups were negatively correlated with species density and cover. For both the C4 and full communities, fire frequency promoted understory plants directly, and indirectly by limiting forest tree abundance. There was little indirect influence of fire on the understory mediated through savanna trees and pines, which are more fire tolerant than forest trees. We conclude that tree functional identity is an important factor that influences overstory tree relationships with savanna understory plant communities. In particular, distinct relationships between trees and C4 graminoids have implications for grass-tree coexistence and vegetation-fire feedbacks that maintain savanna environments and their associated understory plant diversity.

  8. Ectomycorrhizal fungal communities of oak savanna are distinct from forest communities.

    PubMed

    Dickie, I A; Dentinger, B T M; Avis, P G; McLaughlin, D J; Reich, P B

    2009-01-01

    Oak savanna is one of the most endangered ecosystems of North America, with less than 0.02% of its original area remaining. Here we test whether oak savanna supports a unique community of ectomycorrhizal fungi, a higher diversity of ectomycorrhizal fungi or a greater proportional abundance of ascomycete fungi compared with adjacent areas where the absence of fire has resulted in oak savanna conversion to oak forest. The overall fungal community was highly diverse and dominated by Cenococcum geophilum and other ascomycetes, Cortinarius, Russula, Lactarius and Thelephoraceae. Oak savanna mycorrhizal communities were distinct from oak forest communities both aboveground (sporocarp surveys) and belowground (RFLP identification of ectomycorrhizal root tips); however total diversity was not higher in oak savanna than oak forests and there was no evidence of a greater abundance of ascomycetes. Despite not having a higher local diversity than oak forests, the presence of a unique fungal community indicates that oak savanna plays an important role in maintaining regional ectomycorrhizal diversity.

  9. Large herbivores facilitate savanna tree establishment via diverse and indirect pathways.

    PubMed

    Goheen, Jacob R; Palmer, Todd M; Keesing, Felicia; Riginos, Corinna; Young, Truman P

    2010-03-01

    1. Savanna ecosystems are defined largely by tree-grass mixtures, and tree establishment is a key driver of community structure and ecosystem function in these systems. The factors controlling savanna tree establishment are understudied, but likely involve some combination of seed, microsite and predator/fire limitation. In African savannas, suppression and killing of adult trees by large mammals like elephants (Loxodonta africana Blumenbach, 1797) and giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis Linnaeus, 1758) can maintain tree-grass co-dominance, although the impacts of even these conspicuous herbivores on tree establishment also are poorly understood. 2. We combined seed addition and predator exclusion experiments with a large-scale, long-term field manipulation of large herbivores to investigate the relative importance of seeds, microsites and predators in limiting establishment of a monodominant tree (Acacia drepanolobium Sjostedt) in a Kenyan savanna. 3. Both wild and domestic (i.e. cattle; Bos taurus Linnaeus, 1758) large herbivores facilitated tree establishment by suppressing abundances of rodents, the most important seed and seedling predators. However, this indirect, positive effect of wild herbivores was negated by wild herbivores' suppression of seed production. Cattle did not have this direct, negative impact; rather, they further assisted tree establishment by reducing cover of understorey grasses. Thus, the impacts of both groups of large herbivores on tree establishment were largely routed through other taxa, with a negligible net effect of wild herbivores and a positive net effect of cattle on tree establishment. 4. The distinction between the (positive) net effect of cattle and (neutral) net effect of wild herbivores is due to the inclusion of browsers and mixed feeders within the assemblage of wild herbivores. Browsing by wild herbivores limited seed production, which reduced tree recruitment; grazing by cattle was more pronounced than that by wild

  10. Understory plant communities and the functional distinction between savanna trees, forest trees, and pines.

    PubMed

    Veldman, Joseph W; Mattingly, W Brett; Brudvig, Lars A

    2013-02-01

    Although savanna trees and forest trees are thought to represent distinct functional groups with different effects on ecosystem processes, few empirical studies have examined these effects. In particular, it remains unclear if savanna and forest trees differ in their ability to coexist with understory plants, which comprise the majority of plant diversity in most savannas. We used structural equation modeling (SEM) and data from 157 sites across three locations in the southeastern United States to understand the effects of broadleaf savanna trees, broadleaf forest trees, and pine trees on savanna understory plant communities. After accounting for underlying gradients in fire frequency and soil moisture, abundances (i.e., basal area and stem density) of forest trees and pines, but not savanna trees, were negatively correlated with the cover and density (i.e., local-scale species richness) of C4 graminoid species, a defining savanna understory functional group that is linked to ecosystem flammability. In analyses of the full understory community, abundances of trees from all functional groups were negatively correlated with species density and cover. For both the C4 and full communities, fire frequency promoted understory plants directly, and indirectly by limiting forest tree abundance. There was little indirect influence of fire on the understory mediated through savanna trees and pines, which are morefire tolerant than forest trees. We conclude that tree functional identity is an important factor that influences overstory tree relationships with savanna understory plant communities. In particular, distinct relationships between trees and C4 graminoids have implications for grass-tree coexistence and vegetation-fire feedbacks that maintain savanna environments and their associated understory plant diversity.

  11. Possible Effects of Seasonal Fires on Drought Across the Northern Sub-Saharan African Region

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ichoku, Charles

    2010-01-01

    Recent satellite-based studies have revealed that the northern sub-Saharan African (NSSA) region has one of the highest biomass-burning rates per unit land area among all regions of the world. Because of the high concentration and frequency of fires in this region, with the associated abundance of heat release and gaseous and particulate smoke emissions, biomass-burning activity is believed to be a major driver of the regional carbon, energy, and water cycles. We acknowledge that the rainy season in the NSSA region is from April to September while biomass burning occurs mainly during the dry season (October to March). Nevertheless, these two phenomena are indirectly coupled to each other through a chain of complex processes and conditions, including land-cover and surface-albedo changes, the carbon cycle, evapotranspiration, drought, desertification, surface water runoff, ground water recharge, and variability in atmospheric composition, heating rates, and circulation. In this presentation, we will examine the theoretical linkages between these processes, discuss the preliminary results based on satellite data analysis, and provide an overview of plans for more integrated research to be conducted over the next few years.

  12. Fire!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jones, Rebecca

    1996-01-01

    The number of school fires is up nationwide. This article describes unsafe school conditions, problems with new fire codes, and the factors that contribute to school fires. Installation of sprinkler systems is recommended. A fire-safety checklist is included. (LMI)

  13. Trade-offs between savanna woody plant diversity and carbon storage in the Brazilian Cerrado.

    PubMed

    Pellegrini, Adam F A; Socolar, Jacob B; Elsen, Paul R; Giam, Xingli

    2016-10-01

    Incentivizing carbon storage can be a win-win pathway to conserving biodiversity and mitigating climate change. In savannas, however, the situation is more complex. Promoting carbon storage through woody encroachment may reduce plant diversity of savanna endemics, even as the diversity of encroaching forest species increases. This trade-off has important implications for the management of biodiversity and carbon in savanna habitats, but has rarely been evaluated empirically. We quantified the nature of carbon-diversity relationships in the Brazilian Cerrado by analyzing how woody plant species richness changed with carbon storage in 206 sites across the 2.2 million km(2) region at two spatial scales. We show that total woody plant species diversity increases with carbon storage, as expected, but that the richness of endemic savanna woody plant species declines with carbon storage both at the local scale, as woody biomass accumulates within plots, and at the landscape scale, as forest replaces savanna. The sharpest trade-offs between carbon storage and savanna diversity occurred at the early stages of carbon accumulation at the local scale but the final stages of forest encroachment at the landscape scale. Furthermore, the loss of savanna species quickens in the final stages of forest encroachment, and beyond a point, savanna species losses outpace forest species gains with increasing carbon accumulation. Our results suggest that although woody encroachment in savanna ecosystems may provide substantial carbon benefits, it comes at the rapidly accruing cost of woody plant species adapted to the open savanna environment. Moreover, the dependence of carbon-diversity trade-offs on the amount of savanna area remaining requires land managers to carefully consider local conditions. Widespread woody encroachment in both Australian and African savannas and grasslands may present similar threats to biodiversity.

  14. Climate, herbivory, and fire controls on tropical African forest for the last 60ka

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ivory, Sarah J.; Russell, James

    2016-09-01

    The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in Africa was drier than today and was followed by rapid step-wise climate changes during the last deglacial period. In much of Africa, these changes led to a drastic reduction of lowland forest area during the LGM, followed by recolonization of the lowlands by forest and woodland in concert with regional warming and wetting. However, the history of southeastern African vegetation contrasts with that observed further north. In particular, forest expansion appears to have occurred in southeastern Africa during episodes of high-latitude northern hemisphere cooling. Although vegetation history in Africa is generally assumed to relate purely to climate, previous studies have not addressed potential feedbacks between climate, vegetation, and disturbance regimes (fire, herbivory) that may create tipping points in ecosystems. This climate-vegetation history has profound implications for our understanding of the modern architecture of lowland and highland forests, both thought to be at risk from future climate change. Here we present analyses of fossil pollen, charcoal, and Sporormiella (dung fungus) on a continuous 60 kyr record from central Lake Tanganyika, Southeast Africa, that illustrates the interplay of climate and disturbance regimes in shaping vegetation composition and structure. We observe that extensive forests dominated the region during the last glacial period despite evidence of decreased rainfall. At the end of the LGM, forest opening at ∼17.5 ka followed warming temperatures but preceded rising precipitation, suggesting that temperature-induced water stress and disturbance from fire and herbivory affected initial landscape transformation. Our Sporormiella record indicates that mega-herbivore populations increased at the early Holocene. This higher animal density increased plant species richness and encouraged landscape heterogeneity until the mid-Holocene. At this time, regional drying followed by the onset of the Iron Age

  15. FIRE

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2017-03-16

    Projects:  FIRE Definition/Description:  The F irst I SCCP R egional E xperiments (FIRE) have been designed to improve data products and cloud/radiation ... circulation models (GCMs). Specifically, the goals of FIRE are (1) to improve basic understanding of the interaction of physical ...

  16. Effects of restoring oak savannas on bird communities and populations.

    PubMed

    Brawn, Jeffrey D

    2006-04-01

    Efforts to restore and maintain oak savannas in North America, with emphasis on the use of prescribed fire, have become common. Little is known, however about how restoration affects animal populations, especially those of birds. I compared the breeding densities, community structure, and reproductive success of birds in oak savannas maintained by prescribed fire (12 sites) with those in closed-canopy forests (13 sites). All sampling was conducted in Illinois (U.S.A.). Of the 31 bird species analyzed, 12 were more common in savannas, 14 were not affected by habitat structure, and 5 were more common in forest habitat. The species favored by disturbance and restoration included Northern Bobwhites (Colinus virginianus), Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura), Red-headed Woodpeckers (Melanerpes erythrocephalus), Indigo Buntings (Passerina cyanea), and Baltimore Orioles (Icterus galbula). Those more common in closed-canopy forest included Ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocapilla) and Wood Thrushes (Hylocichla mustelina). Few species were unique to one type of habitat, but overall avian community structure in oak savannas and closed-canopy forests was generally distinctive. Estimates of nesting success (derived from 785 nests) revealed that 6 of the 13 species considered experienced greater productivity in the savanna habitat. Rates of brood parasitism were unaffected by restoration and habitat structure. Within savannas, tract size had little effect on breeding abundances and reproductive success. My results illustrate that restoration techniques can significantly affect the ecology of constituent animal populations and communities and have key implications regarding avian conservation and the management of forest habitat in fragmented landscapes. Small patches of forest habitat that regularly function as population sinks may offer far better prospects for birds if they are subjected to disturbance and ecosystem restoration.

  17. Contributions of woody and herbaceous vegetation to tropical savanna ecosystem productivity: a quasi-global estimate.

    PubMed

    Lloyd, Jon; Bird, Michael I; Vellen, Lins; Miranda, Antonio Carlos; Veenendaal, Elmar M; Djagbletey, Gloria; Miranda, Heloisa S; Cook, Garry; Farquhar, Graham D

    2008-03-01

    To estimate the relative contributions of woody and herbaceous vegetation to savanna productivity, we measured the 13C/12C isotopic ratios of leaves from trees, shrubs, grasses and the surface soil carbon pool for 22 savannas in Australia, Brazil and Ghana covering the full savanna spectrum ranging from almost pure grassland to closed woodlands on all three continents. All trees and shrubs sampled were of the C3 pathway and all grasses of the C4 pathway with the exception of Echinolaena inflexa (Poir.) Chase, a common C3 grass of the Brazilian cerrado. By comparing the carbon isotopic compositions of the plant and carbon pools, a simple model relating soil delta 13C to the relative abundances of trees + shrubs (woody plants) and grasses was developed. The model suggests that the relative proportions of a savanna ecosystem's total foliar projected cover attributable to grasses versus woody plants is a simple and reliable index of the relative contributions of grasses and woody plants to savanna net productivity. Model calibrations against woody tree canopy cover made it possible to estimate the proportion of savanna productivity in the major regions of the world attributable to trees + shrubs and grasses from ground-based observational maps of savanna woodiness. Overall, it was estimated that 59% of the net primary productivity (Np) of tropical savannas is attributable to C4 grasses, but that this proportion varies significantly within and between regions. The C4 grasses make their greatest relative contribution to savanna Np in the Neotropics, whereas in African regions, a greater proportion of savanna Np is attributable to woody plants. The relative contribution of C4 grasses in Australian savannas is intermediate between those in the Neotropics and Africa. These differences can be broadly ascribed to large scale differences in soil fertility and rainfall.

  18. Changes in Carbon Emissions in Colombian Savannas Derived From Recent Land use and Land Cover Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Etter, A.; Sarmiento, A.

    2007-12-01

    The global contribution of carbon emissions from land use dynamics and change to the global carbon (C) cycle is still uncertain, a major concern in global change modeling. Carbon emission from fires in the tropics is significant and represents 9% of the net primary production, and 50% of worldwide C emissions from fires are attributable to savanna fires. Such emissions may vary significantly due to differences in ecosystem types. Most savanna areas are devoted to grazing land uses making methane emissions also important in savanna ecosystems. Land use change driven by intensification of grazing and cropping has become a major factor affecting C emission dynamics from savanna regions. Colombia has some 17 MHa of mesic savannas which have been historically burned. Due to changes in market demands and improved accessibility during the last 20 years, important areas of savannas changed land use from predominantly extensive grazing to crops and intensive grazing systems. This research models and evaluates the impacts of such land use changes on the spatial and temporal burning patterns and C emissions in the Orinoco savannas of Colombia. We address the effects of land use change patterns using remote sensing data from MODIS and Landsat, ecosystem mapping products, and spatial GIS analysis. First we map the expansion of the agricultural frontier from the 1980s-2000s. We then model the changes in land use from the 1980s using a statistical modeling approach to analyze and quantify the impact of accessibility, ecosystem type and land tenure. We calculate the effects on C emissions from fire regimes and other sources of C based on patterns and extent of burned areas in the 2000s for different savanna ecosystem types and land uses. In the Llanos the fire regime exhibits a marked seasonal variability with most fire events occurring during the dry season between December-March. Our analysis shows that fire frequencies vary consistently between 0.6 and 2.8 fires.yr-1 per 2

  19. Teachers' Exodus in South African Schools: A Smoke with Burning Fire

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lumadi, Mutendwahothe Walter

    2008-01-01

    African teachers in general and South Africans in particular face tremendous challenges, several of which are curriculum related. These challenges manifest themselves at various levels and in various areas, that is, from national level to within the classroom. There are various role players who may make a contribution towards overcoming these…

  20. Fuel model selection for BEHAVE in midwestern oak savannas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grabner, K.W.; Dwyer, J.P.; Cutter, B.E.

    2001-01-01

    BEHAVE, a fire behavior prediction system, can be a useful tool for managing areas with prescribed fire. However, the proper choice of fuel models can be critical in developing management scenarios. BEHAVE predictions were evaluated using four standardized fuel models that partially described oak savanna fuel conditions: Fuel Model 1 (Short Grass), 2 (Timber and Grass), 3 (Tall Grass), and 9 (Hardwood Litter). Although all four models yielded regressions with R2 in excess of 0.8, Fuel Model 2 produced the most reliable fire behavior predictions.

  1. The global extent and determinants of savanna and forest as alternative biome states.

    PubMed

    Staver, A Carla; Archibald, Sally; Levin, Simon A

    2011-10-14

    Theoretically, fire-tree cover feedbacks can maintain savanna and forest as alternative stable states. However, the global extent of fire-driven discontinuities in tree cover is unknown, especially accounting for seasonality and soils. We use tree cover, climate, fire, and soils data sets to show that tree cover is globally discontinuous. Climate influences tree cover globally but, at intermediate rainfall (1000 to 2500 millimeters) with mild seasonality (less than 7 months), tree cover is bimodal, and only fire differentiates between savanna and forest. These may be alternative states over large areas, including parts of Amazonia and the Congo. Changes in biome distributions, whether at the cost of savanna (due to fragmentation) or forest (due to climate), will be neither smooth nor easily reversible.

  2. Loss of a large grazer impacts savanna grassland plant communities similarly in North America and South Africa.

    PubMed

    Eby, Stephanie; Burkepile, Deron E; Fynn, Richard W S; Burns, Catherine E; Govender, Navashni; Hagenah, Nicole; Koerner, Sally E; Matchett, Katherine J; Thompson, Dave I; Wilcox, Kevin R; Collins, Scott L; Kirkman, Kevin P; Knapp, Alan K; Smith, Melinda D

    2014-05-01

    Large herbivore grazing is a widespread disturbance in mesic savanna grasslands which increases herbaceous plant community richness and diversity. However, humans are modifying the impacts of grazing on these ecosystems by removing grazers. A more general understanding of how grazer loss will impact these ecosystems is hampered by differences in the diversity of large herbivore assemblages among savanna grasslands, which can affect the way that grazing influences plant communities. To avoid this we used two unique enclosures each containing a single, functionally similar large herbivore species. Specifically, we studied a bison (Bos bison) enclosure at Konza Prairie Biological Station, USA and an African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) enclosure in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Within these enclosures we erected exclosures in annually burned and unburned sites to determine how grazer loss would impact herbaceous plant communities, while controlling for potential fire-grazing interactions. At both sites, removal of the only grazer decreased grass and forb richness, evenness and diversity, over time. However, in Kruger these changes only occurred with burning. At both sites, changes in plant communities were driven by increased dominance with herbivore exclusion. At Konza, this was caused by increased abundance of one grass species, Andropogon gerardii, while at Kruger, three grasses, Themeda triandra, Panicum coloratum, and Digitaria eriantha increased in abundance.

  3. Recent trends in African fires driven by cropland expansion and El Niño to La Niña transition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andela, Niels; van der Werf, Guido R.

    2014-09-01

    Landscape fires are key in African ecosystems and the continent is responsible for ~70% of global burned area and ~50% of fire-related carbon emissions. Fires are mostly human ignited, but precipitation patterns govern when and where fires can occur. The relative role of humans and precipitation in driving the spatio-temporal variability in burned area is not fully disentangled but is required to predict future burned area. Over 2001-2012, observations indicate strong but opposing trends in the African hemispheres. Here we use satellite data and statistical modelling and show that changes in precipitation, driven by the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which changed from El Niño to La Niña dominance over our study period, contributed substantially (51%) to the upward trend over southern Africa. This also contributed to the downward trend over northern Africa (24%), but here rapid demographic and socio-economic changes were almost as important (20%), mainly due to conversion of savannah into cropland, muting burned area. Given the economic perspective of Africa and the oscillative nature of ENSO, future African savannah burned area will probably decline. Combined with increasing global forest fire activity due to climate change, our results indicate a potential shift in global pyrogeography from being savannah dominated to being forest dominated.

  4. Do "savanna" chimpanzees consume C4 resources?

    PubMed

    Sponheimer, M; Loudon, J E; Codron, D; Howells, M E; Pruetz, J D; Codron, J; de Ruiter, D J; Lee-Thorp, J A

    2006-08-01

    Several stable carbon isotopic studies have shown that South African australopiths consumed significant quantities of C(4) resources (tropical grasses, sedges, or animals that eat those foods), but relatively little is known about the consumption of such resources by chimpanzees. Here, we present stable carbon isotopic data for 36 chimpanzee hair samples from Fongoli, one of the driest and most open areas inhabited by chimpanzees. These data suggest that the Fongoli chimpanzees consume little in the way of C(4) vegetation or animals that eat such vegetation, even though these resources are locally abundant and preferred fruits are more widely scattered than at most chimpanzee study sites. The homogeneity of the Fongoli results is especially striking and recalls the narrow isotopic distribution of stenotopic savanna mammals. This is in stark contrast to what has been observed for australopiths, which had highly variable diets and consumed about 35% C(4) vegetation on average. Carbon isotope data for modern and fossil Papio depict a dietarily variable genus with a tendency to consume C(4) vegetation. This trophic flexibility, or willingness to consume C(4) savanna resources, may make Papio a more profitable ecological analog for australopiths than chimpanzees.

  5. Vegetation-climate feedbacks in the conversion of tropical savanna to grassland

    SciTech Connect

    Hoffmann, W.A.; Jackson, R.B.

    2000-05-01

    Tropical savannas have been heavily impacted by human activity, with large expanses transformed from a mixture of trees and grasses to open grassland and agriculture. The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) CCM3 general circulation model, coupled with the NCAR Land Surface Model, was used to simulate the effects of this conversion on regional climate. Conversion of savanna to grassland reduced precipitation by approximately 10% in four of the five savanna regions under study; only the northern African savannas showed no significant decline. Associated with this decline was an increase in the frequency of dry periods within the wet season, a change that could be particularly damaging to shallow-rooted crops. The overall decline in precipitation is almost equally attributable to changes in albedo and roughness length. Conversion to grassland increased mean surface air temperature of all the regions by 0.5 C, primarily because of reductions in surface roughness length. Rooting depth, which decreases dramatically with the conversion of savanna to grassland, contributed little to the overall effect of savanna conversion, but deeper rooting had a small positive effect on latent heat flux with a corresponding reduction in sensible heat flux. The authors propose that the interdependence of climate and vegetation in these regions is manifested as a positive feedback loop in which anthropogenic impacts on savanna vegetation are exacerbated by declines in precipitation.

  6. Emission estimates of selected volatile organic compounds from tropical savanna burning in northern Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shirai, T.; Blake, D. R.; Meinardi, S.; Rowland, F. S.; Russell-Smith, J.; Edwards, A.; Kondo, Y.; Koike, M.; Kita, K.; Machida, T.; Takegawa, N.; Nishi, N.; Kawakami, S.; Ogawa, T.

    2003-02-01

    Here we present measurements of a range of carbon-based compounds: carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), methane (CH4), nonmethane hydrocarbons (NMHCs), methyl halides, and dimethyl sulfide (DMS) emitted by Australian savanna fires studied as part of the Biomass Burning and Lightning Experiment (BIBLE) phase B aircraft campaign, which took place during the local late dry season (28 August to 13 September 1999). Significant enhancements of short-lived NMHCs were observed in the boundary layer (BL) over the region of intensive fires and indicate recent emissions for which the mean transport time was estimated to be about 9 hours. Emission ratios relative to CO were determined for 20 NMHCs, 3 methyl halides, DMS, and CH4 based on the BL enhancements in the source region. Tight correlations with CO were obtained for most of those compounds, indicating the homogeneity of the local savanna source. The emission ratios were in good agreement with some previous measurements of savanna fires for stable compounds but indicated the decay of emission ratios during transport for several reactive compounds. Based on the observed emission ratios, emission factors were derived and compared to previous studies. While emission factors (g species/kg dry mole) of CO2 varied little according to the vegetation types, those of CO and NMHCs varied significantly. Higher combustion efficiency and a lower emission factor for methane in this study, compared to forest fires, agreed well with results for savanna fires in other tropical regions. The amount of biomass burned was estimated by modeling methods using available satellite data, and showed that 1999 was an above average year for savanna burning. The gross emissions of the trace gases from Australian savanna fires were estimated.

  7. Being There in Spirit, Fire, and Mind: Expressive Roles among Nonresidential African American Fathers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hammond, Wizdom Powell; Caldwell, Cleopatra Howard; Brooks, Cassandra; Bell, Lee

    2011-01-01

    Objective: This exploratory qualitative study examined factors contributing to expressive father role negotiation, salience, and commitment in a sample of nonresidential African American fathers (n = 18). Method: Two focus groups were conducted between 2000 and 2001 in a Midwestern city to understand factors that strengthen and diminish bonds…

  8. The contribution of trees and grasses to productivity of an Australian tropical savanna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moore, Caitlin E.; Beringer, Jason; Evans, Bradley; Hutley, Lindsay B.; McHugh, Ian; Tapper, Nigel J.

    2016-04-01

    Savanna ecosystems cover 20 % of the global land surface and account for 25 % of global terrestrial carbon uptake. They support one fifth of the world's human population and are one of the most important ecosystems on our planet. Savanna productivity is a product of the interplay between trees and grass that co-dominate savanna landscapes and are maintained through interactions with climate and disturbance (fire, land use change, herbivory). In this study, we evaluate the temporally dynamic partitioning of overstory and understory carbon dioxide fluxes in Australian tropical savanna using overstory and understory eddy covariance measurements. Over a 2-year period (September 2012 to October 2014) the overall net ecosystem productivity (NEP) of the savanna was 506.2 (±22 SE) g C m-2 yr-1. The total gross primary productivity (GPP) was 2267.1 (±80 SE) g C m-2 yr-1, of which the understory contributed 32 %. The understory contribution was strongly seasonal, with most GPP occurring in the wet season (40 % of total ecosystem in the wet season and 18 % in the dry). This study is the first to elucidate the temporal dynamics of savanna understory and overstory carbon flux components explicitly using observational information. Understanding grass productivity is crucial for evaluating fuel loads, as is tree productivity for quantifying the tree carbon sink. This information will contribute to a significant refinement of the representation of savannas in models, as well as improved understanding of relative tree-grass productivity and competition for resources.

  9. The contribution of trees and grasses to productivity of an Australian tropical savanna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moore, C. E.; Beringer, J.; Evans, B.; Hutley, L. B.; McHugh, I.; Tapper, N. J.

    2015-12-01

    Savanna ecosystems cover 20 % of the global land surface and account for 25 % of global terrestrial carbon uptake. They support one fifth of the world's human population and are one of the most important ecosystems on our planet. Savanna productivity is a product of the interplay between trees and grass that co-dominate savanna landscapes and are maintained through interactions with climate and disturbance (fire, land use change, herbivory). In this study, we evaluate the temporally dynamic partitioning of overstory and understory carbon dioxide fluxes in Australian tropical savanna using overstory and understory eddy covariance measurements. Over a two year period (September 2012 to October 2014) the overall net ecosystem productivity (NEP) of the savanna was 506.2 (±22 SE) g C m-2 yr-1. The total gross primary productivity (GPP) was 2267.1 (±80 SE) g C m-2 yr-1, of which the understory contributed 32 %. The understory contribution was strongly seasonal, with most GPP occurring in the wet season (40 % of total ecosystem in the wet season and 18 % in the dry). This study is the first to elucidate the temporal dynamics of savanna understory and overstory carbon flux components explicitly using observational information. Understanding grass productivity is crucial for evaluating fuel loads, as is tree productivity for quantifying the tree carbon sink. This information will contribute to a significant refinement of the representation of savannas in models, as well as improved understanding of relative tree-grass productivity and competition for resources.

  10. Structural, physiognomic and above-ground biomass variation in savanna-forest transition zones on three continents - how different are co-occurring savanna and forest formations?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Veenendaal, E. M.; Torello-Raventos, M.; Feldpausch, T. R.; Domingues, T. F.; Gerard, F.; Schrodt, F.; Saiz, G.; Quesada, C. A.; Djagbletey, G.; Ford, A.; Kemp, J.; Marimon, B. S.; Marimon-Junior, B. H.; Lenza, E.; Ratter, J. A.; Maracahipes, L.; Sasaki, D.; Sonke, B.; Zapfack, L.; Villarroel, D.; Schwarz, M.; Yoko Ishida, F.; Gilpin, M.; Nardoto, G. B.; Affum-Baffoe, K.; Arroyo, L.; Bloomfield, K.; Ceca, G.; Compaore, H.; Davies, K.; Diallo, A.; Fyllas, N. M.; Gignoux, J.; Hien, F.; Johnson, M.; Mougin, E.; Hiernaux, P.; Killeen, T.; Metcalfe, D.; Miranda, H. S.; Steininger, M.; Sykora, K.; Bird, M. I.; Grace, J.; Lewis, S.; Phillips, O. L.; Lloyd, J.

    2015-05-01

    was found to be confined to a well-defined edaphic-climate envelope with soil and climate the key determinants of the relative location of forest and savanna stands. Moreover, when considered in conjunction with the appropriate water availability metrics, it emerges that soil exchangeable cations exert considerable control on woody canopy-cover extent as measured in our pan-continental (forest + savanna) data set. Taken together these observations do not lend support to the notion of alternate stable states mediated through fire feedbacks as the prime force shaping the distribution of the two dominant vegetation types of the tropical lands.

  11. Restoring a disappearing ecosystem: the Longleaf Pine Savanna.

    SciTech Connect

    Harrington, Timothy B.; Miller, Karl V.; Park, Noreen

    2013-05-01

    Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) savannas of the southeastern United States contain some of the worlds most diverse plant communities, along with a unique complement of wildlife. Their traditionally open canopy structure and rich understory of grasses and herbs were critical to their vigor. However, a long history of land-use practices such as logging, farming, and fire exclusion have reduced this once-widespread ecosystem to only 3 percent of its original range. At six longleaf pine plantations in South Carolina, Tim Harrington with the Pacific Northwest Research Station and collaborators with the Southern Research Station used various treatments (including prescribed burns, tree thinning, and herbicide applications) to alter the forest structure and tracked how successful each one was in advancing savanna restoration over a 14-year period. They found that typical planting densities for wood production in plantations create dense understory shade that excludes many native herbaceous species important to savannas and associated wildlife. The scientists found that although tree thinning alone did not result in sustained gains, a combination of controlled burning, thinning, and herbicide treatments to reduce woody plants was an effective strategy for recovering the savanna ecosystem. The scientists also found that these efforts must be repeated periodically for enduring benefits.

  12. Inferences of Present and Past Changes at Isolated Enclaves and Matrix of Savannas by Carbon Isotopes in a Transitional Forest-Savanna Area in Northern Amazonia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Couto-Santos, F. R.; Luizao, F. J.; Camargo, P. B.

    2013-12-01

    The evolutionary history of savannas influenced by short term climate cycles, during the Quaternary Period, could prompt variations in forest cover often related to movements of the forest-savanna boundary. In this study we investigated current and past changes in the structure of vegetation and the origins of savannas of different natures in a biogeographically and climatic transitional forest-savanna area in northern Amazonia. Variations in the isotopic composition of soil organic matter (δ13C) from surface soils (0-10 cm) along forest-savanna boundaries, detected by a sigmoidal non-linear function, were used to identify current changes in vegetation, while past changes were inferred by discontinuities in the evolution of δ13C with soil depth using piecewise regression associated with radiocarbon dating (14C). By comparing small isolated savanna enclaves inside a strictly protected nature reserve (ESEC Maracá) with its outskirts unprotected continuous savanna matrix, we found that origins and the patterns of dynamics were distinct between these areas and did not respond in the same way to climate change and fire events, either in the last decades or during the Holocene. The stability of the present boundaries of the surrounding savanna matrix reflects the resilience of the transitional forests under a recent intensified fire regime and favorable climate, while the deep forest soil isotopic signal indicated a forest shrinkage of at least 70 m occurring since its origin in early Holocene until 780 years BP associated with a climate drier than the current one. Contrarily, the protected enclaves inside ESEC Maracá, remained stable since the middle Holocene, suggesting a non-anthropogenic origin related to soil edaphic conditions, but with recent dynamics of advancing forest by 8 m century-1 favored by current climate and lacking fire events. A detailed understanding of the origins of savannas of distinct natures and the way they are affected by climate and fire

  13. Distinctiveness, use, and value of midwestern oak savannas and woodlands as avian habitats

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grundel, R.; Pavlovic, N.B.

    2007-01-01

    Oak savannas and woodlands historically covered millions of hectares in the midwestern United States but are rare today. We evaluated the ecological distinctiveness and conservation value of savannas and woodlands by examining bird distributions across a fire-maintained woody-vegetation gradient in northwest Indiana encompassing five habitats—open habitats with low canopy cover, savannas, woodlands, scrublands, and forests—during migration, breeding, and overwintering. Savannas and woodlands were significantly different in overall bird species composition from open and forest habitats but were often intermediate between open and forest in guild densities. Few bird species were consistently and highly concentrated in savannas or woodlands, and the Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) was the only species significantly more abundant in savannas and woodlands than in open, scrub, and forest habitats. Fire frequency over a 15-year interval was a significant predictor of bird community composition and was positively related to species diversity, spring transient migrant density, and density of the most threatened species. Each habitat type had characteristics potentially important for avian conservation. Scrub had the highest density of transient migrants, which suggests it plays an important role as migration stopover habitat. More species were significantly concentrated in open or forest habitats than in the other habitats. Lack of species concentration and intermediate community composition suggested that birds experienced savannas and woodlands more as ecotones than as habitats distinct from forests or grasslands. However, this intermediate character can benefit conservation, as evidenced by savannas and woodlands having the highest density of the most threatened species along this woody-vegetation gradient.

  14. Elephants, fire, and frost can determine community structure and composition in Kalahari Woodlands.

    PubMed

    Holdo, Ricardo M

    2007-03-01

    Fire, elephants, and frost are important disturbance factors in many African savannas, but the relative magnitude of their effects on vegetation and their interactions have not been quantified. Understanding how disturbance shapes savanna structure and composition is critical for predicting changes in tree cover and for formulating management and conservation policy. A simulation model was used to investigate how the disturbance regime determines vegetation structure and composition in a mixed Kalahari sand woodland savanna in western Zimbabwe. The model consisted of submodels for tree growth, tree damage caused by disturbance, mortality, and recruitment that were parameterized from field data collected over a two-year period. The model predicts that, under the current disturbance regime, tree basal area in the study area will decline by two-thirds over the next two decades and become dominated by species unpalatable to elephants. Changes in the disturbance regime are predicted to greatly modify vegetation structure and community composition. Elephants are the primary drivers of woodland change in this community at present-day population densities, and their impacts are exacerbated by the effects of fire and frost. Frost, in particular, does not play an important role when acting independently but appears to be a key secondary factor in the presence of elephants and/or fire. Unlike fire and frost, which cannot suppress the woodland phase on their own in this ecosystem, elephants can independently drive the vegetation to the scrub phase. The results suggest that elephant and fire management may be critical for the persistence of certain woodland communities within dry-season elephant habitats in the eastern Kalahari, particularly those dominated by Brachystegia spiciformis and other palatable species.

  15. Are the eucalypt and non-eucalypt components of Australian tropical savannas independent?

    PubMed

    Lawes, M J; Murphy, B P; Midgley, J J; Russell-Smith, J

    2011-05-01

    Eucalypts (Eucalyptus and Corymbia spp.) dominate (>60%) the tree biomass of Australia's tropical savannas but account for only a fraction (28%) of the tree diversity. Because of their considerable biomass and adaptation to environmental stressors, such as fire, the eucalypts may drive tree dynamics in these savannas, possibly to the exclusion of non-eucalypts. We evaluated whether the eucalypt and non-eucalypt components in tropical savannas are dependent so that changes in one component are matched by opposite trends in the other. Using tree inventory data from 127 savanna sites across the rainfall and fire frequency gradients, we found that eucalypt and non-eucalypt basal area and species richness had a negative relationship. This relationship was maintained across the rainfall gradient, with rainfall having a positive effect on the basal area and species richness of both components, but with a greater effect in non-eucalypts. Fire frequency negatively affected basal area, but not species richness, although basal area and species richness of eucalypts and non-eucalypts did not differ in their response to fire. Rainfall appears to set the upper bounds to woody biomass in these mesic savannas, while fire maintains woody biomass below carrying capacity and facilitates coexistence of the components. The magnitude of the component responses, particularly for non-eucalypts, is determined by rainfall, but their dependence is likely due to their differential response to both rainfall and fire, but not to competition for resources. Thus, while eucalypts dominate biomass overall, at high rainfall sites non-eucalypt basal area and diversity are highest, especially where fire frequency is low.

  16. Are cattle surrogate wildlife? Savanna plant community composition explained by total herbivory, not herbivore identity

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The replacement of wild ungulate herbivores by domestic livestock in African savannas is composed of two interrelated phenomena: 1) loss or reduction in numbers of individual wildlife species or guilds, and 2) addition of livestock to the system. Yet very few studies have addressed the individual, c...

  17. Opposing resonses to ecological gradients structure amphibian and reptile communities across a temperate grassland-savanna-forest landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grundel, Ralph; Beamer, David; Glowacki, Gary A.; Frohnapple, Krystal; Pavlovic, Noel B.

    2014-01-01

    Temperate savannas are threatened across the globe. If we prioritize savanna restoration, we should ask how savanna animal communities differ from communities in related open habitats and forests. We documented distribution of amphibian and reptile species across an open-savanna–forest gradient in the Midwest U.S. to determine how fire history and habitat structure affected herpetofaunal community composition. The transition from open habitats to forests was a transition from higher reptile abundance to higher amphibian abundance and the intermediate savanna landscape supported the most species overall. These differences warn against assuming that amphibian and reptile communities will have similar ecological responses to habitat structure. Richness and abundance also often responded in opposite directions to some habitat characteristics, such as cover of bare ground or litter. Herpetofaunal community species composition changed along a fire gradient from infrequent and recent fires to frequent but less recent fires. Nearby (200-m) wetland cover was relatively unimportant in predicting overall herpetofaunal community composition while fire history and fire-related canopy and ground cover were more important predictors of composition, diversity, and abundance. Increased developed cover was negatively related to richness and abundance. This indicates the importance of fire history and fire related landscape characteristics, and the negative effects of development, in shaping the upland herpetofaunal community along the native grassland–forest continuum.

  18. Fire effects on tropical woody vegetation structure have been exaggerated?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Veenendaal, Elmar; Torello-Raventos, Mireia; Miranda, Heloisa; Sato, Naomi; Oliveras-Menor, Imma; Van Langevelde, Frank; Lloyd, Jon

    2015-04-01

    Since the beginning of the 20th century scientists, particularly those working in Africa, have proposed a major impact of fire frequency and intensity on woody vegetation leading to concepts such as "fire derived" savannas and "fire-mediated" feedbacks. Particularly in contact zones between forests and savannas the role of fire has been proposed as the driving agent of replacement of fire-sensitive forest-associated species with fire sensitive "fire resistant" savanna species and transition from closed forest vegetation to open savanna vegetation. In this presentation we will provide a global synthesis of the fire experiment literature with an aim to determine if general patterns can be established in terms of magnitude of fire effects on tropical vegetation structure in terms of (a) season and frequency of burning; (b) vegetation structure in the absence of fire and (c) climate. With this body of empirical data and a simple simulation model we examine if, the impact of fire on tropical woody cover as currently presented in the literature and the role of fire-mediated feedbacks in forest-savanna transitions can be justified by empirical data emanating from long term fire experiments

  19. Tropical Forests, Savannas and Grasslands: Bridging the Knowledge Gap Between Ecology and Dynamic Global Vegetation Models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baudena, M.; Dekker, S. C.; van Bodegom, P. M.; Cuesta, B.; Higgins, S. I.; Lehsten, V.; Reick, C. H.; Rietkerk, M.; Scheiter, S.; Yin, Z.; Zavala, M. A.; Brovkin, V.

    2014-12-01

    Due to global climate change, tropical forest, savanna, and grassland biomes, and the transitions between them, are expected to undergo major changes in the future. Dynamic Global Vegetation Models (DGVMs) are largely used to understand vegetation dynamics under present climate, and to predict its changes under future conditions. However, several DGVMs display high uncertainty in predicting vegetation in tropical areas. Here we present the results of a comparative analysis of three different DGVMs (JSBACH, LPJ-GUESS-SPITFIRE and aDGVM) with regard to their different representations of the ecological mechanisms and feedbacks that determine the forest, savanna and grassland biomes, in an attempt to bridge the knowledge gap between ecology and global modelling. We compared model outcomes to observed tree cover along a mean annual precipitation gradient in Africa. Through these comparisons, and by drawing on the large number of recent studies that have delivered new insights into the ecology of tropical ecosystems in general, and of savannas in particular, we identify two main mechanisms that need an improved representation in the DGVMs. The first mechanism encompasses water limitation to tree growth, and tree-grass competition for water, which are key factors in determining savanna occurrence in arid and semi-arid areas. The second is a grass-fire feedback, which maintains both forest and savannas in mesic areas. Grasses constitute the majority of the fuel load, and at the same time benefit from the openness of the landscape after fires, since they recover faster than trees. Additionally, these two mechanisms are better represented when the models also include tree life stages (adults and seedlings), and distinguish between fire-prone and shade-tolerant savanna trees, and fire-resistant and shade-intolerant forest trees. Including these basic elements could improve the predictive ability of the DGVMs, not only under current climate conditions but also and especially

  20. Forests, savannas, and grasslands: bridging the knowledge gap between ecology and Dynamic Global Vegetation Models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baudena, M.; Dekker, S. C.; van Bodegom, P. M.; Cuesta, B.; Higgins, S. I.; Lehsten, V.; Reick, C. H.; Rietkerk, M.; Scheiter, S.; Yin, Z.; Zavala, M. A.; Brovkin, V.

    2015-03-01

    The forest, savanna, and grassland biomes, and the transitions between them, are expected to undergo major changes in the future due to global climate change. Dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs) are very useful for understanding vegetation dynamics under the present climate, and for predicting its changes under future conditions. However, several DGVMs display high uncertainty in predicting vegetation in tropical areas. Here we perform a comparative analysis of three different DGVMs (JSBACH, LPJ-GUESS-SPITFIRE and aDGVM) with regard to their representation of the ecological mechanisms and feedbacks that determine the forest, savanna, and grassland biomes, in an attempt to bridge the knowledge gap between ecology and global modeling. The outcomes of the models, which include different mechanisms, are compared to observed tree cover along a mean annual precipitation gradient in Africa. By drawing on the large number of recent studies that have delivered new insights into the ecology of tropical ecosystems in general, and of savannas in particular, we identify two main mechanisms that need improved representation in the examined DGVMs. The first mechanism includes water limitation to tree growth, and tree-grass competition for water, which are key factors in determining savanna presence in arid and semi-arid areas. The second is a grass-fire feedback, which maintains both forest and savanna presence in mesic areas. Grasses constitute the majority of the fuel load, and at the same time benefit from the openness of the landscape after fires, since they recover faster than trees. Additionally, these two mechanisms are better represented when the models also include tree life stages (adults and seedlings), and distinguish between fire-prone and shade-tolerant forest trees, and fire-resistant and shade-intolerant savanna trees. Including these basic elements could improve the predictive ability of the DGVMs, not only under current climate conditions but also and

  1. Grazers, browsers, and fire influence the extent and spatial pattern of tree cover in the Serengeti.

    PubMed

    Holdo, Ricardo M; Holt, Robert D; Fryxell, John M

    2009-01-01

    Vertebrate herbivores and fire are known to be important drivers of vegetation dynamics in African savannas. It is of particular importance to understand how changes in herbivore population density, especially of elephants, and fire frequency will affect the amount of tree cover in savanna ecosystems, given the critical importance of tree cover for biodiversity, ecosystem function, and human welfare. We developed a spatially realistic simulation model of vegetation, fire, and dominant herbivore dynamics, tailored to the Serengeti ecosystem of east Africa. The model includes key processes such as tree-grass competition, fire, and resource-based density dependence and adaptive movement by herbivores. We used the model to project the ecosystem 100 years into the future from its present state under different fire, browsing (determined by elephant population density), and grazing (with and without wildebeest present) regimes. The model produced the following key results: (1) elephants and fire exert synergistic negative effects on woody cover; when grazers are excluded, the impact of fire and the strength of the elephant-fire interaction increase; (2) at present population densities of 0.15 elephants/km2, the total amount of woody cover is predicted to remain stable in the absence of fire, but the mature tree population is predicted to decline regardless of the fire regime; without grazers present to mitigate the effects of fire, the size structure of the tree population will become dominated by seedlings and mature trees; (3) spatial heterogeneity in tree cover varies unimodally with elephant population density; fire increases heterogeneity in the presence of grazers and decreases it in their absence; (4) the marked rainfall gradient in the Serengeti directly affects the pattern of tree cover in the absence of fire; with fire, the woody cover is determined by the grazing patterns of the migratory wildebeest, which are partly rainfall driven. Our results show that, in

  2. Deciphering the distribution of the savanna biome.

    PubMed

    Lehmann, Caroline E R; Archibald, Sally A; Hoffmann, William A; Bond, William J

    2011-07-01

    • 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 C(4) grass layer) or 'not-savanna' (closed habitats with no C(4) grass layer) and used a combination of statistical approaches to examine how the presence of savanna varied as a function of five environmental correlates. • The presence of savanna 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 had a positive or negative effect on woody growth and the frequency of disturbance.

  3. Fire emission reconstruction in Africa during the last 500 years: A pilot study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kehrwald, Natalie; Zangrando, Roberta; Gambaro, Andrea; Cescon, Paolo; Thompson, Lonnie; Gabrielli, Paolo; Barbante, Carlo

    2010-05-01

    were conducted on the Kilimanjaro Northern Ice Field (NIF3) ice core at the Institute for the Dynamics of Environmental Processes-CNR (IDPA-CNR) resulting in concentrations up to 96 pg/mL, demonstrating the repeatability of the results and the applicability of the method to tropical ice. These results allow for the creation of a comprehensive decadal to centennial history of African savanna fires over the past 4000 years using levoglucosan as an atmospheric molecular tracer for biomass burning. We integrate a record of organic compounds with traditional ice core analyses of ionic species and dust to expand the current understanding of the climate system with implications for the global carbon cycle.

  4. Hydraulic lift as a determinant of tree-grass coexistence on savannas.

    PubMed

    Yu, Kailiang; D'Odorico, Paolo

    2015-09-01

    The coexistence of woody plants and grasses in savannas is determined by a complex set of interacting factors that determine access to resources and demographic dynamics, under the control of external drivers and vegetation feedbacks with the physical environment. Existing theories explain coexistence mainly as an effect of competitive relations and/or disturbances. However, theoretical studies on the way facilitative interactions resulting from hydraulic lift affect tree-grass coexistence and the range of environmental conditions in which savannas are stable are still lacking. We investigated the role of hydraulic lift in the stability of tree-grass coexistence in savannas. To that end, we developed a new mechanistic model that accounts for both competition for soil water in the shallow soil and fire-induced disturbance. We found that hydraulic lift favors grasses, which scavenge the water lifted by woody plants. Thus, hydraulic lift expands (at the expenses of woodlands) the range of environmental conditions in which savannas are stable. These results indicate that hydraulic lift can be an important mechanism responsible for the coexistence of woody plants and grasses in savannas. Grass facilitation by trees through the process of hydraulic lift could allow savannas to persist stably in mesic regions that would otherwise exhibit a forest cover.

  5. SEASONAL SOIL FLUXES OF CARBON MONOXIDE IN BURNED AND UNBURNED BRAZILIAN SAVANNAS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Soil-atmosphere fluxes of carbon monoxide (CO) were measured from September 1999 through November 2000 in savanna areas in central Brazil (Cerrado) under different fire regimes using transparent and opaque static chambers. Studies focused on two vegetation types, cerrado stricto...

  6. Savanna-Bush Environments Research.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    The savanna is a plant formation of tropical regions, comprising a virtually continuous ecologically dominant stratum of more or less xeromorphic plants ... of which herbaceous plants, especially grasses and sedges, are frequently the principal, and occasionally the only, components, although woody

  7. A model inter-comparison study to examine limiting factors in modelling Australian tropical savannas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whitley, Rhys; Beringer, Jason; Hutley, Lindsay B.; Abramowitz, Gab; De Kauwe, Martin G.; Duursma, Remko; Evans, Bradley; Haverd, Vanessa; Li, Longhui; Ryu, Youngryel; Smith, Benjamin; Wang, Ying-Ping; Williams, Mathew; Yu, Qiang

    2016-06-01

    The savanna ecosystem is one of the most dominant and complex terrestrial biomes, deriving from a distinct vegetative surface comprised of co-dominant tree and grass populations. While these two vegetation types co-exist functionally, demographically they are not static but are dynamically changing in response to environmental forces such as annual fire events and rainfall variability. Modelling savanna environments with the current generation of terrestrial biosphere models (TBMs) has presented many problems, particularly describing fire frequency and intensity, phenology, leaf biochemistry of C3 and C4 photosynthesis vegetation, and root-water uptake. In order to better understand why TBMs perform so poorly in savannas, we conducted a model inter-comparison of six TBMs and assessed their performance at simulating latent energy (LE) and gross primary productivity (GPP) for five savanna sites along a rainfall gradient in northern Australia. Performance in predicting LE and GPP was measured using an empirical benchmarking system, which ranks models by their ability to utilise meteorological driving information to predict the fluxes. On average, the TBMs performed as well as a multi-linear regression of the fluxes against solar radiation, temperature and vapour pressure deficit but were outperformed by a more complicated nonlinear response model that also included the leaf area index (LAI). This identified that the TBMs are not fully utilising their input information effectively in determining savanna LE and GPP and highlights that savanna dynamics cannot be calibrated into models and that there are problems in underlying model processes. We identified key weaknesses in a model's ability to simulate savanna fluxes and their seasonal variation, related to the representation of vegetation by the models and root-water uptake. We underline these weaknesses in terms of three critical areas for development. First, prescribed tree-rooting depths must be deep enough

  8. A model inter-comparison study to examine limiting factors in modelling Australian tropical savannas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whitley, R.; Beringer, J.; Hutley, L.; Abramowitz, G.; De Kauwe, M. G.; Duursma, R.; Evans, B.; Haverd, V.; Li, L.; Ryu, Y.; Smith, B.; Wang, Y.-P.; Williams, M.; Yu, Q.

    2015-12-01

    Savanna ecosystems are one of the most dominant and complex terrestrial biomes that derives from a distinct vegetative surface comprised of co-dominant tree and grass populations. While these two vegetation types co-exist functionally, demographically they are not static, but are dynamically changing in response to environmental forces such as annual fire events and rainfall variability. Modelling savanna environments with the current generation of terrestrial biosphere models (TBMs) has presented many problems, particularly describing fire frequency and intensity, phenology, leaf biochemistry of C3 and C4 photosynthesis vegetation, and root water uptake. In order to better understand why TBMs perform so poorly in savannas, we conducted a model inter-comparison of 6 TBMs and assessed their performance at simulating latent energy (LE) and gross primary productivity (GPP) for five savanna sites along a rainfall gradient in northern Australia. Performance in predicting LE and GPP was measured using an empirical benchmarking system, which ranks models by their ability to utilise meteorological driving information to predict the fluxes. On average, the TBMs performed as well as a multi-linear regression of the fluxes against solar radiation, temperature and vapour pressure deficit, but were outperformed by a more complicated nonlinear response model that also included the leaf area index (LAI). This identified that the TBMs are not fully utilising their input information effectively in determining savanna LE and GPP, and highlights that savanna dynamics cannot be calibrated into models and that there are problems in underlying model processes. We identified key weaknesses in a model's ability to simulate savanna fluxes and their seasonal variation, related to the representation of vegetation by the models and root water uptake. We underline these weaknesses in terms of three critical areas for development. First, prescribed tree-rooting depths must be deep enough

  9. Regional insight into savanna hydrogeomorphology from termite mounds.

    PubMed

    Levick, Shaun R; Asner, Gregory P; Chadwick, Oliver A; Khomo, Lesego M; Rogers, Kevin H; Hartshorn, Anthony S; Kennedy-Bowdoin, Ty; Knapp, David E

    2010-09-07

    Global vegetation models predict the spread of woody vegetation in African savannas and grasslands under future climate scenarios, but they operate too broadly to consider hillslope-scale variations in tree-grass distribution. Topographically linked hydrology-soil-vegetation sequences, or catenas, underpin a variety of ecological processes in savannas, including responses to climate change. In this study, we explore the three-dimensional structure of hillslopes and vegetation, using high-resolution airborne LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging), to understand the long-term effects of mean annual precipitation (MAP) on catena pattern. Our results reveal that the presence and position of hillslope hydrological boundaries, or seeplines, vary as a function of MAP through its long-term influence on clay redistribution. We suggest that changes in climate will differentially alter the structure of savannas through hydrological changes to the seasonally saturated grasslands downslope of seeplines. The mechanisms underlying future woody encroachment are not simply physiological responses to elevated temperatures and CO(2) levels but also involve hydrogeomorphological processes at the hillslope scale.

  10. Carbon accumulation and nitrogen pool recovery during transitions from savanna to forest in central Brazil.

    PubMed

    Pellegrini, Adam F A; Hoffmann, William A; Franco, Augusto C

    2014-02-01

    The expansion of tropical forest into savanna may potentially be a large carbon sink, but little is known about the patterns of carbon sequestration during transitional forest formation. Moreover, it is unclear how nutrient limitation, due to extended exposure to fire-driven nutrient losses, may constrain carbon accumulation. Here, we sampled plots that spanned a woody biomass gradient from savanna to transitional forest in response to differential fire protection in central Brazil. These plots were used to investigate how the process of transitional forest formation affects the size and distribution of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) pools. This was paired with a detailed analysis of the nitrogen cycle to explore possible connections between carbon accumulation and nitrogen limitation. An analysis of carbon pools in the vegetation, upper soil, and litter shows that the transition from savanna to transitional forest can result in a fourfold increase in total carbon (from 43 to 179 Mg C/ha) with a doubling of carbon stocks in the litter and soil layers. Total nitrogen in the litter and soil layers increased with forest development in both the bulk (+68%) and plant-available (+150%) pools, with the most pronounced changes occurring in the upper layers. However, the analyses of nitrate concentrations, nitrate:ammonium ratios, plant stoichiometry of carbon and nitrogen, and soil and foliar nitrogen isotope ratios suggest that a conservative nitrogen cycle persists throughout forest development, indicating that nitrogen remains in low supply relative to demand. Furthermore, the lack of variation in underlying soil type (>20 cm depth) suggests that the biogeochemical trends across the gradient are driven by vegetation. Our results provide evidence for high carbon sequestration potential with forest encroachment on savanna, but nitrogen limitation may play a large and persistent role in governing carbon sequestration in savannas or other equally fire-disturbed tropical

  11. Genomic DNA sequences from mastodon and woolly mammoth reveal deep speciation of forest and savanna elephants.

    PubMed

    Rohland, Nadin; Reich, David; Mallick, Swapan; Meyer, Matthias; Green, Richard E; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; Roca, Alfred L; Hofreiter, Michael

    2010-12-21

    To elucidate the history of living and extinct elephantids, we generated 39,763 bp of aligned nuclear DNA sequence across 375 loci for African savanna elephant, African forest elephant, Asian elephant, the extinct American mastodon, and the woolly mammoth. Our data establish that the Asian elephant is the closest living relative of the extinct mammoth in the nuclear genome, extending previous findings from mitochondrial DNA analyses. We also find that savanna and forest elephants, which some have argued are the same species, are as or more divergent in the nuclear genome as mammoths and Asian elephants, which are considered to be distinct genera, thus resolving a long-standing debate about the appropriate taxonomic classification of the African elephants. Finally, we document a much larger effective population size in forest elephants compared with the other elephantid taxa, likely reflecting species differences in ancient geographic structure and range and differences in life history traits such as variance in male reproductive success.

  12. Assessment of the Vulnerability of Water Resources to Seasonal Fires Across the Northern Sub-Saharan African Region

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ichoku, Charles M.

    2010-01-01

    The northern sub-Saharan African (NSSA) region, extending from the southern fringes of the Sahara to the Equator, and stretching west to east from the Atlantic to the Indian ocean coasts, plays a prominent role in the distribution of Saharan dust and other airborne matter around the region and to other parts of the world, the genesis of global atmospheric circulation, and the birth of such major (and often catastrophic) events as hurricanes. Therefore, this NSSA region represents a critical variable in the global climate change equation. Recent satellite-based studies have revealed that the NSSA region has one of the highest biomass-burning rates per unit land area among all regions of the world. Because of the high concentration and frequency of fires in this region, with the associated abundance of heat release and gaseous and particulate smoke emissions, biomass-burning activity is believed to be a major driver of the regional carbon, energy, and water cycles. We acknowledge that the rainy season in the NSSA region is from April to September while biomass burning occurs mainly during the dry season (October to March). Nevertheless, these two phenomena are indirectly coupled to each other through a chain of complex processes and conditions, including land-cover and surface-albedo changes, the carbon cycle, evapotranspiration, drought, desertification, surface water runoff, ground water recharge, and variability in atmospheric composition, heating rates, and circulation. In this presentation, we will examine the theoretical linkages between these processes, discuss the preliminary results based on satellite data analysis, and provide an overview of plans for more integrated research to be conducted over the next few years.

  13. Using remote sensing to create indicators of ecosystem variability for a semi-arid savanna watershed in the Kavango-Zambezi region of Southern Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pricope, Narcisa Gabriela

    This dissertation addresses changes in land and resource availability occurring as a result of climate, water variability and changes in fire regimes in a semi-arid savanna region in Southern Africa. The research combines geospatial analyses of climatological and hydrologic data and various remotely-sensed datasets to create measures of ecosystem variability and adaptability to natural and anthropogenic changes in sensitive ecosystems. The study area is the Chobe River Basin (CRB), a watershed shared between Botswana and Namibia situated at the heart of one of the world.s largest transfrontier conservation areas, where different land-use management strategies and economic policies affect both the ecosystem and the livelihoods support system differentially. The southern African savanna is a highly variable environment and people have adapted to its harshness through the generations. However, in light of past and ongoing environmental changes, their ability to adapt may become threatened. By mapping and then analyzing the spatial and temporal variability of two important factors, namely flooding and fires, in conjunction with indices of vegetation health and productivity, the findings of this research can ultimately contribute to enhancing our understanding of local adaptation mechanisms to future environmental change. This is the first reconstruction of the spatial and temporal patterns of inundation for the last 25 years in the CRB, a transboundary basin with an unusual hydrologic regime and an important water resource for both human and wildlife populations. In the context of increasing temperatures, decreasing precipitation trends and increasing frequencies and intensities of El Nino episodes in southern Africa (Boko et al., 2007), I also investigated changes in fire incidences and marked shifts in fire seasonality both within and outside of protected areas of central Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA). These changes are likely to have a

  14. Fires in Central Africa

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    Hundreds of fires are set every year during the dry season in Central Africa. This true color image from the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) shows dozens of smoke plumes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on June 29, 2000. Residents burn away scrub and brush annually in the woody savanna to clear land for farming and grazing. For more information, visit the SeaWiFS Home Page, Global Fire Monitoring Fact Sheet, and 4km2 Fire Data Image Provided by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE

  15. Detection, mapping and estimation of rate of spread of grass fires from southern African ERTS-1 imagery

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wightman, J. M.

    1973-01-01

    Sequential band-6 imagery of the Zambesi Basin of southern Africa recorded substantial changes in burn patterns resulting from late dry season grass fires. One example from northern Botswana, indicates that a fire consumed approximately 70 square miles of grassland over a 24-hour period. Another example from western Zambia indicates increased fire activity over a 19-day period. Other examples clearly define the area of widespread grass fires in Angola, Botswana, Rhodesia and Zambia. From the fire patterns visible on the sequential portions of the imagery, and the time intervals involved, the rates of spread of the fires are estimated and compared with estimates derived from experimental burning plots in Zambia and Canada. It is concluded that sequential ERTS-1 imagery, of the quality studied, clearly provides the information needed to detect and map grass fires and to monitor their rates of spread in this region during the late dry season.

  16. Carbon Accumulation and Nitrogen Pool Recovery during Transitions from Savanna to Forest in Central Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pellegrini, A.; Hoffmann, W. A.; Franco, A. C.

    2014-12-01

    The expansion of tropical forest into savanna may potentially be a large carbon sink, but little is known about the patterns of carbon sequestration during transitional forest formation. Moreover, it is unclear how nutrient limitation, due to extended exposure to firedriven nutrient losses, may constrain carbon accumulation. Here, we sampled plots that spanned a woody biomass gradient from savanna to transitional forest in response to differential fire protection in central Brazil. These plots were used to investigate how the process of transitional forest formation affects the size and distribution of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) pools. This was paired with a detailed analysis of the nitrogen cycle to explore possible connections between carbon accumulation and nitrogen limitation. An analysis of carbon pools in the vegetation, upper soil, and litter shows that the transition from savanna to transitional forest can result in a fourfold increase in total carbon (from 43 to 179 Mg C/ha) with a doubling of carbon stocks in the litter and soil layers. Total nitrogen in the litter and soil layers increased with forest development in both the bulk (+68%) and plant-available (+150%) pools, with the most pronounced changes occurring in the upper layers. However, the analyses of nitrate concentrations, nitrate : ammonium ratios, plant stoichiometry of carbon and nitrogen, and soil and foliar nitrogen isotope ratios suggest that a conservative nitrogen cycle persists throughout forest development, indicating that nitrogen remains in low supply relative to demand. Furthermore, the lack of variation in underlying soil type (>20 cm depth) suggests that the biogeochemical trends across the gradient are driven by vegetation. Our results provide evidence for high carbon sequestration potential with forest encroachment on savanna, but nitrogen limitation may play a large and persistent role in governing carbon sequestration in savannas or other equally fire-disturbed tropical

  17. Effect of wildfires on surface reflectance from a savanna ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poudyal, R.; Gatebe, C. K.; Ichoku, C. M.; Varnai, T.

    2015-12-01

    During an airborne field campaign in South Africa in 2005, NASA's Cloud Absorption Radiometer (CAR) flew aboard South Africa Weather Service, Aerocommander 690A and measured surface bidirectional reflectance-distribution function (BRDF) over savanna comprised mostly of grasses and a few scattered trees. Savannas cover half the surface of Africa, large areas of Australia, South America, and India. . The region that was studied is located in Kruger National Park in northeastern South Africa, which was heavily affected by the wildfires. The CAR measured surface reflectance along its flight path covering both burned and unburned areas. . In this study, we compared surface reflectance between burnt and un-burnt areas at various wavelengths (340nm, 380nm, 472nm, 682nm, 870nm, 1036nm, 1219nm, 1273nm, and 2205nm) at satellite sub-pixel scales. We found a relative burnt surface reflectance decrease of between 8 and 65% due to fires. These results not only serve to highlight the importance of biomass burning and effects on the energy budgets, but also the need to determine the effects of albedo changes due to fires on soil moisture budget, evapotranspiration, infiltration, and runoff, all of which govern the land-surface component of the water cycle.

  18. Stratifying Tropical Fires by Land Cover: Insights into Amazonian Fires, Aerosol Loading, and Regional Deforestation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    TenHoeve, J. E.; Remer, L. A.; Jacobson, M. Z.

    2010-01-01

    This study analyzes changes in the number of fires detected on forest, grass, and transition lands during the 2002-2009 biomass burning seasons using fire detection data and co-located land cover classifications from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). We find that the total number of detected fires correlates well with MODIS mean aerosol optical depth (AOD) from year to year, in accord with other studies. However, we also show that the ratio of forest to savanna fires varies substantially from year to year. Forest fires have trended downward, on average, since the beginning of 2006 despite a modest increase in 2007. Our study suggests that high particulate matter loading detected in 2007 was likely due to a large number of savanna/agricultural fires that year. Finally, we illustrate that the correlation between annual Brazilian deforestation estimates and MODIS fires is considerably higher when fires are stratified by MODIS-derived land cover classifications.

  19. Mobility-based management of livestock to improve biodiversity conservation in African savannahs: A conceptual basis for wildlife-livestock co-existence

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    African savannas are complex socio-ecological systems with diverse wild and domestic herbivore assemblages, which utilize functional heterogeneity of habitats to adapt to intra- and inter-annual variation in forage quantity and quality, predation and disease risks. As African savannas become increas...

  20. Native ungulates of diverse body sizes collectively regulate long-term woody plant demography and structure of a semi-arid savanna

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Large mammalian herbivores and fire are both well recognized to play important roles in regulating tree cover and biomass in savannas. However, the extent to which browsing ungulates are capable of regulating tree populations in the absence of other synergistic disturbances such as fire is unclear. ...

  1. Charcoal-inferred Holocene fire and vegetation history linked to drought periods in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    PubMed

    Hubau, Wannes; Van den Bulcke, Jan; Van Acker, Joris; Beeckman, Hans

    2015-06-01

    The impact of Holocene drought events on the presumably stable Central African rainforest remains largely unexplored, in particular the significance of fire. High-quality sedimentary archives are scarce, and palynological records mostly integrate over large regional scales subject to different fire regimes. Here, we demonstrate a direct temporal link between Holocene droughts, palaeofire and vegetation change within present-day Central African rainforest, using records of identified charcoal fragments extracted from soil in the southern Mayumbe forest (Democratic Republic of Congo). We find three distinct periods of local palaeofire occurrence: 7.8-6.8 ka BP, 2.3-1.5 ka BP, 0.8 ka BP - present. These periods are linked to well-known Holocene drought anomalies: the 8.2 ka BP event, the 3rd millennium BP rainforest crisis and the Mediaeval Climate Anomaly. During and after these Holocene droughts, the Central African rainforest landscape was characterized by a fragmented pattern with fire-prone open patches. Some fires occurred during the drought anomalies although most fires seem to lag behind them, which suggests that the open patches remained fire-prone after the actual climate anomalies. Charcoal identifications indicate that mature rainforest patches did persist through the Early to Mid-Holocene climatic transition, the subsequent Holocene thermal optimum and the third millennium BP rainforest crisis, until 0.8 ka BP. However, disturbance and fragmentation were probably more prominent near the boundary of the southern Mayumbe forest. Furthermore, the dominance of pioneer and woodland savanna taxa in younger charcoal assemblages indicates that rainforest regeneration was hampered by increasingly severe drought conditions after 0.8 ka BP. These results support the notion of a dynamic forest ecosystem at multicentury time scales across the Central African rainforest.

  2. Comparison of the driving forces of spring phenology among savanna landscapes by including combined spatial and temporal heterogeneity.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Likai; Southworth, Jane; Meng, Jijun

    2015-10-01

    Understanding spatial and temporal dynamics of land surface phenology (LSP) and its driving forces are critical for providing information relevant to short- and long-term decision making, particularly as it relates to climate response planning. With the third generation Global Inventory Monitoring and Modeling System (GIMMS3g) Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data and environmental data from multiple sources, we investigated the spatio-temporal changes in the start of the growing season (SOS) in southern African savannas from 1982 through 2010 and determined its linkage to environmental factors using spatial panel data models. Overall, the SOS occurs earlier in the north compared to the south. This relates in part to the differences in ecosystems, with northern areas representing high rainfall and dense tree cover (mainly tree savannas), whereas the south has lower rainfall and sparse tree cover (mainly bush and grass savannas). From 1982 to 2010, an advanced trend was observed predominantly in the tree savanna areas of the north, whereas a delayed trend was chiefly found in the floodplain of the north and bush/grass savannas of the south. Different environmental drivers were detected within tree- and grass-dominated savannas, with a critical division being represented by the 800 mm isohyet. Our results supported the importance of water as a driver in this water-limited system, specifically preseason soil moisture, in determining the SOS in these water-limited, grass-dominated savannas. In addition, the research pointed to other, often overlooked, effects of preseason maximum and minimum temperatures on the SOS across the entire region. Higher preseason maximum temperatures led to an advance of the SOS, whereas the opposite effects of preseason minimum temperature were observed. With the rapid increase in global change research, this work will prove helpful for managing savanna landscapes and key to predicting how projected climate changes will affect

  3. Comparison of the driving forces of spring phenology among savanna landscapes by including combined spatial and temporal heterogeneity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhu, Likai; Southworth, Jane; Meng, Jijun

    2015-10-01

    Understanding spatial and temporal dynamics of land surface phenology (LSP) and its driving forces are critical for providing information relevant to short- and long-term decision making, particularly as it relates to climate response planning. With the third generation Global Inventory Monitoring and Modeling System (GIMMS3g) Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data and environmental data from multiple sources, we investigated the spatio-temporal changes in the start of the growing season (SOS) in southern African savannas from 1982 through 2010 and determined its linkage to environmental factors using spatial panel data models. Overall, the SOS occurs earlier in the north compared to the south. This relates in part to the differences in ecosystems, with northern areas representing high rainfall and dense tree cover (mainly tree savannas), whereas the south has lower rainfall and sparse tree cover (mainly bush and grass savannas). From 1982 to 2010, an advanced trend was observed predominantly in the tree savanna areas of the north, whereas a delayed trend was chiefly found in the floodplain of the north and bush/grass savannas of the south. Different environmental drivers were detected within tree- and grass-dominated savannas, with a critical division being represented by the 800 mm isohyet. Our results supported the importance of water as a driver in this water-limited system, specifically preseason soil moisture, in determining the SOS in these water-limited, grass-dominated savannas. In addition, the research pointed to other, often overlooked, effects of preseason maximum and minimum temperatures on the SOS across the entire region. Higher preseason maximum temperatures led to an advance of the SOS, whereas the opposite effects of preseason minimum temperature were observed. With the rapid increase in global change research, this work will prove helpful for managing savanna landscapes and key to predicting how projected climate changes will affect

  4. Annual and diurnal african biomass burning temporal dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roberts, G.; Wooster, M. J.; Lagoudakis, E.

    2009-05-01

    Africa is the single largest continental source of biomass burning emissions. Here we conduct the first analysis of one full year of geostationary active fire detections and fire radiative power data recorded over Africa at 15-min temporal interval and a 3 km sub-satellite spatial resolution by the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) imaging radiometer onboard the Meteosat-8 satellite. We use these data to provide new insights into the rates and totals of open biomass burning over Africa, particularly into the extremely strong seasonal and diurnal cycles that exist across the continent. We estimate peak daily biomass combustion totals to be 9 and 6 million tonnes of fuel per day in the northern and southern hemispheres respectively, and total fuel consumption between February 2004 and January 2005 is estimated to be at least 855 million tonnes. Analysis is carried out with regard to fire pixel temporal persistence, and we note that the majority of African fires are detected only once in consecutive 15 min imaging slots. An investigation of the variability of the diurnal fire cycle is carried out with respect to 20 different land cover types, and whilst differences are noted between land covers, the fire diurnal cycle characteristics for most land cover type are very similar in both African hemispheres. We compare the Fire Radiative Power (FRP) derived biomass combustion estimates to burned-areas, both at the scale of individual fires and over the entire continent at a 1-degree scale. Fuel consumption estimates are found to be less than 2 kg/m2 for all land cover types noted to be subject to significant fire activity, and for savanna grasslands where literature values are commonly reported the FRP-derived median fuel consumption estimate of 300 g/m2 is well within commonly quoted values. Meteosat-derived FRP data of the type presented here is now available freely to interested users continuously and in near real-time for Africa, Europe and parts

  5. Determinants of flammability in savanna grass species.

    PubMed

    Simpson, Kimberley J; Ripley, Brad S; Christin, Pascal-Antoine; Belcher, Claire M; Lehmann, Caroline E R; Thomas, Gavin H; Osborne, Colin P

    2016-01-01

    Tropical grasses fuel the majority of fires on Earth. In fire-prone landscapes, enhanced flammability may be adaptive for grasses via the maintenance of an open canopy and an increase in spatiotemporal opportunities for recruitment and regeneration. In addition, by burning intensely but briefly, high flammability may protect resprouting buds from lethal temperatures. Despite these potential benefits of high flammability to fire-prone grasses, variation in flammability among grass species, and how trait differences underpin this variation, remains unknown.By burning leaves and plant parts, we experimentally determined how five plant traits (biomass quantity, biomass density, biomass moisture content, leaf surface-area-to-volume ratio and leaf effective heat of combustion) combined to determine the three components of flammability (ignitability, sustainability and combustibility) at the leaf and plant scales in 25 grass species of fire-prone South African grasslands at a time of peak fire occurrence. The influence of evolutionary history on flammability was assessed based on a phylogeny built here for the study species.Grass species differed significantly in all components of flammability. Accounting for evolutionary history helped to explain patterns in leaf-scale combustibility and sustainability. The five measured plant traits predicted components of flammability, particularly leaf ignitability and plant combustibility in which 70% and 58% of variation, respectively, could be explained by a combination of the traits. Total above-ground biomass was a key driver of combustibility and sustainability with high biomass species burning more intensely and for longer, and producing the highest predicted fire spread rates. Moisture content was the main influence on ignitability, where species with higher moisture contents took longer to ignite and once alight burnt at a slower rate. Biomass density, leaf surface-area-to-volume ratio and leaf effective heat of combustion

  6. Competition between trees and grasses for both soil water and mineral nitrogen in dry savannas.

    PubMed

    Donzelli, D; De Michele, C; Scholes, R J

    2013-09-07

    The co-existence of trees and grasses in savannas in general can be the result of processes involving competition for resources (e.g. water and nutrients) or differential response to disturbances such as fire, animals and human activities; or a combination of both broad mechanisms. In moist savannas, the tree-grass coexistence is mainly attributed to of disturbances, while in dry savannas, limiting resources are considered the principal mechanism of co-existence. Virtually all theoretical explorations of tree-grass dynamics in dry savannas consider only competition for soil water. Here we investigate whether coexistence could result from a balanced competition for two resources, namely soil water and mineral nitrogen. We introduce a simple dynamical resource-competition model for trees and grasses. We consider two alternative hypotheses: (1) trees are the superior competitors for nitrogen while grasses are superior competitors for water, and (2) vice-versa. We study the model properties under the two hypotheses and test each hypothesis against data from 132 dry savannas in Africa using Kendall's test of independence. We find that Hypothesis 1 gets much more support than Hypothesis 2, and more support than the null hypothesis that neither is operative. We further consider gradients of rainfall and nitrogen availability and find that the Hypothesis 1 model reproduces the observed patterns in nature. We do not consider our results to definitively show that tree-grass coexistence in dry savannas is due to balanced competition for water and nitrogen, but show that this mechanism is a possibility, which cannot be a priori excluded and should thus be considered along with the more traditional explanations.

  7. Fire ecology in the southeastern United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    ,

    2000-01-01

    Fire has played an important role in the structure of natural ecosystems throughout North America. As a natural process, fire helps clear away dead and dying plant matter and increases the production of native species that occur in fire prone habitats. It also reduces the invasion of exotic species and the succession to woody species in pitcher plant bogs, pine savannas, coastal prairies, marshes, and other natural plant communities of the southeastern United States.

  8. Convergence of bark investment according to fire and climate structures ecosystem vulnerability to future change.

    PubMed

    Pellegrini, Adam F A; Anderegg, William R L; Paine, C E Timothy; Hoffmann, William A; Kartzinel, Tyler; Rabin, Sam S; Sheil, Douglas; Franco, Augusto C; Pacala, Stephen W

    2017-03-01

    Fire regimes in savannas and forests are changing over much of the world. Anticipating the impact of these changes requires understanding how plants are adapted to fire. In this study, we test whether fire imposes a broad selective force on a key fire-tolerance trait, bark thickness, across 572 tree species distributed worldwide. We show that investment in thick bark is a pervasive adaptation in frequently burned areas across savannas and forests in both temperate and tropical regions where surface fires occur. Geographic variability in bark thickness is largely explained by annual burned area and precipitation seasonality. Combining environmental and species distribution data allowed us to assess vulnerability to future climate and fire conditions: tropical rainforests are especially vulnerable, whereas seasonal forests and savannas are more robust. The strong link between fire and bark thickness provides an avenue for assessing the vulnerability of tree communities to fire and demands inclusion in global models.

  9. Large carnivores make savanna tree communities less thorny.

    PubMed

    Ford, Adam T; Goheen, Jacob R; Otieno, Tobias O; Bidner, Laura; Isbell, Lynne A; Palmer, Todd M; Ward, David; Woodroffe, Rosie; Pringle, Robert M

    2014-10-17

    Understanding how predation risk and plant defenses interactively shape plant distributions is a core challenge in ecology. By combining global positioning system telemetry of an abundant antelope (impala) and its main predators (leopards and wild dogs) with a series of manipulative field experiments, we showed that herbivores' risk-avoidance behavior and plants' antiherbivore defenses interact to determine tree distributions in an African savanna. Well-defended thorny Acacia trees (A. etbaica) were abundant in low-risk areas where impala aggregated but rare in high-risk areas that impala avoided. In contrast, poorly defended trees (A. brevispica) were more abundant in high- than in low-risk areas. Our results suggest that plants can persist in landscapes characterized by intense herbivory, either by defending themselves or by thriving in risky areas where carnivores hunt.

  10. Measuring and Modelling the Carbon Balance of Pinus palustris Savannas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wright, J. K.; Williams, M. D.; Mitchell, R. J.; Starr, G.; McGee, J.; Whelan, A.

    2011-12-01

    Longleaf pine savannas currently occupy 1.4 million hectares in the South Eastern USA - only 2.6% of their original range. These fire-dependent ecosystems are highly biodiverse and of economic and ecological importance to the region. This region of the United States, however, is increasingly prone to severe drought, including a classified "exceptional" drought in 2011. Drought occurrence and severity are likely to increase in future climate scenarios. Moreover, increasing drought and accompanying wildfire will influence the carbon balance of the South East, a region identified as having the highest carbon sequestration potential in the USA. Thus, understanding the effects of drought on the native longleaf pine savanna land cover, therefore, is of both scientific and economic interest. Longleaf pine exists over a wide soil moisture gradient, driven by the texture and drainage capacity of the soils. These ecosystems therefore provide a natural laboratory for exploring the interaction between productivity, fire and water use. Here we present results of a 3 year study comparing the ecophysiology and carbon balance of two adjacent (5 mile separation) longleaf pine savanna flux sites, one xeric, one mesic. A process-based model (Soil-Plant-Atmosphere - SPA) and leaf-level measurements of photosynthesis and water use in drought and non-drought periods have enabled the authors to partition the carbon fluxes observed at each site into three functional groups (C4 understorey, C3 canopy and mid-storey). Results of this study show that the comparative overall productivity of wet and dry longleaf pine savannas varies through the year, with both wet and dry sites achieving similar productivity in the summer months but with the wet site exceeding the dry site during winter. We hypothesise that this difference is due to the activity of the seasonal C4 understorey. Results from SPA, flux data and field measurements suggest the understorey, dominated by the C4 grass Aristida stricta

  11. New evidence for hybrid zones of forest and savanna elephants in Central and West Africa.

    PubMed

    Mondol, Samrat; Moltke, Ida; Hart, John; Keigwin, Michael; Brown, Lisa; Stephens, Matthew; Wasser, Samuel K

    2015-12-01

    The African elephant consists of forest and savanna subspecies. Both subspecies are highly endangered due to severe poaching and habitat loss, and knowledge of their population structure is vital to their conservation. Previous studies have demonstrated marked genetic and morphological differences between forest and savanna elephants, and despite extensive sampling, genetic evidence of hybridization between them has been restricted largely to a few hybrids in the Garamba region of northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Here, we present new genetic data on hybridization from previously unsampled areas of Africa. Novel statistical methods applied to these data identify 46 hybrid samples--many more than have been previously identified--only two of which are from the Garamba region. The remaining 44 are from three other geographically distinct locations: a major hybrid zone along the border of the DRC and Uganda, a second potential hybrid zone in Central African Republic and a smaller fraction of hybrids in the Pendjari-Arli complex of West Africa. Most of the hybrids show evidence of interbreeding over more than one generation, demonstrating that hybrids are fertile. Mitochondrial and Y chromosome data demonstrate that the hybridization is bidirectional, involving males and females from both subspecies. We hypothesize that the hybrid zones may have been facilitated by poaching and habitat modification. The localized geography and rarity of hybrid zones, their possible facilitation from human pressures, and the high divergence and genetic distinctness of forest and savanna elephants throughout their ranges, are consistent with calls for separate species classification.

  12. Carbon balance of grazed savanna grassland ecosystem in Welgegund, South Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Räsänen, Matti; Aurela, Mika; Vakkari, Ville; Beukes, Paul; Van Zyl, Pieter; Josipovic, Micky; Venter, Andrew; Jaars, Kerneels; Siebert, Stefan; Laurila, Tuomas; Tuovinen, Juha-Pekka; Rinne, Janne; Laakso, Lauri

    2016-04-01

    Tropical savannas and grasslands are estimated to contribute significantly to the global primary production of all terrestrial vegetation. It is suggested that semi-arid ecosystems dominate the inter-annual variation of the global land carbon sink. Most of the previous carbon flux measurements of African savannas have focused on the areas around national parks or nature reserves. However, large parts of African savannas and grasslands are used for agriculture or cattle grazing and there is a lack of measurements from these areas. In this study, we present carbon dioxide fluxes measured with the eddy covariance method for three years at a grazed savanna grassland in South Africa. The tree cover around the Welgegund measurement site (26°34'10"S, 26°56'21"E, 1480 m.a.s.l.; www.welgegund.org) was around 15% and it was grazed by cattle and sheep. Weekly monitoring of the measurements produced high quality flux measurements and only 33% of the measured flux values were missing or discarded due to e.g. too small turbulence. The inter-annual variation of yearly carbon balance was high. The carbon balance for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012 were -73, 82 and 167 gC m-2 y-1, respectively. The yearly variation in GPP and respiration followed the changes in precipitation, whereas the yearly variation in NEE was not explained by the changes in annual precipitation, the length of rainy season or peak NDVI. However, the number of days when soil was wet, seems to relate to the annual sum of NEE.

  13. Savanna Tree Seedlings are Physiologically Tolerant to Nighttime Freeze Events

    PubMed Central

    O’Keefe, Kimberly; Nippert, Jesse B.; Swemmer, Anthony M.

    2016-01-01

    Freeze events can be important disturbances in savanna ecosystems, yet the interactive effect of freezing with other environmental drivers on plant functioning is unknown. Here, we investigated physiological responses of South African tree seedlings to interactions of water availability and freezing temperatures. We grew widely distributed South African tree species (Colophospermum mopane, Combretum apiculatum, Acacia nigrescens, and Cassia abbreviata) under well-watered and water-limited conditions and exposed individuals to nighttime freeze events. Of the four species studied here, C. mopane was the most tolerant of lower water availability. However, all species were similarly tolerant to nighttime freezing and recovered within one week following the last freezing event. We also show that water limitation somewhat increased freezing tolerance in one of the species (C. mopane). Therefore, water limitation, but not freezing temperatures, may restrict the distribution of these species, although the interactions of these stressors may have species-specific impacts on plant physiology. Ultimately, we show that unique physiologies can exist among dominant species within communities and that combined stresses may play a currently unidentified role in driving the function of certain species within southern Africa. PMID:26870065

  14. Soil seed banks confer resilience to savanna grass-layer plants during seasonal disturbance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scott, Kenneth; Setterfield, Samantha; Douglas, Michael; Andersen, Alan

    2010-03-01

    An understanding of soil seed bank processes is crucial for understanding vegetation dynamics, particularly in ecosystems experiencing frequent disturbance. This paper examines seed bank dynamics in a tropical savanna in northern Australia, an environment characterised by frequent fire and highly seasonal rainfall. In particular, we examine the contribution of seed bank processes to the high level of resilience shown by grass-layer vegetation in relation to fire. We assess the spatial congruence between seed bank composition and extant vegetation, document temporal variation in the germinable seed bank over the annual dry season, test the effects of laboratory-applied heat and smoke treatments on seed germinability, and determine the effect of experimental fires on seed bank composition. Although dominant species were shared, the composition of the germinable seed bank was significantly different to that of extant vegetation, with approximately half the extant species not being detected in the seed bank. The density and species richness of germinable seeds was significantly greater in the late dry season than the early dry season, with annual grasses showing particularly high levels of seed dormancy in the early dry season. The density and species richness of germinable seeds in the seed bank was significantly enhanced by laboratory-applied treatments of smoke and especially heat, driven by the response of legumes. However, fire had no significant effect on the density or species richness of germinable seeds in the field, indicating soil temperatures during fire were too low to overcome physical dormancy, or burial was too deep to experience adequate heating or smoke exposure. Our results provide a mechanistic understanding of the persistence of annual grasses and forbs in an environment subject to frequent fire and highly seasonal rainfall, and, together with the sprouting capacity of perennial grasses, explain the high resilience of savanna grass-layer plants in

  15. Precipitation chemistry and wet deposition in a remote wet savanna site in West Africa: Djougou (Benin)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Akpo, A. B.; Galy-Lacaux, C.; Laouali, D.; Delon, C.; Liousse, C.; Adon, M.; Gardrat, E.; Mariscal, A.; Darakpa, C.

    2015-08-01

    In the framework of the IDAF (IGAC/DEBITS/AFrica) international program, this study aims to study the chemical composition of precipitation and associated wet deposition at the rural site of Djougou in Benin, representative of a West and Central African wet savanna. Five hundred and thirty rainfall samples were collected at Djougou, Benin, from July 2005 to December 2009 to provide a unique database. The chemical composition of precipitation was analyzed for inorganic (Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, NH4+, K+, NO3-, Cl-, SO42-) and organic (HCOO-, CH3COO-, C2H5COO-, C2O42-) ions, using ion chromatography. The 530 collected rain events represent a total of 5706.1 mm of rainfall compared to the measured pluviometry 6138.9 mm, indicating that the collection efficiency is about 93%. The order of total annual loading rates for soluble cations is NH4+ > Ca2+ > Mg2+ > K+. For soluble anions the order of loading is carbonates > HCOO- > NO3- > CH3COO- > SO4,SUP>2- > Cl- > C2O42- > C2H5COO-. In the wet savanna of Djougou, 86% of the measured pH values range between 4.7 and 5.7 with a median pH of 5.19, corresponding to a VWM (Volume Weighed Mean) H+ concentration of 6.46 μeq·L-1. This acidity results from a mixture of mineral and organic acids. The annual sea salt contribution was computed for K+, Mg2+, Ca2+ and SO42- and represents 4.2% of K+, 41% of Mg2+, 1.3% of Ca2+, and 7.4% of SO42-. These results show that K+, Ca2+, SO42-, and Mg2+ were mainly of non-marine origin. The marine contribution is estimated at 9%. The results of the chemical composition of rainwater of Djougou indicates that, except for the carbonates, ammonium has the highest VWM concentration (14.3 μeq·L-1) and nitrate concentration is 8.2 μeq·L-1. The distribution of monthly VWM concentration for all ions is computed and shows the highest values during the dry season, comparing to the wet season. Identified nitrogenous compound sources (NOx and NH3) are domestic animals, natural emissions from savanna soils

  16. The Southern Tropical Atlantic Region Experiment (STARE): Transport and Atmospheric Chemistry near the Equator-Atlantic (TRACE A) and Southern African Fire-Atmosphere Research Initiative (SAFARI): An introduction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andreae, Meinrat O.; Fishman, Jack; Lindesay, Janette

    1996-10-01

    In November 1988 some 50 atmospheric scientists met at Dookie College, a small campus in the agricultural lands of Victoria, Australia, to map out the scientific goals of the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) Program, which was to become one of the first operational Core Projects of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP). They identified the tropical regions as one of the priority areas for future international, coordinated research in atmospheric chemistry because of the vast biological activity in the tropics, with a correspondingly large potential for biogenic emissions, and the rapidly growing human populations and resulting land use change in these regions. In view of the prominent role that biomass burning plays in the tropics as a source of atmospheric pollutants and of the important ecological functions of vegetation fires in the tropics, the scientists at Dookie created the Biomass Burning Experiment (BIBEX) with the goals of characterizing the fluxes of gases and aerosols from biomass burning to the global atmosphere and assessing the consequences of pyrogenic emissions on chemical and physical climate. The southern tropical Atlantic region, defined here as the region containing the Amazon basin, the tropical South Atlantic, and southern Africa, was the obvious first focus of research for this project. Large tropical forest and savanna fires had been known to occur here every year. In addition, observations from satellites and from the space shuttle had shown high levels of tropospheric ozone and carbon monoxide to be present over this region every year in the August-to-October period. Results from previous campaigns (ABLE 2A, CITE 3, DECAFE 88) also suggested a widespread impact of vegetation fires on both continents on the trace gas and aerosol content of the troposphere in this region.

  17. The magnitude and persistence of soil NO, N{sub 2}O, CH{sub 4}, and CO{sub 2} fluxes from burned tropical savanna in Brazil

    SciTech Connect

    Poth, M.; Riggan, P.J.; Anderson, I.C.

    1995-12-01

    This paper reports the results of trace gas flux measurements from savanna soils in Brazil, and the effect of burning on gas flux rates. The significance of fire disturbance of tropical savanna on a global scale is also assessed. Flux of nitrogen oxide (NO), nitrous oxide (N{sub 2}O), methane (CH{sub 4}), and carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}) was measured on savanna sites that had been burned within the previous 2 days, after 30 days, and after 1 year. The role of microbial communities in producing observed fluxes of trace gases was assessed by using nitrification inhibitors. The mean soil emissions of NO immediately after burning were among the highest observed for any ecosystem previously studied. NO and N{sub 2}O fluxes were highest from newly burned soils after the addition of water. Emissions rates declined with time after burning and within one year had returned to control levels. The data suggest that burned and unburned tropical savanna are both a major source of tropospheric NO. Savanna also appeared to be a minor N{sub 2}O source and an atmospheric CH{sub 4} sink. CO{sub 2} fluxes remained elevated one year after burning. The study demonstrated that fire is an important regulator of trace gas exchange between tropical soils and the atmosphere. 48 refs., 6 figs., 3 tabs.

  18. The role of savannas in the terrestrial Si cycle: A case-study from Lamto, Ivory Coast

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alexandre, A. E.; Abbadie, L.

    2011-12-01

    Savannas currently occupy a fifth of the earth's land surface and are predicted to expand in the next few centuries at the expense of tropical forests, mainly as a result of deforestation and human fires. Can such a vegetation trend impact, through changes in plant Si cycling, the lithogenic silicon (LSi) release into soils (through chemical weathering) and the net dissolved Si (DSi) outputs from soils to stream water (through chemical denudation)? The first step of an investigation requires quantifying the net Si fluxes involved in the plant/soil system. Here, a schematic steady-state Si cycle, established for a tropical humid savanna (Lamto, Ivory Coast) that developed on a ferruginous soil and is subjected to annual fires, is presented. Erosion was assumed to be insignificant. LSi and biogenic Si (BSi under the form of phytoliths) pools were measured, and Si fluxes were estimated from Si concentrations and mass balance calculation. Identification of plant and soil phytoliths indicated that the soil BSi pool is in equilibrium with the current BSi input by the savanna. In the soil column, mixing between a young rapidly recycled BSi pool and an old stable BSi pool is attested by a mixing line equation. Storage of the old BSi pool is assimilated as a BSi output from the plant/soil system. A BSi output additionally occurs after annual fires, when ashes are exported. Both BSi outputs decrease as much the BSi dissolution. In order to uptake constant DSi flux, the savanna increases by three to eight times the net LSi release, depending upon the post-fire ash exportation scenario. A comparison between savanna and rainforest Si cycles that maximizes the differences in plant/soil systems and minimizes differences in climate is presented. The comparison revealed that BSi storage is higher in the savanna soil than in the rainforest soil, mainly due to BSi production that is twice higher in the savanna (127 vs 67 kg/ha/yr). The resulting LSi release that is enhanced by plant

  19. The role of savannas in the terrestrial Si cycle: A case-study from Lamto, Ivory Coast

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alexandre, Anne; Bouvet, Mickael; Abbadie, Luc

    2011-08-01

    Savannas currently occupy a fifth of the earth's land surface and are predicted to expand in the next few centuries at the expense of tropical forests, mainly as a result of deforestation and human fires. Can such a vegetation trend impact, through changes in plant Si cycling, the lithogenic silicon (LSi) release into soils (through chemical weathering) and the net dissolved Si (DSi) outputs from soils to stream water (through chemical denudation)? The first step of an investigation requires quantifying the net Si fluxes involved in the plant/soil system. Here, a schematic steady-state Si cycle, established for a tropical humid savanna (Lamto, Ivory Coast) that developed on a ferruginous soil and is subjected to annual fires, is presented. Erosion was assumed to be insignificant. LSi and biogenic Si (BSi under the form of phytoliths) pools were measured, and Si fluxes were estimated from Si concentrations and mass balance calculation. Identification of plant and soil phytoliths indicated that the soil BSi pool is in equilibrium with the current BSi input by the savanna. In the soil column, mixing between a young rapidly recycled BSi pool and an old stable BSi pool is attested by a mixing line equation. Storage of the old BSi pool is assimilated as a BSi output from the plant/soil system. A BSi output additionally occurs after annual fires, when ashes are exported. Both BSi outputs decrease as much the BSi dissolution. In order to uptake constant DSi flux, the savanna increases by three to eight times the net LSi release, depending upon the post-fire ash exportation scenario. A comparison between savanna and rainforest Si cycles that maximizes the differences in plant/soil systems and minimizes differences in climate is presented. The comparison revealed that BSi storage is higher in the savanna soil than in the rainforest soil, mainly due to BSi production that is twice higher in the savanna (127 vs 67 kg/ha/yr). The resulting LSi release that is enhanced by plant

  20. Using remote sensing and biogeographic modeling to understand the oak savannas of the Sheyenne National Grassland, North Dakota, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    SigdelPhuyal, Mandira

    Oak savannas are valuable and complex ecosystems that provide multiple ecosystem goods and services, including grazing for livestock, watershed regulation, and recreation. These ecosystems of the woodland-prairie ecoregion of the Midwestern United States are, however, in danger of disappearing. The Sheyenne National Grassland, North Dakota, a protected Prairie grassland-savanna, is a representative of such rare habitats, where oak savanna is found at the landscape scale. In this research, I map the distribution patterns of oak savanna in the Sheyenne using a combination of remote sensing and geospatial datasets, including landscape topography, soils, and fire disturbance. Further, I interpret the performance of a suite of advanced Species Distribution Modeling approaches including Maximum Entropy, Random Forest, Generalized Boosted Model, and Classification Tree to analyze the primary environmental and management factors influencing oak distributions at landscape scales. Woody canopy cover was estimated with high classification accuracy (80-95%) for two study areas of the Sheyenne National Grassland. Among the four species distribution modeling approaches tested, the Random Forest (RF) approach provided the best predictive model. RF model parameters indicate that oak trees favor gently sloping locations, on well-drained upland and sandy soils, with north-facing aspect. While no direct data on water relationships were possible in this research, the importance of the topographic and soil variables in the SDM presumably reflect oak preference for locations and soils that are not prone to water saturation, with milder summer temperatures (i.e. northern aspects), providing conditions suitable for seedling establishment and growth. This research increases our understanding of the biogeography of Midwestern tall-grass oak savannas and provides a decision-support tool for oak savanna management.

  1. Carbon balance of a grazed savanna grassland ecosystem in South Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Räsänen, Matti; Aurela, Mika; Vakkari, Ville; Beukes, Johan P.; Tuovinen, Juha-Pekka; Van Zyl, Pieter G.; Josipovic, Miroslav; Venter, Andrew D.; Jaars, Kerneels; Siebert, Stefan J.; Laurila, Tuomas; Rinne, Janne; Laakso, Lauri

    2017-03-01

    Tropical savannas and grasslands are estimated to contribute significantly to the total primary production of all terrestrial vegetation. Large parts of African savannas and grasslands are used for agriculture and cattle grazing, but the carbon flux data available from these areas are limited. This study explores carbon dioxide fluxes measured with the eddy covariance method for 3 years at a grazed savanna grassland in Welgegund, South Africa. The tree cover around the measurement site, grazed by cattle and sheep, was around 15 %. The night-time respiration was not significantly dependent on either soil moisture or soil temperature on a weekly temporal scale, whereas on an annual timescale higher respiration rates were observed when soil temperatures were higher. The carbon dioxide balances of the years 2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 were -85 ± 16, 67 ± 20 and 139 ± 13 gC m-2 yr-1, respectively. The yearly variation was largely determined by the changes in the early wet season fluxes (September to November) and in the mid-growing season fluxes (December to January). Early rainfall enhanced the respiratory capacity of the ecosystem throughout the year, whereas during the mid-growing season high rainfall resulted in high carbon uptake.

  2. Trend analysis of carbon monoxide distributions for changes in fire vs. anthropogenic sources in diverse African regions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Worden, H. M.; Worden, J. R.; Bloom, A. A.; Bowman, K. W.

    2015-12-01

    Satellite measurements of atmospheric carbon monoxide (CO) provide a signature for biomass burning and anthropogenic combustion-related pollution emissions. CO plays an important role in both air quality and climate as a precursor for tropospheric ozone and as a major sink of OH, the atmospheric "detergent" that affects the lifetime of methane and other pollutants. Worden et al., [2013] showed decreasing global CO values in time series of satellite total column CO measurements over the past decade. All of the satellite instruments that measure CO in the thermal infrared showed consistent inter-annual variability due to fires and possibly the global recession in late 2008. Observed decreases in CO over N. America and Europe were consistent with expected decreases in CO emissions inventories [Granier et al., 2011], however, the decrease is not uniform globally. In particular, Africa shows regions with smaller negative trends and potentially increasing trends in CO concentration. Here we examine trends for surface and total column CO concentrations in Africa over 2002-2014 using MOPITT V5J data. Our hypothesis is that temporal changes in CO will have different signatures related to anthropogenic and biomass burning emissions. We use singular value decomposition (SVD) with time series from different regions based on vegetation type and population density to diagnose the dominant trends and their potential drivers.

  3. Influence of conspecific and heterospecific adults on riparian tree species establishment during encroachment of a humid palm savanna.

    PubMed

    Rolhauser, Andrés G; Chaneton, Enrique J; Batista, William B

    2011-09-01

    Woody plant encroachment of savanna ecosystems has been related to altered disturbance regimes, mainly fire suppression and herbivore exclusion. In contrast, neighbourhood interactions among resident and colonising woody species have received little attention, despite their likely influence on the pattern and rate of tree establishment. We examined how resident palm trees (Butia yatay) and established adults of two riparian forest tree species (Allophylus edulis and Sebastiania commersoniana) influenced seed arrival and seedling performance of the latter two species in a humid savanna of east-central Argentina. Seed traps and seedlings of both riparian species were placed in herbaceous openings, and beneath palm, conspecific and heterospecific adult trees in two unburned savanna patches, and were monitored for 2 years. Only seeds of the bird-dispersed Allophylus arrived in palm microsites, yet survival of Allophylus seedlings near adult palms was limited by animal damage through trampling and burrowing, a non-trophic mechanism of apparent competition. Seeds of both riparian species dispersed into conspecific microsites, although adult trees selectively reduced growth of conspecific seedlings, a pattern consistent with the "escape hypothesis". Further, survival of Sebastiania increased in the moister Allophylus microsites, suggesting a one-way facilitative interaction between woody colonisers. Our results indicate that dispersal facilitation by resident savanna trees may be critical to riparian species invasion after fire suppression. Distance-dependent effects of conspecific and heterospecific adult trees could contribute to shape the subsequent dynamics of woody seedling establishment. Overall, we show that indirect interactions can play a prominent role in savanna encroachment by non-resident woody species.

  4. Environmental changes during the last millennium based on multi-proxy palaeoecological records in a savanna-forest mosaic from the northernmost Brazilian Amazon region.

    PubMed

    Meneses, Maria Ecilene N S; Costa, Marcondes L; Enters, Dirk; Behling, Hermann

    2015-09-01

    The environmental changes and the dynamics of the savanna-forest mosaic, over the last 1050 years, have been reconstructed by pollen, charcoal, radiocarbon dating mineralogical and geochemical analyses of sediment cores taken from three different Mauritia flexuosapalm swamps in the northernmost part of the Brazilian Amazon region (northern state of Roraima). Studies on the relationship between the modern pollen rain and the regional vegetation provide additional information for the interpretation of the fossil pollen records. The fossil pollen assemblages and geochemical results indicate relatively wet climatic conditions throughout the recorded period. Despite these moist conditions, fires were frequent and are one of the reasons for the dominance of a grassy savanna instead of forest expansion in the study area. Considering the generally wet climatic conditions, these fires were most likely caused by human activities. Even today, fires hinder forest expansion into savanna areas. Sandy hydromorphic soils may also act as an edaphic control to maintain the current sharp boundary between forest and savanna ecosystems.

  5. Relative growth rate variation of evergreen and deciduous savanna tree species is driven by different traits

    PubMed Central

    Tomlinson, Kyle W.; Poorter, Lourens; Bongers, Frans; Borghetti, Fabian; Jacobs, Loes; van Langevelde, Frank

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims Plant relative growth rate (RGR) depends on biomass allocation to leaves (leaf mass fraction, LMF), efficient construction of leaf surface area (specific leaf area, SLA) and biomass growth per unit leaf area (net assimilation rate, NAR). Functional groups of species may differ in any of these traits, potentially resulting in (1) differences in mean RGR of groups, and (2) differences in the traits driving RGR variation within each group. We tested these predictions by comparing deciduous and evergreen savanna trees. Methods RGR, changes to biomass allocation and leaf morphology, and root non-structural carbohydrate reserves were evaluated for juveniles of 51 savanna species (34 deciduous, 17 evergreen) grown in a common garden experiment. It was anticipated that drivers of RGR would differ between leaf habit groups because deciduous species have to allocate carbohydrates to storage in roots to be able to flush leaves again, which directly compromises their LMF, whereas evergreen species are not subject to this constraint. Key Results Evergreen species had greater LMF and RGR than deciduous species. Among deciduous species LMF explained 27 % of RGR variation (SLA 34 % and NAR 29 %), whereas among evergreen species LMF explained between 2 and 17 % of RGR variation (SLA 32–35 % and NAR 38–62 %). RGR and LMF were (negatively) related to carbohydrate storage only among deciduous species. Conclusions Trade-offs between investment in carbohydrate reserves and growth occurred only among deciduous species, leading to differences in relative contribution made by the underlying components of RGR between the leaf habit groups. The results suggest that differences in drivers of RGR occur among savanna species because these have different selected strategies for coping with fire disturbance in savannas. It is expected that variation in the drivers of RGR will be found in other functional types that respond differently to particular disturbances. PMID

  6. Environmental resource management of the Munduruku savanna

    SciTech Connect

    Sheffler, E.M.; Southwick, E.E.

    1984-05-01

    For 13 years, the Munduruku were observed living in the savanna region located in South America in the Brazilian state of Para. The area is near the point where the states of Para, Amazonas, and Mato Grosso join their borders, and is utilized by about 200-300 Munduruku Amerindians. Their subsistence staple is manioc (a cassava), with fruits and meat included in the diet. Gold mining by Brazilians is a disruptive element in the resource management of the savanna habitat on the rim of the Amazon Basin. Direct and indirect results of mining interference are described. A study of the manner in which the Munduruku on the Cururu River (a tributary of the Tapajos) have handled the potentially disruptive rubber tapping suggests possible ways of reversing the interference. Several courses of action are discussed. 14 references, 3 figures, 2 tables.

  7. Crown cover chart for oak savannas. Forest Service technical brief

    SciTech Connect

    Law, J.R.; Johnson, P.S.; Houf, G.

    1994-07-01

    Although oak savannas have been defined in many ways, they are characterized by scattered trees, largely comprised of oaks, and a sparse ground layer rich in grasses and forbs. The crown cover chart can be used to estimate the crown cover of trees as a percent of total area. Potential applications of the chart include monitoring changes in savanna crown cover, determining needed reductions in crown cover, and defining the savanna state. in restoring savannas that have grown into closed canopy stands, one can use the chart to estimate initial crown cover before restoration work is begun and again after crown cover has been reduced.

  8. Climate-biomes, pedo-biomes and pyro-biomes: which world view explains the tropical forest - savanna boundary in South America?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Langan, Liam; Higgins, Steven; Scheiter, Simon

    2015-04-01

    Elucidating the drivers of broad vegetation formations improves our understanding of earth system functioning. The biome, defined primarily by the dominance of a particular growth strategy, is commonly employed to group vegetation into similar units. Predicting tropical forest and savanna biome boundaries in South America has proven difficult. Process based DGVMs (Dynamic global vegetation models) are our best tool to simulate vegetation patterns, make predictions for future changes and test theory, however, many DGVMs fail to accurately simulate the spatial distribution or indeed presence of the South American savanna biome which can result in large differences in modelled ecosystem structural properties. Evidence suggests fire plays a significant role in mediating these forest and savanna biome boundaries, however, fire alone does not appear to be sufficient to predict these boundaries in South America using DGVMs hinting at the presence of one or more missing environmental factors. We hypothesise that soil depth, which affects plant available water by determining maximum storage potential and influences temporal availability, may be one of these missing environmental factors. To test our hypothesis we use a novel vegetation model, the aDGVM2. This model has been specifically designed to allow plant trait strategies, constrained by trade-offs between traits, evolve based on the abiotic and biotic conditions where the resulting community trait suites are emergent properties of model dynamics. Furthermore it considers root biomass in multiple soil layers and therefore allows the consideration of alternative rooting strategies, which in turn allows us to explore in more detail the role of soil hydraulic factors in controlling biome boundary distributions. We find that changes in soil depth, interacting with fire, affect the relative dominance of tree and grass strategies and thus the presence and spatial distribution of forest and savanna biomes in South America

  9. New Perspectives on African Biomass Burning Dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roberts, Gareth; Wooster, Martin J.

    2007-09-01

    Biomass burning is a key Earth system process and, in particular a major element of the terrestrial carbon cycle and a globally significant source of atmospheric trace gases and aerosols. Smoke emitted during combustion affects air quality, atmospheric chemical composition, and Earth's radiation budget [Le Canut et al., 1996]. In terms of carbon emissions, vegetation fires are, globally and on average, believed to generate emissions equivalent to between perhaps one third and one half of those from fossil fuel combustion, and savanna fires are responsible for around 50% of the global vegetation fire carbon release [Williams et al., 2007].

  10. Critical Influences on Carbon Balances and Production in the Man-made Montado Savanna of Portugal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pereira, J.; Tenhunen, J.; Dinh, N. Q.; Reichstein, M.; Ribeiro, N.

    2005-12-01

    The "montado savanna" of Portugal provides ecosystem services in the form of cork from Quercus suber trees and understory forage for grazing animals. The production system is controlled directly by physical factors along regional climate and hydrological gradients as well as by human influences on fire, grazing and tree population dynamics (planting and plowing for fire control). We present an analysis of carbon and water exchange at montado savanna sites that is based on long-term eddy covariance measurements, ecophysiological field studies and process-based modelling. A pixel-oriented model set up for spatial simulations, estimates gas fluxes between vegetation and the atmosphere separately for the tree and understory compartments (subsequently combining these), allows for herbage growth and LAI development, and predicts physiological gas exchange restrictions (stomatal regulation) and herb dieback in response to reduced water availability over annual courses. Model validation has been carried out via comparisons with eddy covariance observations at the MITRA II site in Evora, Portugal. Ground level observations of ecosystem structure (LAI and tree cover), aerial photography, Landsat images, and MODIS remotely sensed data are utilized to apply the modelling and to estimate fluxes at landscape, regional and continental scales (Mediterranean basin) for similar vegetation. Potential links to tree growth models and socio-economic models are discussed.

  11. Mammals of Australia's tropical savannas: a conceptual model of assemblage structure and regulatory factors in the Kimberley region.

    PubMed

    Radford, Ian J; Dickman, Christopher R; Start, Antony N; Palmer, Carol; Carnes, Karin; Everitt, Corrin; Fairman, Richard; Graham, Gordon; Partridge, Thalie; Thomson, Allan

    2014-01-01

    We construct a state-and-transition model for mammals in tropical savannas in northern Australia to synthesize ecological knowledge and understand mammalian declines. We aimed to validate the existence of alternative mammal assemblage states similar to those in arid Australian grasslands, and to speculate on transition triggers. Based on the arid grassland model, we hypothesized that assemblages are partitioned across rainfall gradients and between substrates. We also predicted that assemblages typical of arid regions in boom periods would be prevalent in savannas with higher and more regular rainfall. Data from eight mammal surveys from the Kimberley region, Western Australia (1994 to 2011) were collated. Survey sites were partitioned across rainfall zones and habitats. Data allowed us to identify three assemblage states: State 0:--low numbers of mammals, State II:--dominated by omnivorous rodents and State III:--dominated by rodents and larger marsupials. Unlike arid grasslands, assemblage dominance by insectivorous dasyurids (State I) did not occur in savannas. Mammal assemblages were partitioned across rainfall zones and between substrates as predicted, but-unlike arid regions-were not related strongly to yearly rainfall. Mammal assemblage composition showed high regional stability, probably related to high annual rainfall and predictable wet season resource pulses. As a consequence, we speculate that perpetually booming assemblages in savannas allow top-down control of the ecosystem, with suppression of introduced cats by the dingo, the region's top predator. Under conditions of low or erratic productivity, imposed increasingly by intense fire regimes and introduced herbivore grazing, dingoes may not limit impacts of cats on native mammals. These interacting factors may explain contemporary declines of savanna mammals as well as historical declines in arid Australia. The cat-ecosystem productivity hypothesis raised here differs from the already-articulated cat

  12. Mammals of Australia's Tropical Savannas: A Conceptual Model of Assemblage Structure and Regulatory Factors in the Kimberley Region

    PubMed Central

    Radford, Ian J.; Dickman, Christopher R.; Start, Antony N.; Palmer, Carol; Carnes, Karin; Everitt, Corrin; Fairman, Richard; Graham, Gordon; Partridge, Thalie; Thomson, Allan

    2014-01-01

    We construct a state-and-transition model for mammals in tropical savannas in northern Australia to synthesize ecological knowledge and understand mammalian declines. We aimed to validate the existence of alternative mammal assemblage states similar to those in arid Australian grasslands, and to speculate on transition triggers. Based on the arid grassland model, we hypothesized that assemblages are partitioned across rainfall gradients and between substrates. We also predicted that assemblages typical of arid regions in boom periods would be prevalent in savannas with higher and more regular rainfall. Data from eight mammal surveys from the Kimberley region, Western Australia (1994 to 2011) were collated. Survey sites were partitioned across rainfall zones and habitats. Data allowed us to identify three assemblage states: State 0:- low numbers of mammals, State II:- dominated by omnivorous rodents and State III:- dominated by rodents and larger marsupials. Unlike arid grasslands, assemblage dominance by insectivorous dasyurids (State I) did not occur in savannas. Mammal assemblages were partitioned across rainfall zones and between substrates as predicted, but—unlike arid regions—were not related strongly to yearly rainfall. Mammal assemblage composition showed high regional stability, probably related to high annual rainfall and predictable wet season resource pulses. As a consequence, we speculate that perpetually booming assemblages in savannas allow top-down control of the ecosystem, with suppression of introduced cats by the dingo, the region's top predator. Under conditions of low or erratic productivity, imposed increasingly by intense fire regimes and introduced herbivore grazing, dingoes may not limit impacts of cats on native mammals. These interacting factors may explain contemporary declines of savanna mammals as well as historical declines in arid Australia. The cat-ecosystem productivity hypothesis raised here differs from the already

  13. Implication of Forest-Savanna Dynamics on Biomass and Carbon Stock: Effectiveness of an Amazonian Ecological Station

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Couto-Santos, F. R.; Luizao, F. J.

    2014-12-01

    The forests-savanna advancement/retraction process seems to play an important role in the global carbon cycle and in the climate-vegetation balance maintenance in the Amazon. To contribute with long term carbon dynamics and assess effectiveness of a protected area in reduce carbon emissions in Brazilian Amazon transitional areas, variations in forest-savanna mosaics biomass and carbon stock within Maraca Ecological Station (MES), Roraima/Brazil, and its outskirts non-protected areas were compared. Composite surface soil samples and indirect methods based on regression models were used to estimate aboveground tree biomass accumulation and assess vegetation and soil carbon stock along eleven 0.6 ha transects perpendicular to the forest-savanna limits. Aboveground biomass and carbon accumulation were influenced by vegetation structure, showing higher values within protected area, with great contribution of trees above 40 cm in diameter. In the savanna environments of protected areas, a higher tree density and carbon stock up to 30 m from the border confirmed a forest encroachment. This pointed that MES acts as carbon sink, even under variations in soil fertility gradient, with a potential increase of the total carbon stock from 9 to 150 Mg C ha-1. Under 20 years of fire and disturbance management, the results indicated the effectiveness of this protected area to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate greenhouse and climate change effects in a forest-savanna transitional area in Brazilian Northern Amazon. The contribution of this study in understanding rates and reasons for biomass and carbon variation, under different management strategies, should be considered the first approximation to assist policies of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) from underresearched Amazonian ecotone; despite further efforts in this direction are still needed. FINANCIAL SUPPORT: Boticário Group Foundation (Fundação Grupo Boticário); National Council for

  14. Modeling soil moisture memory in savanna ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gou, S.; Miller, G. R.

    2011-12-01

    Antecedent soil conditions create an ecosystem's "memory" of past rainfall events. Such soil moisture memory effects may be observed over a range of timescales, from daily to yearly, and lead to feedbacks between hydrological and ecosystem processes. In this study, we modeled the soil moisture memory effect on savanna ecosystems in California, Arizona, and Africa, using a system dynamics model created to simulate the ecohydrological processes at the plot-scale. The model was carefully calibrated using soil moisture and evapotranspiration data collected at three study sites. The model was then used to simulate scenarios with various initial soil moisture conditions and antecedent precipitation regimes, in order to study the soil moisture memory effects on the evapotranspiration of understory and overstory species. Based on the model results, soil texture and antecedent precipitation regime impact the redistribution of water within soil layers, potentially causing deeper soil layers to influence the ecosystem for a longer time. Of all the study areas modeled, soil moisture memory of California savanna ecosystem site is replenished and dries out most rapidly. Thus soil moisture memory could not maintain the high rate evapotranspiration for more than a few days without incoming rainfall event. On the contrary, soil moisture memory of Arizona savanna ecosystem site lasts the longest time. The plants with different root depths respond to different memory effects; shallow-rooted species mainly respond to the soil moisture memory in the shallow soil. The growing season of grass is largely depended on the soil moisture memory of the top 25cm soil layer. Grass transpiration is sensitive to the antecedent precipitation events within daily to weekly timescale. Deep-rooted plants have different responses since these species can access to the deeper soil moisture memory with longer time duration Soil moisture memory does not have obvious impacts on the phenology of woody plants

  15. Monitoring contrasting land management in the savanna landscapes of northern Australia.

    PubMed

    Franklin, Donald C; Petty, Aaron M; Williamson, Grant J; Brook, Barry W; Bowman, David M J S

    2008-04-01

    We compared measures of ecosystem state across six adjacent land-tenure groups in the intact tropical savanna landscapes of northern Australia. Tenure groups include two managed by Aboriginal owners, two national parks, a cluster of pastoral leases, and a military training area. This information is of relevance to the debate about the role of indigenous lands in the Australian conservation estate. The timing and frequency of fire was determined by satellite imagery; the biomass and composition of the herb-layer and the abundance of large feral herbivores by field surveys; and weediness by analysis of a Herbarium database. European tenures varied greatly in fire frequencies but were consistently burnt earlier in the dry season than the two Aboriginal tenures, the latter having intermediate fire frequencies. Weeds were more frequent in the European tenures, whilst feral animals were most abundant in the Aboriginal tenures. This variation strongly implies a signature of current management and/or recent environmental history. We identify indices suitable for monitoring of management outcomes in an extensive and sparsely populated landscape. Aboriginal land offers a unique opportunity for the conservation of biodiversity through the maintenance of traditional fire regimes. However, without financial support, traditional practices may prove unsustainable both economically and because exotic weeds and feral animals will alter fire regimes. An additional return on investment in Aboriginal land management is likely to be improved livelihoods and health outcomes for these disadvantaged communities.

  16. Termites facilitate and ungulates limit savanna tree regeneration.

    PubMed

    Støen, Ole-Gunnar; Okullo, Paul; Eid, Tron; Moe, Stein R

    2013-08-01

    Both large herbivores and termites are key functional groups in savanna ecosystems, and in many savanna areas, large termite mounds (termitaria) are associated with distinct woody clusters. Studies on the effect of large mammals on tree regeneration are few, and the results are conflicting. Large herbivores have been found to be important seedling predators in some areas, but facilitate tree regeneration by outcompeting small mammals and reducing grass cover in other areas. Through the use of the experimental fencing of termite mounds and adjacent savanna areas in this study, we investigated how termites and large herbivores influence tree regeneration. Termite mounds had a higher number of seedlings, more species richness, more alpha diversity (OD) and lower evenness (E) than savanna plots. Large herbivores did not significantly affect overall seedling density, species richness, OD or E. Beta diversity was higher in savanna areas than on termitaria, and beta diversity decreased in savanna areas when herbivores were excluded. Herbivore exclusion increased the density of the 12 (40%) most common seedling species, representing 79% of all seedlings, and fenced plots had relatively taller seedlings than open plots. Thus, termites were the main determinants of tree regeneration in our study area, but large mammals regulated the most common species. Although our study confirms previous work suggesting that large herbivores affect tree regeneration, we found that termites were an even more important determinant. Termite impacts on tree regeneration deserve increased attention by savanna ecologists.

  17. A second-order impact model for forest fire regimes.

    PubMed

    Maggi, Stefano; Rinaldi, Sergio

    2006-09-01

    We present a very simple "impact" model for the description of forest fires and show that it can mimic the known characteristics of wild fire regimes in savannas, boreal forests, and Mediterranean forests. Moreover, the distribution of burned biomasses in model generated fires resemble those of burned areas in numerous large forests around the world. The model has also the merits of being the first second-order model for forest fires and the first example of the use of impact models in the study of ecosystems.

  18. Molecular phylogeny of Panaspis and Afroablepharus skinks (Squamata: Scincidae) in the savannas of sub-Saharan Africa.

    PubMed

    Medina, Maria F; Bauer, Aaron M; Branch, William R; Schmitz, Andreas; Conradie, Werner; Nagy, Zoltán T; Hibbitts, Toby J; Ernst, Raffael; Portik, Daniel M; Nielsen, Stuart V; Colston, Timothy J; Kusamba, Chifundera; Behangana, Mathias; Rödel, Mark-Oliver; Greenbaum, Eli

    2016-07-01

    African snake-eyed skinks are relatively small lizards of the genera Panaspis and Afroablepharus. Species allocation of these genera frequently changed during the 20th century based on morphology, ecology, and biogeography. Members of these genera occur primarily in savanna habitats throughout sub-Saharan Africa and include species whose highly conserved morphology poses challenges for taxonomic studies. We sequenced two mitochondrial (16S and cyt b) and two nuclear genes (PDC and RAG1) from 76 Panaspis and Afroablepharus samples from across eastern, central, and southern Africa. Concatenated gene-tree and divergence-dating analyses were conducted to infer phylogenies and biogeographic patterns. Molecular data sets revealed several cryptic lineages, with most radiations occurring during the mid-Miocene to Pliocene. We infer that rifting processes (including the formation of the East African Rift System) and climatic oscillations contributed to the expansion and contraction of savannas, and caused cladogenesis in snake-eyed skinks. Species in Panaspis and Afroablepharus used in this study, including type species for both genera, formed a monophyletic group. As a result, the latter genus should be synonymized with the former, which has priority. Conservatively, we continue to include the West African species P. breviceps and P. togoensis within an expanded Panaspis, but note that they occur in relatively divergent clades, and their taxonomic status may change with improved taxon sampling. Divergence estimates and cryptic speciation patterns of snake-eyed skinks were consistent with previous studies of other savanna vertebrate lineages from the same areas examined in this study.

  19. Seasonal changes of water carbon relations in savanna ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kutsch, W. L.; Merbold, L.; Archibald, S.

    2011-12-01

    During evolution plant species have developed different strategies to optimize the water carbon relations. These stratgies summarize to ecosystem properties. As an example we show how tropical and subtropical savannas and woodlands can respond flexibly to changes in temperature and water availability and thus optimize carbon and water fluxes between land surface and atmosphere. Several phenomena are presented and discussed in this overview from African flux sites in Zambia, Burkina Faso and South Africa: Pre-rain leaf development: Many trees developed new leaves before the first rain appeared. As a consequence of this early timing of leaf flush, the phenological increase of photosynthetic capacity (Amax) was steeper than in temperate forests. Mid-term response of conductance and photosynthesis to soil water relations: The regulation of canopy conductance was temporally changing in two ways: changes due to phenology during the course of the growing season and short-term (hours to days) acclimation to soil water conditions. The most constant parameter was water use efficiency. It was influenced by water vapour pressure deficit (VPD) during the day, but the VPD response curve of water usage only changed slightly during the course of the growing season, and decreased by about 30% during the transition from wet to dry season. The regulation of canopy conductance and photosynthetic capacity were closely related. This observation meets recent leaf-level findings that stomatal closure triggers down-regulation of Rubisco during drought. Our results may show the effects of these processes on the ecosystem scale. Furthermore, we observed that the close relationship between stomatal conductance and photosynthesis resulted in different temperature optima of GPP that were close to the average daytime temperature. Adaptation of respiration to rain pulses: Finally, the response of respiration to rain pulses showed changes throughout the growing season. The first rain events early

  20. Pyrogenic carbon from tropical savanna burning: production and stable isotope composition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saiz, G.; Wynn, J. G.; Wurster, C. M.; Goodrick, I.; Nelson, P. N.; Bird, M. I.

    2015-03-01

    Widespread burning of mixed tree-grass ecosystems represents the major natural locus of pyrogenic carbon (PyC) production. PyC is a significant, pervasive and yet poorly understood "slow-cycling" form of carbon present in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, soils and sediments. We conducted 16 experimental burns on a rainfall transect through northern Australian savannas with C4 grasses ranging from 35 to 99% of total biomass. Residues from each fire were partitioned into PyC and further into recalcitrant (HyPyC) components, with each of these fluxes also partitioned into proximal components (>125 μm), likely to remain close to the site of burning, and distal components (<125 μm), likely to be transported from the site of burning. The median (range) PyC production across all burns was 16.0 (11.5) % of total carbon exposed (TCE), with HyPyC accounting for 2.5 (4.9) % of TCE. Both PyC and HyPyC were dominantly partitioned into the proximal flux. Production of HyPyC was strongly related to fire residence time, with shorter duration fires resulting in higher HyPyC yields. The carbon isotope (δ13C) compositions of PyC and HyPyC were generally lower by 1-3‰ relative to the original biomass, with marked depletion up to 7‰ for grasslands dominated by C4 biomass. δ13C values of CO2 produced by combustion were computed by mass balance and ranged from ~0.4 to 1.3‰. The depletion of 13C in PyC and HyPyC relative to the original biomass has significant implications for the interpretation of δ13C values of savanna soil organic carbon and of ancient PyC preserved in the geologic record, as well as for global 13C isotopic disequilibria calculations.

  1. Quantifying the relative importance of greenhouse gas emissions from current and future savanna land use change across northern Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bristow, Mila; Hutley, Lindsay B.; Beringer, Jason; Livesley, Stephen J.; Edwards, Andrew C.; Arndt, Stefan K.

    2016-11-01

    The clearing and burning of tropical savanna leads to globally significant emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs); however there is large uncertainty relating to the magnitude of this flux. Australia's tropical savannas occupy the northern quarter of the continent, a region of increasing interest for further exploitation of land and water resources. Land use decisions across this vast biome have the potential to influence the national greenhouse gas budget. To better quantify emissions from savanna deforestation and investigate the impact of deforestation on national GHG emissions, we undertook a paired site measurement campaign where emissions were quantified from two tropical savanna woodland sites; one that was deforested and prepared for agricultural land use and a second analogue site that remained uncleared for the duration of a 22-month campaign. At both sites, net ecosystem exchange of CO2 was measured using the eddy covariance method. Observations at the deforested site were continuous before, during and after the clearing event, providing high-resolution data that tracked CO2 emissions through nine phases of land use change. At the deforested site, post-clearing debris was allowed to cure for 6 months and was subsequently burnt, followed by extensive soil preparation for cropping. During the debris burning, fluxes of CO2 as measured by the eddy covariance tower were excluded. For this phase, emissions were estimated by quantifying on-site biomass prior to deforestation and applying savanna-specific emission factors to estimate a fire-derived GHG emission that included both CO2 and non-CO2 gases. The total fuel mass that was consumed during the debris burning was 40.9 Mg C ha-1 and included above- and below-ground woody biomass, course woody debris, twigs, leaf litter and C4 grass fuels. Emissions from the burning were added to the net CO2 fluxes as measured by the eddy covariance tower for other post-deforestation phases to provide a total GHG emission from

  2. Age-related tooth wear differs between forest and savanna primates.

    PubMed

    Galbany, Jordi; Romero, Alejandro; Mayo-Alesón, Mercedes; Itsoma, Fiacre; Gamarra, Beatriz; Pérez-Pérez, Alejandro; Willaume, Eric; Kappeler, Peter M; Charpentier, Marie J E

    2014-01-01

    Tooth wear in primates is caused by aging and ecological factors. However, comparative data that would allow us to delineate the contribution of each of these factors are lacking. Here, we contrast age-dependent molar tooth wear by scoring percent of dentine exposure (PDE) in two wild African primate populations from Gabonese forest and Kenyan savanna habitats. We found that forest-dwelling mandrills exhibited significantly higher PDE with age than savanna yellow baboons. Mandrills mainly feed on large tough food items, such as hard-shell fruits, and inhabit an ecosystem with a high presence of mineral quartz. By contrast, baboons consume large amounts of exogenous grit that adheres to underground storage organs but the proportion of quartz in the soils where baboons live is low. Our results support the hypothesis that not only age but also physical food properties and soil composition, particularly quartz richness, are factors that significantly impact tooth wear. We further propose that the accelerated dental wear in mandrills resulting in flatter molars with old age may represent an adaptation to process hard food items present in their environment.

  3. Age-Related Tooth Wear Differs between Forest and Savanna Primates

    PubMed Central

    Galbany, Jordi; Romero, Alejandro; Mayo-Alesón, Mercedes; Itsoma, Fiacre; Gamarra, Beatriz; Pérez-Pérez, Alejandro; Willaume, Eric; Kappeler, Peter M.; Charpentier, Marie J. E.

    2014-01-01

    Tooth wear in primates is caused by aging and ecological factors. However, comparative data that would allow us to delineate the contribution of each of these factors are lacking. Here, we contrast age-dependent molar tooth wear by scoring percent of dentine exposure (PDE) in two wild African primate populations from Gabonese forest and Kenyan savanna habitats. We found that forest-dwelling mandrills exhibited significantly higher PDE with age than savanna yellow baboons. Mandrills mainly feed on large tough food items, such as hard-shell fruits, and inhabit an ecosystem with a high presence of mineral quartz. By contrast, baboons consume large amounts of exogenous grit that adheres to underground storage organs but the proportion of quartz in the soils where baboons live is low. Our results support the hypothesis that not only age but also physical food properties and soil composition, particularly quartz richness, are factors that significantly impact tooth wear. We further propose that the accelerated dental wear in mandrills resulting in flatter molars with old age may represent an adaptation to process hard food items present in their environment. PMID:24732967

  4. Contribution to the discussions on the origin of the cerrado biome: Brazilian savanna.

    PubMed

    Pinheiro, M H O; Monteiro, R

    2010-02-01

    Theories that attempt to explain the origin of the cerrado biome are mostly based on the isolated action of three major factors: climate, fire and soil. Another factor that has been mentioned is that of human interference. We hypothesise that the evolutionary origin of this biome resulted from the complex interaction of climate, fire and soil, with climate being the triggering agent of this assumed interaction. Fire, as well as acid and dystrophic soils, would be factors involved in the selection of savanna species throughout climatic events, during the Tertiary and the Quaternary, e.g. Pliocene and Pleistocene. The genesis of the physiognomies that would give rise to cerrado sensu lato, rather than forest formations, could have occurred due to the strong pressure exerted by the reduction in water availability, and the selection of the species adapted to the new conditions imposed by the environment. The characteristics of cerrado sensu lato soil, originated from edaphic impoverishment caused by lixiviation and successive past fires, would remain, even after hydric availability increased following the Pleistocene glaciations.

  5. Past and current trends of change in a dune prairie/oak savanna reconstructed through a multiple-scale history

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cole, K.L.; Taylor, R.S.

    1995-01-01

    The history of a rapidly changing mosaic of prairie and oak savanna in northern Indiana was reconstructed using several methods emphasizing different time scales ranging from annual to millennial. Vegetation change was monitored for 8 yr using plots and for 30 yr using aerial photographs. A 20th century fire history was reconstructed from the stand structure of multiple-stemmed trees and fire scars. General Land Office Survey data were used to reconstruct the forest of A.D. 1834. Fossil pollen and charcoal records were used to reconstruct the last 4000 yr of vegetation and fire history. Since its deposition along the shore of Lake Michigan about 4000 yr ago, the area has followed a classical primary dune successional sequence, gradually changing from pine forest to prairie/oak savanna between A.D. 264 and 1007. This successional trend, predicted in the models of Henry Cowles, occurred even though the climate cooled and prairies elsewhere in the region retreated. Severe fires in the 19th century reduced most tree species but led to a temporary increase in Populus tremuloides. During the last few decades, the prairie has been invaded by oaks and other woody species, primarily because of fire suppression since A.D. 1972. The rapid and complex changes now occurring are a response to the compounded effects of plant succession, intense burning and logging in the 19th century, recent fire suppression, and possibly increased airborne deposition of nitrates. The compilation of several historical research techniques emphasizing different time scales allows this study of the interactions between multiple disturbance variables

  6. Lidar remote sensing of savanna biophysical attributes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gwenzi, David

    Although savanna ecosystems cover approximately 20 % of the terrestrial land surface and can have productivity equal to some closed forests, their role in the global carbon cycle is poorly understood. This study explored the applicability of a past spaceborne Lidar mission and the potential of future missions to estimate canopy height and carbon storage in these biomes. The research used data from two Oak savannas in California, USA: the Tejon Ranch Conservancy in Kern County and the Tonzi Ranch in Santa Clara County. In the first paper we used non-parametric regression techniques to estimate canopy height from waveform parameters derived from the Ice Cloud and land Elevation Satellite's Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (ICESat-GLAS) data. Merely adopting the methods derived for forests did not produce adequate results but the modeling was significantly improved by incorporating canopy cover information and interaction terms to address the high structural heterogeneity inherent to savannas. Paper 2 explored the relationship between canopy height and aboveground biomass. To accomplish this we developed generalized models using the classical least squares regression modeling approach to relate canopy height to above ground woody biomass and then employed Hierarchical Bayesian Analysis (HBA) to explore the implications of using generalized instead of species composition-specific models. Models that incorporated canopy cover proxies performed better than those that did not. Although the model parameters indicated interspecific variability, the distribution of the posterior densities of the differences between composition level and global level parameter values showed a high support for the use of global parameters, suggesting that these canopy height-biomass models are universally (large scale) applicable. As the spatial coverage of spaceborne lidar will remain limited for the immediate future, our objective in paper 3 was to explore the best means of extrapolating

  7. Methane emission from tropical savanna Trachypogon sp. grasses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sanhueza, E.; Donoso, L.

    2006-11-01

    Methane flux measurements from the soil-grass system were made during the wet season in unperturbed plots and plots where standing dry and green Trachypogon sp. grasses were clipped to just above the soil surface. Results support the surprising discovery that vegetation emits methane. The results of this work allows to infer that the savanna dry/green mixture of grasses produce methane at a rate of ~10 ng m-2 s-1, which is in agreement with early published soil-grass system fluxes. An extrapolation of this flux to the global savanna produces an annual emission much lower than the CH4 production recently suggested in the literature. On the other hand, during the wet season savanna soil consume CH4 at a rate of ~4.7 ng m-2 s-1. Therefore, the tropical savanna soil-grass system would make a modest contribution to the global budget of methane.

  8. Vulnerability of native savanna trees and exotic Khaya senegalensis to seasonal drought.

    PubMed

    Arndt, Stefan K; Sanders, Gregor J; Bristow, Mila; Hutley, Lindsay B; Beringer, Jason; Livesley, Stephen J

    2015-07-01

    Seasonally dry ecosystems present a challenge to plants to maintain water relations. While native vegetation in seasonally dry ecosystems have evolved specific adaptations to the long dry season, there are risks to introduced exotic species. African mahogany, Khaya senegalensis Desr. (A. Juss.), is an exotic plantation species that has been introduced widely in Asia and northern Australia, but it is unknown if it has the physiological or phenotypic plasticity to cope with the strongly seasonal patterns of water availability in the tropical savanna climate of northern Australia. We investigated the gas exchange and water relations traits and adjustments to seasonal drought in K. senegalensis and native eucalypts (Eucalyptus tetrodonta F. Muell. and Corymbia latifolia F. Muell.) in a savanna ecosystem in northern Australia. The native eucalypts did not exhibit any signs of drought stress after 3 months of no rainfall and probably had access to deeper soil moisture late into the dry season. Leaf water potential, stomatal conductance, transpiration and photosynthesis all remained high in the dry season but osmotic adjustment was not observed. Overstorey leaf area index (LAI) was 0.6 in the native eucalypt savanna and did not change between wet and dry seasons. In contrast, the K. senegalensis plantation in the wet season was characterized by a high water potential, high stomatal conductance and transpiration and a high LAI of 2.4. In the dry season, K. senegalensis experienced mild drought stress with a predawn water potential -0.6 MPa. Overstorey LAI was halved, and stomatal conductance and transpiration drastically reduced, while minimum leaf water potentials did not change (-2 MPa) and no osmotic adjustment occurred. Khaya senegalensis exhibited an isohydric behaviour and also had a lower hydraulic vulnerability to cavitation in leaves, with a P50 of -2.3 MPa. The native eucalypts had twice the maximum leaf hydraulic conductance but a much higher P50 of -1.5 MPa

  9. Expanding our understanding of leaf functional syndromes in savanna systems: the role of plant growth form.

    PubMed

    Rossatto, Davi Rodrigo; Franco, Augusto Cesar

    2017-04-01

    The assessment of leaf strategies has been a common theme in ecology, especially where multiple sources of environmental constraints (fire, seasonal drought, nutrient-poor soils) impose a strong selection pressure towards leaf functional diversity, leading to inevitable tradeoffs among leaf traits, and ultimately to niche segregation among coexisting species. As diversification on leaf functional strategies is dependent on integration at whole plant level, we hypothesized that regardless of phylogenetic relatedness, leaf trait functional syndromes in a multivariate space would be associated with the type of growth form. We measured traits related to leaf gas exchange, structure and nutrient status in 57 coexisting species encompassing all Angiosperms major clades, in a wide array of plant morphologies (trees, shrubs, sub-shrubs, herbs, grasses and palms) in a savanna of Central Brazil. Growth forms differed in mean values for the studied functional leaf traits. We extracted 4 groups of functional typologies: grasses (elevated leaf dark respiration, light-saturated photosynthesis on a leaf mass and area basis, lower values of leaf Ca and Mg), herbs (high values of SLA, leaf N and leaf Fe), palms (high values of stomatal conductance, leaf transpiration and leaf K) and woody eudicots (sub-shrubs, shrubs and trees; low SLA and high leaf Ca and Mg). Despite the large range of variation among species for each individual trait and the independent evolutionary trajectory of individual species, growth forms were strongly associated with particular leaf trait combinations, suggesting clear evolutionary constraints on leaf function for morphologically similar species in savanna ecosystems.

  10. [Bioecological characteristics of earthworm populations (Oligochaeta: Glossoscolecidae) in a natural and a protected savanna in the central Llanos of Venezuela].

    PubMed

    Hernández, Luis; Ojeda, Alonso; López-Hernández, Danilo

    2012-09-01

    In tropical savannas, the earthworm communities have a predominant role since they regulate the soil structure and dynamics of the organic matter. To study the effect on earthworm populations in two differently managed savannas, we compared the general aspects of the biology and ecology of earthworm populations from a 40 years protected savanna (SP) with no fire or cattle raising at the Estaci6n Biol6gica de los Llanos, Venezuela (EBLL), and a natural savanna (SNI), under normal burning and cattle raising management conditions. Sampling was carried out at the end of the dry season (April), and at the peak of the wet season (July-August). The main physical properties of soils per system were estimated. In each system, in plots of 90x90m, five fixed sampling units were selected at random; and at each sampling point one soil monolith of 25x25x30cm was collected per unit. Earthworms were extracted using the hand sorting extraction method; and the flotation method was used to estimate the density of cocoons. The earthworms were classified in different ecological categories considering their pigmentation, size and depth profile distribution. As a result of the savanna protection, physical parameters were modified in relation to SNI. The SP soils had higher soil moisture when compared to SNI. Soil moisture varied with depth during the dry season since, after the start of the rainy season, the soil was saturated. Field capacity in the SP was greater than that in the SNI. The surface apparent bulk density of soil was lower in the SP respect SNI, reflecting a lower soil compaction. Total average for the density and biomass of earthworms differed greatly, showing higher values in the SP. The earthworm density average in SP ranged between 25.6-85 individuals/m2 and the average biomass between 6.92-23.23g/m2. While in SNI, earthworms were only found in August, with a mean density of 22.40individuals/m2 and a mean biomass of 5.17g/m2. The vertical distribution pattern was only

  11. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities in sub-Saharan savannas of Benin, West Africa, as affected by agricultural land use intensity and ecological zone.

    PubMed

    Tchabi, Atti; Coyne, Danny; Hountondji, Fabien; Lawouin, Louis; Wiemken, Andres; Oehl, Fritz

    2008-04-01

    richness were generally higher in the natural savannas and under yam than at the other cultivated sites and lowest under the intensively managed cotton. In the fallows, species richness was intermediate, indicating that the high richness of the natural savannas was not restored. Surprisingly, higher species richness was observed in the SU than in the SG and NG, mainly due to a high proportion of species in the Gigasporaceae, Acaulosporaceae, and Glomeraceae. We conclude that the West African savannas contain a high natural AM fungal species richness, but that this natural richness is significantly affected by the common agricultural land use practices and appears not to be quickly restored by fallow.

  12. Use of habitat resources by scarab dung beetles in an savanna.

    PubMed

    Carpaneto, Giuseppe Maria; Mazziotta, Adriano; Ieradi, Michele

    2010-12-01

    In the Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda, we compared the scarab beetle assemblages in the dung of three wild ungulates (African buffalo, a ruminant foregut fermenter; hippopotamus, nonruminant foregut fermenter; and warthog, nonruminant hindgut fermenter). Dung was collected from two sandy-clay soils with different percentage of coarse sand. We aimed at investigating habitat resource selection by dung beetle species within a savanna natural contest with abundant and diverse food availability. Analyses were performed to detect differences for dung beetle assemblages in abundance, diversity, functional groups. Species richness in the three dung types and in the two soil types was similar. However, warthog dung and sandy-rich soil appeared the preferred habitat resources, in terms of abundance and biomass, while hippopotamus dung hosted the lowest values for these parameters. The analysis of functional groups revealed that slow-burying tunnellers held the major role, both in terms of abundance and biomass, and were mainly found in warthog dung.

  13. Reconciling Agricultural Needs with Biodiversity and Carbon Conservation in a Savanna Transformation Frontier

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spiegel, M. P.; Estes, L. D.; Caylor, K. K.; Searchinger, T.

    2015-12-01

    Zambia is a major hotspot for agricultural development in the African savannas, which will be targeted for agricultural expansion to relieve food shortages and economic insecurity in the next few decades. Recent scholarship rejects the assumption that the large reserves of arable land in the African savannas could be converted to cropland with low ecological costs. In light of these findings, the selection of land for agricultural expansion must consider not only its potential productivity, but also the increase in greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss that would result from the land conversion. To examine these tradeoffs, we have developed a multi-objective optimization technique to seek scenarios for agricultural development in Zambia that simultaneously achieve production targets and minimize carbon, biodiversity, and economic cost constraints, while factoring in the inter-annual variability in crop production in this highly uncertain climate. Potential production is determined from well-characterized yield potential estimates while robust metrics of biodiversity and high resolution mapping of carbon storage provide fine scale estimates of ecological impact. We draw production targets for individual crops from potential development pathways, primarily export, commodity-crop driven expansion and identify ecologically responsible agricultural development scenarios that are resilient to climate change and meet these demands. In order to achieve a doubling of production of nine key crops, assuming a modest 20% overall increase in yield potential, we find a range of scenarios that use less than 1600 km2 of new land without infringing on any protected areas or exceeding 6.7 million tons of carbon emissions.

  14. Assessment of bird populations in a high quality savanna/woodland: a banding approach

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wilmore, Sandra L.; Glowacki, Gary A.; Grundel, Ralph

    2005-01-01

    During the course of this six year study, the fall migration capture rate declined significantly, suggesting that reduced productivity may have occurred in bird populations. There was a positive response during the spring migration to earlier spring wildfires, indicated by high capture rates in 2000 and 2002 that corresponded with fires affecting most of the bird banding net locations. For several common species found at the Miller Woods site, the ratio of juveniles to adults was compared to ratios at other banding stations in the north central U.S. Breeding site fidelity was documented for 20 species, all common breeders. Variation in capture rates among net locations demonstrated the role of the shrub layer within the savanna habitat mosaic during migration stopover.

  15. Factors Controlling Vegetation Fires in Protected and Non-Protected Areas of Myanmar

    PubMed Central

    Biswas, Sumalika; Vadrevu, Krishna Prasad; Lwin, Zin Mar; Lasko, Kristofer; Justice, Christopher O.

    2015-01-01

    Fire is an important disturbance agent in Myanmar impacting several ecosystems. In this study, we quantify the factors impacting vegetation fires in protected and non-protected areas of Myanmar. Satellite datasets in conjunction with biophysical and anthropogenic factors were used in a spatial framework to map the causative factors of fires. Specifically, we used the frequency ratio method to assess the contribution of each causative factor to overall fire susceptibility at a 1km scale. Results suggested the mean fire density in non-protected areas was two times higher than the protected areas. Fire-land cover partition analysis suggested dominant fire occurrences in the savannas (protected areas) and woody savannas (non-protected areas). The five major fire causative factors in protected areas in descending order include population density, land cover, tree cover percent, travel time from nearest city and temperature. In contrast, the causative factors in non-protected areas were population density, tree cover percent, travel time from nearest city, temperature and elevation. The fire susceptibility analysis showed distinct spatial patterns with central Myanmar as a hot spot of vegetation fires. Results from propensity score matching suggested that forests within protected areas have 11% less fires than non-protected areas. Overall, our results identify important causative factors of fire useful to address broad scale fire risk concerns at a landscape scale in Myanmar. PMID:25909632

  16. Factors controlling vegetation fires in protected and non-protected areas of myanmar.

    PubMed

    Biswas, Sumalika; Vadrevu, Krishna Prasad; Lwin, Zin Mar; Lasko, Kristofer; Justice, Christopher O

    2015-01-01

    Fire is an important disturbance agent in Myanmar impacting several ecosystems. In this study, we quantify the factors impacting vegetation fires in protected and non-protected areas of Myanmar. Satellite datasets in conjunction with biophysical and anthropogenic factors were used in a spatial framework to map the causative factors of fires. Specifically, we used the frequency ratio method to assess the contribution of each causative factor to overall fire susceptibility at a 1km scale. Results suggested the mean fire density in non-protected areas was two times higher than the protected areas. Fire-land cover partition analysis suggested dominant fire occurrences in the savannas (protected areas) and woody savannas (non-protected areas). The five major fire causative factors in protected areas in descending order include population density, land cover, tree cover percent, travel time from nearest city and temperature. In contrast, the causative factors in non-protected areas were population density, tree cover percent, travel time from nearest city, temperature and elevation. The fire susceptibility analysis showed distinct spatial patterns with central Myanmar as a hot spot of vegetation fires. Results from propensity score matching suggested that forests within protected areas have 11% less fires than non-protected areas. Overall, our results identify important causative factors of fire useful to address broad scale fire risk concerns at a landscape scale in Myanmar.

  17. Unprecedented Fires in Southern Africa

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    The fires that raged across southern Africa this August and September produced a thick 'river of smoke' over the region. NASA-supported studies currently underway on the event will contribute to improved air pollution policies in the region and a better understanding of its impact on climate change. This year the southern African fire season peaked in early September. The region is subject to some of the highest levels of biomass burning in the world. The heaviest burning was in western Zambia, southern Angola, northern Namibia, and northern Botswana. Some of the blazes had fire fronts 20 miles long that lasted for days. In this animation, multiple fires are burning across the southern part of the African continent in September 2000. The fires, indicated in red, were observed by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) instrument on board the NOAA-14 satellite. The fires generated large amounts of heat-absorbing aerosols (the dark haze), which were observed with the Earth Probe Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) instrument. These observations were collected as part of a NASA-supported field campaign called SAFARI 2000 (Southern African Regional Science Initiative). The recent six-week 'dry-season' portion of this experiment was planned to coincide with the annual fires. SAFARI 2000 planners tracked the changing location of fires with daily satellite maps provided by researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. 'Every year African biomass burning greatly exceeds the scale of the fires seen this year in the western United States,' says Robert Swap of the University of Virginia, one of the campaign organizers. 'But the southern African fire season we just observed may turn out to be an extreme one even by African standards. It was amazing how quickly this region went up in flames.' The thick haze layer from these fires was heavier than campaign participants had seen in previous field studies in the Amazon Basin and during the Kuwati oil fires

  18. Gran Sabana fires (SE Venezuela): a paleoecological perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montoya, Encarni; Rull, Valentí

    2011-11-01

    Fires are among the most important risks for tropical ecosystems in a future climatic change scenario. Recently, paleoecological research has been addressed to discern the role played by fire in neotropical landscapes. However, given the magnitude of the Neotropics, many studies are relegated to infer just local trends. Here we present the compilation of the paleo-fire records developed until now in the southern Gran Sabana (SE Venezuela) with the aim to describe the fire history as well as to infer the possible forcing factors implied. In this sense, southern Gran Sabana has been under fire perturbation since the Lateglacial, with the concomitant effects upon vegetation, and persisted during the Holocene. Around 2000 cal yr BP onwards, the fire activity highly increased promoting the expansion of pre-existing savannas, the decrease of forests and the appearance and establishment of Mauritia palm swamps. The continuous fire incidence registered for several thousands of years has likely promoted the supremacy of treeless savannas upon other vegetation types and the degradation to secondary landscapes. Based on the available evidence, the anthropogenic nature of this high fire activity has been postulated. If so, it could be hypothesized that the timing arrival of Pemón, the present-day indigenous culture in the Gran Sabana, would be ca 2000 cal yr BP onwards, rather than the last centuries, as it has been formerly assumed. The implications of these ancient practices in the area are also discussed for present Gran Sabana landscapes sustainability and future conservation strategies.

  19. The role of prescribed burn associations in the application of prescribed fires in rangeland ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Toledo, David; Kreuter, Urs P; Sorice, Michael G; Taylor, Charles A

    2014-01-01

    Risk and liability concerns regarding fire affect people's attitudes toward fire and have led to human-induced alterations of fire regimes. This has, in turn, contributed to brush encroachment and degradation of many grasslands and savannas. Efforts to successfully restore such degraded ecosystems at the landscape scale in regions of the United States with high proportions of private lands require the reintroduction of fire. Prescribed Burn Associations (PBA) provide training, equipment, and labor to apply fire safely, facilitating the application of this rangeland management tool and thereby reducing the associated risk. PBAs help build networks and social capital among landowners who are interested in using fire. They can also change attitudes toward fire and enhance the social acceptability of using prescribed fire as a management practice. PBAs are an effective mechanism for promoting the widespread use of prescribed fire to restore and maintain the biophysical integrity of grasslands and savannas at the landscape scale. We report findings of a project aimed at determining the human dimensions of using prescribed fire to control woody plant encroachment in three different eco-regions of Texas. Specifically, we examine membership in PBAs as it relates to land manager decisions regarding the use of prescribed fire. Perceived risk has previously been identified as a key factor inhibiting the use of prescribed fire by landowners. Our results show that perceived constraints, due to lack of skill, knowledge, and access to equipment and membership in a PBAs are more important factors than risk perceptions in affecting landowner decisions about the use of fire. This emphasizes the potential for PBAs to reduce risk perceptions regarding the application of prescribed fire and, therefore, their importance for restoring brush-encroached grasslands and savannas.

  20. Classification of savanna tree species, in the Greater Kruger National Park region, by integrating hyperspectral and LiDAR data in a Random Forest data mining environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Naidoo, L.; Cho, M. A.; Mathieu, R.; Asner, G.

    2012-04-01

    The accurate classification and mapping of individual trees at species level in the savanna ecosystem can provide numerous benefits for the managerial authorities. Such benefits include the mapping of economically useful tree species, which are a key source of food production and fuel wood for the local communities, and of problematic alien invasive and bush encroaching species, which can threaten the integrity of the environment and livelihoods of the local communities. Species level mapping is particularly challenging in African savannas which are complex, heterogeneous, and open environments with high intra-species spectral variability due to differences in geology, topography, rainfall, herbivory and human impacts within relatively short distances. Savanna vegetation are also highly irregular in canopy and crown shape, height and other structural dimensions with a combination of open grassland patches and dense woody thicket - a stark contrast to the more homogeneous forest vegetation. This study classified eight common savanna tree species in the Greater Kruger National Park region, South Africa, using a combination of hyperspectral and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)-derived structural parameters, in the form of seven predictor datasets, in an automated Random Forest modelling approach. The most important predictors, which were found to play an important role in the different classification models and contributed to the success of the hybrid dataset model when combined, were species tree height; NDVI; the chlorophyll b wavelength (466 nm) and a selection of raw, continuum removed and Spectral Angle Mapper (SAM) bands. It was also concluded that the hybrid predictor dataset Random Forest model yielded the highest classification accuracy and prediction success for the eight savanna tree species with an overall classification accuracy of 87.68% and KHAT value of 0.843.

  1. The magnitude and persistence of soil NO, N2O, CH4, and CO2 fluxes from burned tropical savanna in Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poth, Mark; Anderson, Iris Cofman; Miranda, Heloisa Sinatora; Miranda, Antonio Carlos; Riggan, Philip J.

    1995-12-01

    Among all global ecosystems, tropical savannas are the most severely and extensively affected by anthropogenic burning. Frequency of fire in cerrado, a type of tropical savanna covering 25% of Brazil, is 2 to 4 years. In 1992 we measured soil fluxes of NO, N2O, CH4, and CO2 from cerrado sites that had been burned within the previous 2 days, 30 days, 1 year, and from a control site last burned in 1976. NO and N2O fluxes responded dramatically to fire with the highest fluxes observed from newly burned soils after addition of water. Emissions of N-trace gases after burning were of similar magnitude to estimated emissions during combustion. NO fluxes immediately after burning are among the highest observed for any ecosystem studied to date. These rates declined with time after burning and had returned to control levels 1 year after the burn. An assessment of our data suggested that tropical savanna, burned or unburned, is a major source of NO to the troposphere. Cerrado appeared to be a minor source of N2O and a sink for atmospheric CH4. Burning also elevated CO2 fluxes, which remained detectably elevated 1 year later.

  2. Phytolith analysis as a tool for palaeo-environmental studies: a case study of the reconstruction of the historical extent of oak savanna in the Willamette Valley, Oregon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kirchholtes, Renske; van Mourik, Jan; Johnson, Bart

    2014-05-01

    Landscape-level restorations can be costly, so the effectiveness of the approach and the objectives of the restoration should be supported by a comprehensive investigation. The goal of the research presented here is to provide the basis for such a restoration effort using phytolith analyses. Fire suppression and loss of indigenous burning in the Willamette Valley, Oregon (USA) has led to near disappearance of the Oregon white oak savanna. Under suppressed fire regimes the shade-intolerant Garry oaks (Quercus garryana) are outcompeted by Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). As a consequence, the Oregon white oak savanna has been reduced to <5% of its former extent. This range contraction has had significant impacts on regional biodiversity due to habitat loss and fragmentation of the many savanna-dependent plant and animal species. Landscape-level restorations of oak savannas are needed to conserve biodiversity. Creating a more open landscape in which wildfires play a vital role, ties in with efforts to reduce fuel loads. Under a warming climate and changing precipitation patterns, reducing fire risk, fire intensity and fuel loading is critical. Frequent, low-intensity burning of both natural and Native American origin created open spaces in the otherwise densely forested hills and mountains of the Cascade Range. Thus, determining an appropriate "restoration point" (estimate of percent forest cover,) requires a pre-settlement paleoenvironmental reconstruction. However, the conventional indicators used in floristic reconstructions (pollen and spores) are seldom preserved in the dry, oxidized sediments of savannahs, meaning an alternative line of evidence is required for their historical study. Phytoliths are small yet robust silica particles produced by most plants. Many phytoliths take on cell shapes diagnostic of specific plant lineages, acting as indicators of their past presence. Unlike pollen grains, phytoliths readily preserve in well-drained soils during

  3. Methane emission from tropical savanna Trachypogon sp. grasses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sanhueza, E.; Donoso, L.

    2006-07-01

    Methane flux measurements from the soil-grass system were made during the wet season in unperturbed plots and plots where standing dry and green Trachypogon sp. grasses were clipped to just above the soil surface. Results support the surprising discovery that vegetation emits methane. The dry/green mixture of grasses produce methane at a rate of ~10 ng m-2 s-1, which extrapolated to the global savanna would produce an annual emission of ~5 Tg, much lower than the production recently suggested in the literature. On the other hand, during the wet season savanna soil consume CH4 at a rate of ~4.7 ng m-2 s-1, producing a global sink of ~1.3 Tg yr-1. Therefore, the tropical savanna soil-grass system would make a modest contribution to the global budget of methane.

  4. Forage nutritive quality in the Serengeti ecosystem: The roles of fire and herbivory

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anderson, T.M.; Ritchie, M.E.; Mayemba, E.; Eby, S.; Grace, J.B.; McNaughton, S.J.

    2007-01-01

    Fire and herbivory are important determinants of nutrient availability in savanna ecosystems. Fire and herbivory effects on the nutritive quality of savanna vegetation can occur directly, independent of changes in the plant community, or indirectly, via effects on the plant community. Indirect effects can be further subdivided into those occurring because of changes in plant species composition or plant abundance (i.e., quality versus quantity). We studied relationships between fire, herbivory, rainfall, soil fertility, and leaf nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and sodium (Na) at 30 sites inside and outside of Serengeti National Park. Using structural equation modeling, we asked whether fire and herbivory influences were largely direct or indirect and how their signs and strengths differed within the context of natural savanna processes. Herbivory was associated with enhanced leaf N and P through changes in plant biomass and community composition. Fire was associated with reduced leaf nutrient concentrations through changes in plant community composition. Additionally, fire had direct positive effects on Na and nonlinear direct effects on P that partially mitigated the indirect negative effects. Key mechanisms by which fire reduced plant nutritive quality were through reductions of Na-rich grasses and increased abundance of Themeda triandra, which had below-average leaf nutrients. ?? 2007 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

  5. Fire-probability maps for the Brazilian Amazonia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cardoso, Manoel; Sampaio, Gilvan; Obregon, Guillermo; Nobre, Carlos

    2010-05-01

    Most fires in Amazonia result from the combination between climate and land-use factors. They occur mainly in the dry season and are used as an inexpensive tool for land clearing and management. However, their unintended consequences are of important concern. Fire emissions are the most important sources of greenhouse gases and aerosols in the region, accidental fires are a major threat to protected areas, and frequent fires may lead to permanent conversion of forest areas into savannas. Fire-activity models have thus become important tools for environmental analyses in Amazonia. They are used, for example, in warning systems for monitoring the risk of burnings in protected areas, to improve the description of biogeochemical cycles and vegetation composition in ecosystem models, and to help estimate the long-term potential for savannas in biome models. Previous modeling studies for the whole region were produced in units of satellite fire pixels, which complicate their direct use for environmental applications. By reinterpreting remote-sensing based data using a statistical approach, we were able to calibrate models for the whole region in units of probability, or chance of fires to occur. The application of these models for years 2005 and 2006 provided maps of fire potential at 3-month and 0.25-deg resolution as a function of precipitation and distance from main roads. In both years, the performance of the resulting maps was better for the period July-September. During these months, most of satellite-based fire observations were located in areas with relatively high chance of fire, as determined by the modeled probability maps. In addition to reproduce reasonably well the areas presenting maximum fire activity as detected by remote sensing, the new results in units of probability are easier to apply than previous estimates from fire-pixel models.

  6. Fire-probability maps for the Brazilian Amazonia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cardoso, M.; Nobre, C.; Obregon, G.; Sampaio, G.

    2009-04-01

    Most fires in Amazonia result from the combination between climate and land-use factors. They occur mainly in the dry season and are used as an inexpensive tool for land clearing and management. However, their unintended consequences are of important concern. Fire emissions are the most important sources of greenhouse gases and aerosols in the region, accidental fires are a major threat to protected areas, and frequent fires may lead to permanent conversion of forest areas into savannas. Fire-activity models have thus become important tools for environmental analyses in Amazonia. They are used, for example, in warning systems for monitoring the risk of burnings in protected areas, to improve the description of biogeochemical cycles and vegetation composition in ecosystem models, and to help estimate the long-term potential for savannas in biome models. Previous modeling studies for the whole region were produced in units of satellite fire pixels, which complicate their direct use for environmental applications. By reinterpreting remote-sensing based data using a statistical approach, we were able to calibrate models for the whole region in units of probability, or chance of fires to occur. The application of these models for years 2005 and 2006 provided maps of fire potential at 3-month and 0.25-deg resolution as a function of precipitation and distance from main roads. In both years, the performance of the resulting maps was better for the period July-September. During these months, most of satellite-based fire observations were located in areas with relatively high chance of fire, as determined by the modeled probability maps. In addition to reproduce reasonably well the areas presenting maximum fire activity as detected by remote sensing, the new results in units of probability are easier to apply than previous estimates from fire-pixel models.

  7. Mexican forest fires and their decadal variations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Velasco Herrera, Graciela

    2016-11-01

    A high forest fire season of two to three years is regularly observed each decade in Mexican forests. This seems to be related to the presence of the El Niño phenomenon and to the amount of total solar irradiance. In this study, the results of a multi-cross wavelet analysis are reported based on the occurrence of Mexican forest fires, El Niño and the total solar irradiance for the period 1970-2014. The analysis shows that Mexican forest fires and the strongest El Niño phenomena occur mostly around the minima of the solar cycle. This suggests that the total solar irradiance minima provide the appropriate climatological conditions for the occurrence of these forest fires. The next high season for Mexican forest fires could start in the next solar minimum, which will take place between the years 2017 and 2019. A complementary space analysis based on MODIS active fire data for Mexican forest fires from 2005 to 2014 shows that most of these fires occur in cedar and pine forests, on savannas and pasturelands, and in the central jungles of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

  8. The evolutionary history and biogeography of Mimosoideae (Leguminosae): an emphasis on African acacias.

    PubMed

    Bouchenak-Khelladi, Yanis; Maurin, Olivier; Hurter, Johan; van der Bank, Michelle

    2010-11-01

    The systematics of Mimosoideae has been in a state of flux, which reflects overall poor knowledge of the evolution and biogeography of this group. Preliminary molecular phylogenetic analyses suggest the tribal system of Mimosoideae needs a complete revision. This has led to the use of new generic names for Acacia sensu lato (s.l. hereafter) following the re-typification of Acacia with an Australian type: (i) Acacia sensu stricto (s.s. hereafter), Vachellia, Senegalia, Acaciella and Mariosousa. This study reconstructs the evolutionary history of Mimosoideae, using the most comprehensive sampling to date, with an emphasis on African species. It aims to reconstruct the phylogenetic relationships among the five recognized genera within Acacieae as the precursor to elucidate the paleo-biogeography of mimosoids and their adaptation to open habitats in the Cenozoic. The basal position of Mimoseae lineages with regards to Vachellia and Senegalia+Mariosousa+Acaciella+Ingeae+Acacia s.s. clades is a novel finding. Vachellia (formerly Acacia subgenus Acacia) is found monophyletic. A grade including the remaining Mimoseae lineages is found sister to the Senegalia+Mariosousa+Acaciella+Ingeae+Acacia s.s. clade. The major clades originated in the late Oligocene-early Miocene (∼25mya). The transitions from close to open habitats occurred during the Miocene for at least four mimosoid lineages. These are interpreted as responses to increased seasonality leading to fire climates and drying trends in the Miocene, which allowed the expansion of open habitats, such as savannas, worldwide.

  9. Land Use Change In Australia's Tropical Savanna Woodlands: Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Deforestation And Conversion To Agriculture

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hutley, L. B.; Bristow, M.; Beringer, J.; Livesley, S. L.; Arndt, S. K.

    2015-12-01

    Clearing and burning of tropical savanna leads to globally significant emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), although there is large uncertainty relating to the magnitude of this flux. Australia's tropical savannas are 12% of global savanna extent and are largely intact; however there is currently a focus on agricultural expansion across northern Australia involving clearing for primary production. Eddy covariance and soil chamber methods were used over almost 2 years to quantify CO2 and non-CO2 fluxes from savanna that was cleared and prepared for agriculture (CS). Fluxes from an uncleared site (UC) were also monitored. Carbon fluxes from both sites were similar (NEE -0.23 Mg C ha-1 month-1) for the 5.4 months prior to clearing, a period spanning the late dry to mid-wet season. Fluxes were monitored for a further 17 months through a dry-wet-dry climate cycle and phased land use change which included clearing and a debris curing phase, followed by burning and soil preparation for cropping. Over this period (excluding the managed fire), the CS site was a source of +0.43 Mg C ha-1 month-1 compared to a net sink at the UC site of -0.05 Mg C ha-1 month-1. Woody debris from clearing (30.9 Mg C ha-1) was removed from the site via burning in the late dry season and emission factors were used to calculate emissions of CO2, CH4 and N2O which totalled 138.0 Mg CO2-e ha-1. Over the 17 months of monitoring this land transformation, emissions were +9.7 Mg CO2-e ha-1 month-1 compared to a sink of -0.17 Mg CO2-e from the UC site. Using these emissions and LUC scenarios at catchment to regional scales suggest proposed clearing for agriculture could significantly increase the region's fire-dominated GHG emissions. These data are essential for both land-atmosphere models as well as decision support tools that inform trade-offs between greenhouse gas accounting, conservation and development goals.

  10. Production of CO{sub 2}, CO and hydrocarbons from biomass fires

    SciTech Connect

    Hao, W.M.; Ward, D.E.; Olbu, G.

    1995-12-01

    Emissions of CO{sub 2}, CO, CH{sub 4}, C{sub 2}-C{sub 6} alkanes and alkenes, and aromatic compounds from various biomass fires have been quantified. These gases play important roles in tropospheric chemistry, stratospheric chemistry, and global climate. The fires were used for deforestation and shifting cultivation in tropical forests and for growth of fresh grass in tropical savannas. Smoke samples were collected in stainless steel canisters and were analyzed by gas chromatographs with flame ionization detectors. We investigate and compare the differences in the combustion efficiency, the emission factor of each compound, and the relationship among emitted compounds between forest and savanna fires. The contributions of biomass burning to the sources of these gases in the atmosphere are estimated. We will also assess the potential impact of biomass fires on changes in atmospheric chemistry and global climate.

  11. Indigenous burning as conservation practice: neotropical savanna recovery amid agribusiness deforestation in Central Brazil.

    PubMed

    Welch, James R; Brondízio, Eduardo S; Hetrick, Scott S; Coimbra, Carlos E A

    2013-01-01

    International efforts to address climate change by reducing tropical deforestation increasingly rely on indigenous reserves as conservation units and indigenous peoples as strategic partners. Considered win-win situations where global conservation measures also contribute to cultural preservation, such alliances also frame indigenous peoples in diverse ecological settings with the responsibility to offset global carbon budgets through fire suppression based on the presumed positive value of non-alteration of tropical landscapes. Anthropogenic fire associated with indigenous ceremonial and collective hunting practices in the Neotropical savannas (cerrado) of Central Brazil is routinely represented in public and scientific conservation discourse as a cause of deforestation and increased CO2 emissions despite a lack of supporting evidence. We evaluate this claim for the Xavante people of Pimentel Barbosa Indigenous Reserve, Brazil. Building upon 23 years of longitudinal interdisciplinary research in the area, we used multi-temporal spatial analyses to compare land cover change under indigenous and agribusiness management over the last four decades (1973-2010) and quantify the contemporary Xavante burning regime contributing to observed patterns based on a four year sample at the end of this sequence (2007-2010). The overall proportion of deforested land remained stable inside the reserve (0.6%) but increased sharply outside (1.5% to 26.0%). Vegetation recovery occurred where reserve boundary adjustments transferred lands previously deforested by agribusiness to indigenous management. Periodic traditional burning by the Xavante had a large spatial distribution but repeated burning in consecutive years was restricted. Our results suggest a need to reassess overreaching conservation narratives about the purported destructiveness of indigenous anthropogenic fire in the cerrado. The real challenge to conservation in the fire-adapted cerrado biome is the long

  12. Indigenous Burning as Conservation Practice: Neotropical Savanna Recovery amid Agribusiness Deforestation in Central Brazil

    PubMed Central

    Welch, James R.; Brondízio, Eduardo S.; Hetrick, Scott S.; Coimbra, Carlos E. A.

    2013-01-01

    International efforts to address climate change by reducing tropical deforestation increasingly rely on indigenous reserves as conservation units and indigenous peoples as strategic partners. Considered win-win situations where global conservation measures also contribute to cultural preservation, such alliances also frame indigenous peoples in diverse ecological settings with the responsibility to offset global carbon budgets through fire suppression based on the presumed positive value of non-alteration of tropical landscapes. Anthropogenic fire associated with indigenous ceremonial and collective hunting practices in the Neotropical savannas (cerrado) of Central Brazil is routinely represented in public and scientific conservation discourse as a cause of deforestation and increased CO2 emissions despite a lack of supporting evidence. We evaluate this claim for the Xavante people of Pimentel Barbosa Indigenous Reserve, Brazil. Building upon 23 years of longitudinal interdisciplinary research in the area, we used multi-temporal spatial analyses to compare land cover change under indigenous and agribusiness management over the last four decades (1973–2010) and quantify the contemporary Xavante burning regime contributing to observed patterns based on a four year sample at the end of this sequence (2007–2010). The overall proportion of deforested land remained stable inside the reserve (0.6%) but increased sharply outside (1.5% to 26.0%). Vegetation recovery occurred where reserve boundary adjustments transferred lands previously deforested by agribusiness to indigenous management. Periodic traditional burning by the Xavante had a large spatial distribution but repeated burning in consecutive years was restricted. Our results suggest a need to reassess overreaching conservation narratives about the purported destructiveness of indigenous anthropogenic fire in the cerrado. The real challenge to conservation in the fire-adapted cerrado biome is the long

  13. Global Burned Area and Biomass Burning Emissions from Small Fires

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Randerson, J. T.; Chen, Y.; vanderWerf, G. R.; Rogers, B. M.; Morton, D. C.

    2012-01-01

    In several biomes, including croplands, wooded savannas, and tropical forests, many small fires occur each year that are well below the detection limit of the current generation of global burned area products derived from moderate resolution surface reflectance imagery. Although these fires often generate thermal anomalies that can be detected by satellites, their contributions to burned area and carbon fluxes have not been systematically quantified across different regions and continents. Here we developed a preliminary method for combining 1-km thermal anomalies (active fires) and 500 m burned area observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to estimate the influence of these fires. In our approach, we calculated the number of active fires inside and outside of 500 m burn scars derived from reflectance data. We estimated small fire burned area by computing the difference normalized burn ratio (dNBR) for these two sets of active fires and then combining these observations with other information. In a final step, we used the Global Fire Emissions Database version 3 (GFED3) biogeochemical model to estimate the impact of these fires on biomass burning emissions. We found that the spatial distribution of active fires and 500 m burned areas were in close agreement in ecosystems that experience large fires, including savannas across southern Africa and Australia and boreal forests in North America and Eurasia. In other areas, however, we observed many active fires outside of burned area perimeters. Fire radiative power was lower for this class of active fires. Small fires substantially increased burned area in several continental-scale regions, including Equatorial Asia (157%), Central America (143%), and Southeast Asia (90%) during 2001-2010. Globally, accounting for small fires increased total burned area by approximately by 35%, from 345 Mha/yr to 464 Mha/yr. A formal quantification of uncertainties was not possible, but sensitivity

  14. The effect of carbon credits on savanna land management and priorities for biodiversity conservation.

    PubMed

    Douglass, Lucinda L; Possingham, Hugh P; Carwardine, Josie; Klein, Carissa J; Roxburgh, Stephen H; Russell-Smith, Jeremy; Wilson, Kerrie A

    2011-01-01

    Carbon finance offers the potential to change land management and conservation planning priorities. We develop a novel approach to planning for improved land management to conserve biodiversity while utilizing potential revenue from carbon biosequestration. We apply our approach in northern Australia's tropical savanna, a region of global significance for biodiversity and carbon storage, both of which are threatened by current fire and grazing regimes. Our approach aims to identify priority locations for protecting species and vegetation communities by retaining existing vegetation and managing fire and grazing regimes at a minimum cost. We explore the impact of accounting for potential carbon revenue (using a carbon price of US$14 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent) on priority areas for conservation and the impact of explicitly protecting carbon stocks in addition to biodiversity. Our results show that improved management can potentially raise approximately US$5 per hectare per year in carbon revenue and prevent the release of 1-2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over approximately 90 years. This revenue could be used to reduce the costs of improved land management by three quarters or double the number of biodiversity targets achieved and meet carbon storage targets for the same cost. These results are based on generalised cost and carbon data; more comprehensive applications will rely on fine scale, site-specific data and a supportive policy environment. Our research illustrates that the duel objective of conserving biodiversity and reducing the release of greenhouse gases offers important opportunities for cost-effective land management investments.

  15. Herbivory and drought interact to enhance spatial patterning and diversity in a savanna understory.

    PubMed

    Porensky, Lauren M; Wittman, Sarah E; Riginos, Corinna; Young, Truman P

    2013-10-01

    The combination of abiotic stress and consumer stress can have complex impacts on plant community structure. Effective conservation and management of semi-arid ecosystems requires an understanding of how different stresses interact to structure plant communities. We explored the separate and combined impacts of episodic drought, livestock grazing, and wild ungulate herbivory on species co-occurrence and diversity patterns in a relatively productive, semi-arid Acacia savanna. Specifically, we analyzed 9 years of biannual plant community data from the Kenya long-term exclosure experiment, a broad-scale manipulative experiment that has excluded different combinations of large mammalian herbivores from 18 4-ha plots since 1995. During droughts, we observed low species diversity and random species co-occurrence patterns. However, when rain followed a major drought, areas exposed to moderate cattle grazing displayed high species diversity and evidence of significant species aggregation. These patterns were not apparent in the absence of cattle, even if other large herbivores were present. To explore possible mechanisms, we examined patterns separately for common and rare species. We found that aggregation patterns were likely driven by rare species responding similarly to the availability of open micro-sites. Our results indicate that in a productive, fire-suppressed savanna, the combination of periodic drought and moderate cattle grazing can enhance plant biodiversity and fine-scale spatial heterogeneity by opening up space for species that are otherwise rare or cryptic. Our findings also emphasize that domestic herbivores can have significantly stronger impacts on plant community dynamics than wild herbivores, even in an ecosystem with a long history of grazing.

  16. Soil microbial communities following bush removal in a Namibian savanna

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Savanna ecosystems are subject to desertification and bush encroachment, which reduce the grazing value of the land and hence the carrying capacity for wildlife and livestock. In this study we examined the soil microbial communities under bush and grass in Namibia. We analyzed the soil at a chronose...

  17. Community-Based Ecological Restoration: The Wingra Oak Savanna Project.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bader, Brian J.; Egan, Dave

    1999-01-01

    The University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum, a pioneer in ecological restoration, is involving the local community in restoring a site to its presettlement condition as an oak savanna. Besides providing the manual labor of restoration, volunteers learn about the land and the ecological processes that tie nature and culture together. A 60-hour…

  18. Disentangling How Landscape Spatial and Temporal Heterogeneity Affects Savanna Birds

    PubMed Central

    Price, Bronwyn; McAlpine, Clive A.; Kutt, Alex S.; Ward, Doug; Phinn, Stuart R.; Ludwig, John A.

    2013-01-01

    In highly seasonal tropical environments, temporal changes in habitat and resources are a significant determinant of the spatial distribution of species. This study disentangles the effects of spatial and mid to long-term temporal heterogeneity in habitat on the diversity and abundance of savanna birds by testing four competing conceptual models of varying complexity. Focussing on sites in northeast Australia over a 20 year time period, we used ground cover and foliage projected cover surfaces derived from a time series of Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery, rainfall data and site-level vegetation surveys to derive measures of habitat structure at local (1–100 ha) and landscape (100–1000s ha) scales. We used generalised linear models and an information theoretic approach to test the independent effects of spatial and temporal influences on savanna bird diversity and the abundance of eight species with different life-history behaviours. Of four competing models defining influences on assemblages of savanna birds, the most parsimonious included temporal and spatial variability in vegetation cover and site-scale vegetation structure, suggesting savanna bird species respond to spatial and temporal habitat heterogeneity at both the broader landscape scale and at the fine-scale. The relative weight, strength and direction of the explanatory variables changed with each of the eight species, reflecting their different ecology and behavioural traits. This study demonstrates that variations in the spatial pattern of savanna vegetation over periods of 10 to 20 years at the local and landscape scale strongly affect bird diversity and abundance. Thus, it is essential to monitor and manage both spatial and temporal variability in avian habitat to achieve long-term biodiversity outcomes. PMID:24066138

  19. Disentangling how landscape spatial and temporal heterogeneity affects Savanna birds.

    PubMed

    Price, Bronwyn; McAlpine, Clive A; Kutt, Alex S; Ward, Doug; Phinn, Stuart R; Ludwig, John A

    2013-01-01

    In highly seasonal tropical environments, temporal changes in habitat and resources are a significant determinant of the spatial distribution of species. This study disentangles the effects of spatial and mid to long-term temporal heterogeneity in habitat on the diversity and abundance of savanna birds by testing four competing conceptual models of varying complexity. Focussing on sites in northeast Australia over a 20 year time period, we used ground cover and foliage projected cover surfaces derived from a time series of Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery, rainfall data and site-level vegetation surveys to derive measures of habitat structure at local (1-100 ha) and landscape (100-1000s ha) scales. We used generalised linear models and an information theoretic approach to test the independent effects of spatial and temporal influences on savanna bird diversity and the abundance of eight species with different life-history behaviours. Of four competing models defining influences on assemblages of savanna birds, the most parsimonious included temporal and spatial variability in vegetation cover and site-scale vegetation structure, suggesting savanna bird species respond to spatial and temporal habitat heterogeneity at both the broader landscape scale and at the fine-scale. The relative weight, strength and direction of the explanatory variables changed with each of the eight species, reflecting their different ecology and behavioural traits. This study demonstrates that variations in the spatial pattern of savanna vegetation over periods of 10 to 20 years at the local and landscape scale strongly affect bird diversity and abundance. Thus, it is essential to monitor and manage both spatial and temporal variability in avian habitat to achieve long-term biodiversity outcomes.

  20. Fire history of Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve, southern Florida

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith, Thomas J.; Foster, Ann M.; Jones, John W.

    2015-01-01

    Fire has been used as a management tool in various ecosystems around the world. Prairies, grasslands, and savannas are fire-maintained ecosystems where fire is used to deter invasion by shrubs and trees (Grant and others, 2009; Scheintaub and others, 2009). Similarly, fire plays an important role in woodlands and forests by influencing species composition and succession such, as the use of fire in coniferous forests to prevent encroachment by hardwoods (Phillippe and others, 2011). Fire also has been used to manage wetland ecosystems for more than 50 years (Lynch, 1941; Frost, 1995). Uses have included returning marshes to early successional states, increasing forage for wildlife (Lynch, 1941). In all fire-influenced ecosystems, prescribed burns are routinely used to reduce fuel loads, reducing the possibility of catastrophic fires.

  1. Future changes in climatic water balance determine potential for transformational shifts in Australian fire regimes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boer, Matthias M.; Bowman, David M. J. S.; Murphy, Brett P.; Cary, Geoffrey J.; Cochrane, Mark A.; Fensham, Roderick J.; Krawchuk, Meg A.; Price, Owen F.; Resco De Dios, Víctor; Williams, Richard J.; Bradstock, Ross A.

    2016-06-01

    Most studies of climate change effects on fire regimes assume a gradual reorganization of pyrogeographic patterns and have not considered the potential for transformational changes in the climate-vegetation-fire relationships underlying continental-scale fire regimes. Here, we model current fire activity levels in Australia as a function of mean annual actual evapotranspiration (E) and potential evapotranspiration (E 0), as proxies for fuel productivity and fuel drying potential. We distinguish two domains in E,{E}0 space according to the dominant constraint on fire activity being either fuel productivity (PL-type fire) or fuel dryness (DL-type fire) and show that the affinity to these domains is related to fuel type. We propose to assess the potential for transformational shifts in fire type from the difference in the affinity to either domain under a baseline climate and projected future climate. Under the projected climate changes potential for a transformational shift from DL- to PL-type fire was predicted for mesic savanna woodland in the north and for eucalypt forests in coastal areas of the south-west and along the Continental Divide in the south-east of the continent. Potential for a shift from PL- to DL-type fire was predicted for a narrow zone of eucalypt savanna woodland in the north-east.

  2. Effects of Precommercial Thinning and Midstory Control on Avian and Small Mammal Communities during Longleaf Pine Savanna Restoration.

    SciTech Connect

    Lane, Vanessa R; Kilgo, John C

    2015-01-01

    Abstract - Restoring longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) savanna is a goal of many southern land managers, and longleaf plantations may provide a mechanism for savanna restoration. However, the effects of silvicultural treatments used in the management of longleaf pine plantations on wildlife communities are relatively unknown. Beginning in 1994, we examined effects of longleaf pine restoration with plantation silviculture on avian and small mammal communities using four treatments in four 8- to 11- year-old plantations within the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. Treatments included prescribed burning every 3 to 5 years, plus: (1) no additional treatment (burn-only control); (2) precommercial thinning; (3) non-pine woody control with herbicides; and (4) combined thinning and woody control. We surveyed birds (1996-2003) using 50-m point counts and small mammals with removal trapping. Thinning and woody control alone had short-lived effects on avian communities, and the combination treatment increased avian parameters over the burn-only control in all years. Small mammal abundance showed similar trends as avian abundance for all three treatments when compared with the burn-only control, but only for 2 years post-treatment. Both avian and small mammal communities were temporarily enhanced by controlling woody vegetation with chemicals in addition to prescribed fire and thinning. Therefore, precommercial thinning in longleaf plantations, particularly when combined with woody control and prescribed fire, may benefit early-successional avian and small mammal communities by developing stand conditions more typical of natural longleaf stands maintained by periodic fire.

  3. Mapping Fire Scars in the Brazilian Cerrado Using AVHRR Imagery

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hlavka, C. A.; Ambrosia, V. G.; Brass, J. A.; Rezendez, A.; Alexander, S.; Guild, L. S.; Peterson, David L. (Technical Monitor)

    1995-01-01

    The Brazilian cerrado, or savanna, spans an area of 1,800,000 square kilometers on the great plateau of Central Brazil. Large fires covering hundreds of square kilometers, frequently occur in wildland areas of the cerrado, dominated by grasslands or grasslands mixed with shrubs and small trees, and also within area in the cerrado used for agricultural purposes, particularly for grazing. Smaller fires, typically extending over arm of a few square kilometers or less, are associated with the clewing of crops, such as dry land rice. A method for mapping fire scars and differentiating them from extensive areas of bare sod with AVHRR bands 1 (.55 -.68 micrometer) and 3 (3.5 - 3.9 micrometers) and measures of performance based on comparison with maps of fires with Landsat imagery will be presented. Methods of estimating total area burned from the AVHRR fire scar map will be discussed and related to land use and scar size.

  4. Grassland structural heterogeneity in a savanna is driven more by productivity differences than by consumption differences between lawn and bunch grasses.

    PubMed

    Veldhuis, Michiel P; Fakkert, Heleen F; Berg, Matty P; Olff, Han

    2016-11-01

    Savanna grasslands are characterized by high spatial heterogeneity in vegetation structure, aboveground biomass and nutritional quality, with high quality short-grass grazing lawns forming mosaics with patches of tall bunch grasses of lower quality. This heterogeneity can arise because of local differences in consumption, because of differences in productivity, or because both processes enforce each other (more production and consumption). However, the relative importance of both processes in maintaining mosaics of lawn and bunch grassland types has not been measured. Also their interplay been not been assessed across landscape gradients. In a South African savanna, we, therefore, measured the seasonal changes in primary production, nutritional quality and herbivore consumption (amount and percentage) of grazing lawns and adjacent bunch grass patches across a rainfall gradient. We found both higher amounts of primary production and, to a smaller extent, consumption for bunch grass patches. In addition, for bunch grasses primary production increased towards higher rainfall while foliar nitrogen concentrations decreased. Foliar nitrogen concentrations of lawn grasses decreased much less with increasing rainfall. Consequently, large herbivores targeted the biomass produced on grazing lawns with on average 75 % of the produced biomass consumed. We conclude that heterogeneity in vegetation structure in this savanna ecosystem is better explained by small-scale differences in productivity between lawn and bunch grass vegetation types than by local differences in consumption rates. Nevertheless, the high nutritional quality of grazing lawns is highly attractive and, therefore, important for the maintenance of the heterogeneity in species composition (i.e. grazing lawn maintenance).

  5. Evaporation over a Heterogeneous Mixed Savanna-Agricultural Catchment using a Distributed Wireless Sensor Network

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ceperley, N. C.; Mande, T.; Barrenetxea, G.; Vetterli, M.; Yacouba, H.; Repetti, A.; Parlange, M. B.

    2010-12-01

    Small scale rain fed agriculture is the primary livelihood for a large part of the population of Burkina Faso. Regional climate change means that this population is becoming increasingly vulnerable. Additionally, as natural savanna is converted for agriculture, hydrological systems are observed to become less stable as infiltration is decreased and rapid runoff is increased to the detriment of crop productivity, downstream populations and local water sources. The majority of the Singou River Basin, located in South East Burkina Faso is managed by hunting reserves, geared to maintaining high populations of wild game; however, residents surrounding the protected areas have been forced to intensify agriculture that has resulted in soil degradation as well as increases in the frequency and severity of flooding and droughts. Agroforestry, or planting trees in cultivated fields, has been proposed as a solution to help buffer these negative consequences, however the specific hydrologic behavior of the watershed land cover is unknown. We have installed a distributed sensor network of 17 Sensorscope wireless meteorological stations. These stations are dispersed across cultivated rice and millet fields, natural savanna, fallow fields, and around agroforestry fields. Sensorscope routes data through the network of stations to be delivered by a GPRS connection to a main server. This multi hop network allows data to be gathered over a large area and quickly adapts to changes in station performance. Data are available in real time via a website that can be accessed by a mobile phone. The stations are powered autonomously by small photovoltaic panels. This deployment is the first time that these meteorological stations have been used on the African continent. Initial calibration with measures from 2 eddy covariance stations allows us to calculate the energy balance at each of the Sensorscope stations. Thus, we can observe variation in evaporation over the various land cover in the

  6. Fighting Fire with Fire.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Spoor, Dana L.

    1996-01-01

    School districts are integrating security and life-safety systems into school buildings to protect students and property. This proactive approach includes sprinkler systems, fire alarms, and security systems that monitor door movement. Some school districts that are incorporating the latest life-safety technology are in Missouri, Ohio, California,…

  7. Multilocus phylogeography of a widespread savanna-woodland-adapted rodent reveals the influence of Pleistocene geomorphology and climate change in Africa's Zambezi region.

    PubMed

    McDonough, Molly M; Šumbera, Radim; Mazoch, Vladimír; Ferguson, Adam W; Phillips, Caleb D; Bryja, Josef

    2015-10-01

    Understanding historical influences of climate and physiographic barriers in shaping patterns of biodiversity remains limited for many regions of the world. For mammals of continental Africa, phylogeographic studies, particularly for West African lineages, implicate both geographic barriers and climate oscillations in shaping small mammal diversity. In contrast, studies for southern African species have revealed conflicting phylogenetic patterns for how mammalian lineages respond to both climate change and geologic events such as river formation, especially during the Pleistocene. However, these studies were often biased by limited geographic sampling or exclusively focused on large-bodied taxa. We exploited the broad southern African distribution of a savanna-woodland-adapted African rodent, Gerbilliscus leucogaster (bushveld gerbil) and generated mitochondrial, autosomal and sex chromosome data to quantify regional signatures of climatic and vicariant biogeographic phenomena. Results indicate the most recent common ancestor for all G. leucogaster lineages occurred during the early Pleistocene. We documented six divergent mitochondrial lineages that diverged ~0.270-0.100 mya, each of which was geographically isolated during periods characterized by alterations to the course of the Zambezi River and its tributaries as well as regional 'megadroughts'. Results demonstrate the presence of a widespread lineage exhibiting demographic expansion ~0.065-0.035 mya, a time that coincides with savanna-woodland expansion across southern Africa. A multilocus autosomal perspective revealed the influence of the Kafue River as a current barrier to gene flow and regions of secondary contact among divergent mitochondrial lineages. Our results demonstrate the importance of both climatic fluctuations and physiographic vicariance in shaping the distribution of southern African biodiversity.

  8. Reconciling apparent conflicts between mitochondrial and nuclear phylogenies in African elephants.

    PubMed

    Ishida, Yasuko; Oleksyk, Taras K; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; David, Victor A; Zhao, Kai; Stephens, Robert M; Kolokotronis, Sergios-Orestis; Roca, Alfred L

    2011-01-01

    Conservation strategies for African elephants would be advanced by resolution of conflicting claims that they comprise one, two, three or four taxonomic groups, and by development of genetic markers that establish more incisively the provenance of confiscated ivory. We addressed these related issues by genotyping 555 elephants from across Africa with microsatellite markers, developing a method to identify those loci most effective at geographic assignment of elephants (or their ivory), and conducting novel analyses of continent-wide datasets of mitochondrial DNA. Results showed that nuclear genetic diversity was partitioned into two clusters, corresponding to African forest elephants (99.5% Cluster-1) and African savanna elephants (99.4% Cluster-2). Hybrid individuals were rare. In a comparison of basal forest "F" and savanna "S" mtDNA clade distributions to nuclear DNA partitions, forest elephant nuclear genotypes occurred only in populations in which S clade mtDNA was absent, suggesting that nuclear partitioning corresponds to the presence or absence of S clade mtDNA. We reanalyzed African elephant mtDNA sequences from 81 locales spanning the continent and discovered that S clade mtDNA was completely absent among elephants at all 30 sampled tropical forest locales. The distribution of savanna nuclear DNA and S clade mtDNA corresponded closely to range boundaries traditionally ascribed to the savanna elephant species based on habitat and morphology. Further, a reanalysis of nuclear genetic assignment results suggested that West African elephants do not comprise a distinct third species. Finally, we show that some DNA markers will be more useful than others for determining the geographic origins of illegal ivory. These findings resolve the apparent incongruence between mtDNA and nuclear genetic patterns that has confounded the taxonomy of African elephants, affirm the limitations of using mtDNA patterns to infer elephant systematics or population structure, and

  9. Reconciling Apparent Conflicts between Mitochondrial and Nuclear Phylogenies in African Elephants

    PubMed Central

    Georgiadis, Nicholas J.; David, Victor A.; Zhao, Kai; Stephens, Robert M.; Kolokotronis, Sergios-Orestis; Roca, Alfred L.

    2011-01-01

    Conservation strategies for African elephants would be advanced by resolution of conflicting claims that they comprise one, two, three or four taxonomic groups, and by development of genetic markers that establish more incisively the provenance of confiscated ivory. We addressed these related issues by genotyping 555 elephants from across Africa with microsatellite markers, developing a method to identify those loci most effective at geographic assignment of elephants (or their ivory), and conducting novel analyses of continent-wide datasets of mitochondrial DNA. Results showed that nuclear genetic diversity was partitioned into two clusters, corresponding to African forest elephants (99.5% Cluster-1) and African savanna elephants (99.4% Cluster-2). Hybrid individuals were rare. In a comparison of basal forest “F” and savanna “S” mtDNA clade distributions to nuclear DNA partitions, forest elephant nuclear genotypes occurred only in populations in which S clade mtDNA was absent, suggesting that nuclear partitioning corresponds to the presence or absence of S clade mtDNA. We reanalyzed African elephant mtDNA sequences from 81 locales spanning the continent and discovered that S clade mtDNA was completely absent among elephants at all 30 sampled tropical forest locales. The distribution of savanna nuclear DNA and S clade mtDNA corresponded closely to range boundaries traditionally ascribed to the savanna elephant species based on habitat and morphology. Further, a reanalysis of nuclear genetic assignment results suggested that West African elephants do not comprise a distinct third species. Finally, we show that some DNA markers will be more useful than others for determining the geographic origins of illegal ivory. These findings resolve the apparent incongruence between mtDNA and nuclear genetic patterns that has confounded the taxonomy of African elephants, affirm the limitations of using mtDNA patterns to infer elephant systematics or population structure

  10. Cyclic Occurrence of Fire and Its Role in Carbon Dynamics along an Edaphic Moisture Gradient in Longleaf Pine Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Whelan, Andrew; Mitchell, Robert; Staudhammer, Christina; Starr, Gregory

    2013-01-01

    Fire regulates the structure and function of savanna ecosystems, yet we lack understanding of how cyclic fire affects savanna carbon dynamics. Furthermore, it is largely unknown how predicted changes in climate may impact the interaction between fire and carbon cycling in these ecosystems. This study utilizes a novel combination of prescribed fire, eddy covariance (EC) and statistical techniques to investigate carbon dynamics in frequently burned longleaf pine savannas along a gradient of soil moisture availability (mesic, intermediate and xeric). This research approach allowed us to investigate the complex interactions between carbon exchange and cyclic fire along the ecological amplitude of longleaf pine. Over three years of EC measurement of net ecosystem exchange (NEE) show that the mesic site was a net carbon sink (NEE = −2.48 tonnes C ha−1), while intermediate and xeric sites were net carbon sources (NEE = 1.57 and 1.46 tonnes C ha−1, respectively), but when carbon losses due to fuel consumption were taken into account, all three sites were carbon sources (10.78, 7.95 and 9.69 tonnes C ha−1 at the mesic, intermediate and xeric sites, respectively). Nonetheless, rates of NEE returned to pre-fire levels 1–2 months following fire. Consumption of leaf area by prescribed fire was associated with reduction in NEE post-fire, and the system quickly recovered its carbon uptake capacity 30–60 days post fire. While losses due to fire affected carbon balances on short time scales (instantaneous to a few months), drought conditions over the final two years of the study were a more important driver of net carbon loss on yearly to multi-year time scales. However, longer-term observations over greater environmental variability and additional fire cycles would help to more precisely examine interactions between fire and climate and make future predictions about carbon dynamics in these systems. PMID:23335986

  11. Cyclic occurrence of fire and its role in carbon dynamics along an edaphic moisture gradient in longleaf pine ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Whelan, Andrew; Mitchell, Robert; Staudhammer, Christina; Starr, Gregory

    2013-01-01

    Fire regulates the structure and function of savanna ecosystems, yet we lack understanding of how cyclic fire affects savanna carbon dynamics. Furthermore, it is largely unknown how predicted changes in climate may impact the interaction between fire and carbon cycling in these ecosystems. This study utilizes a novel combination of prescribed fire, eddy covariance (EC) and statistical techniques to investigate carbon dynamics in frequently burned longleaf pine savannas along a gradient of soil moisture availability (mesic, intermediate and xeric). This research approach allowed us to investigate the complex interactions between carbon exchange and cyclic fire along the ecological amplitude of longleaf pine. Over three years of EC measurement of net ecosystem exchange (NEE) show that the mesic site was a net carbon sink (NEE = -2.48 tonnes C ha(-1)), while intermediate and xeric sites were net carbon sources (NEE = 1.57 and 1.46 tonnes C ha(-1), respectively), but when carbon losses due to fuel consumption were taken into account, all three sites were carbon sources (10.78, 7.95 and 9.69 tonnes C ha(-1) at the mesic, intermediate and xeric sites, respectively). Nonetheless, rates of NEE returned to pre-fire levels 1-2 months following fire. Consumption of leaf area by prescribed fire was associated with reduction in NEE post-fire, and the system quickly recovered its carbon uptake capacity 30-60 days post fire. While losses due to fire affected carbon balances on short time scales (instantaneous to a few months), drought conditions over the final two years of the study were a more important driver of net carbon loss on yearly to multi-year time scales. However, longer-term observations over greater environmental variability and additional fire cycles would help to more precisely examine interactions between fire and climate and make future predictions about carbon dynamics in these systems.

  12. Smoke and fire characteristics for cerrado and deforestation burns in Brazil: BASE-B experiment

    SciTech Connect

    Ward, D.E.; Susott, R.A.; Babbitt, R.E.; Kauffman, J.B.; Cummings, D.L.; Holben, B.N.; Kaufman, Y.J.; Dias, B.; Rasmussen, R.A.

    1992-09-20

    Fires of the tropical forests and savannas are a major source of particulate matter and trace gases affecting the atmosphere globally. A paucity of quantitative information exists for these ecosystems with respect to fuel biomass, smoke emissions, and fire behavior conditions affecting the release of emissions. Five test fires were performed during August and September 1990 in the cerrado (savannalike region) in central Brazil (three fires) and tropical moist forest (two fires) in the eastern Amazon. This paper details the gases released, the ratios of the gases to each other and to particulate matter, fuel loads and the fraction consumed (combustion factors), and the fire behavior associated with biomass consumption. Models are presented for evaluating emission factors for CH{sub 4}, CO{sub 2}, CO, H{sub 2}, and particles less than 2.5 {mu}m diameter (PM2.5) as a function of combustion efficiency. The ratio of carbon released as CO{sub 2} (combustion efficiency) for the cerrado fires averaged 0.94 and for the deforestation fires it decreased from 0.88 for the flaming phase to <0.80 during the smoldering phase of combustion. For tropical ecosystems, emissions of most products of incomplete combustion are projected to be lower than previous estimates for savanna ecosystems and somewhat higher for fires used for deforestation purposes. 59 refs., 9 figs., 10 tabs.

  13. Response of bird species densities to habitat structure and fire history along a Midwestern open-forest gradient

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grundel, R.; Pavlovic, N.B.

    2007-01-01

    Oak savannas were historically common but are currently rare in the Midwestern United States. We assessed possible associations of bird species with savannas and other threatened habitats in the region by relating fire frequency and vegetation characteristics to seasonal densities of 72 bird species distributed across an open-forest gradient in northwestern Indiana. About one-third of the species did not exhibit statistically significant relationships with any combination of seven vegetation characteristics that included vegetation cover in five vertical strata, dead tree density, and tree height. For 40% of the remaining species, models best predicting species density incorporated tree density. Therefore, management based solely on manipulating tree density may not be an adequate strategy for managing bird populations along this open-forest gradient. Few species exhibited sharp peaks in predicted density under habitat conditions expected in restored savannas, suggesting that few savanna specialists occur among Midwestern bird species. When fire frequency, measured over fifteen years, was added to vegetation characteristics as a predictor of species density, it was incorporated into models for about one-quarter of species, suggesting that fire may modify habitat characteristics in ways that are important for birds but not captured by the structural habitat variables measured. Among those species, similar numbers had peaks in predicted density at low, intermediate, or high fire frequency. For species suggested by previous studies to have a preference for oak savannas along the open-forest gradient, estimated density was maximized at an average fire return interval of about one fire every three years. ?? The Cooper Ornithological Society 2007.

  14. Evaluation of a chemical proxy for fire intensity: A potential tool for studying fire-climate feedbacks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hockaday, W. C.; White, J. D.; Von Bargen, J.; Yao, J.

    2015-12-01

    The legacy of wildfire is recorded in the geologic record, due to the stability of charcoal. Well-preserved charcoal is abundant in paleo-soils and sediments, documenting paleo-fires affecting even the earliest land plants. The dominant role of fire in shaping the biosphere is evidenced by some 40% of the land surface which is occupied by fire-prone and fire-adapted biomes: boreal forest, savanna, grassland, and Mediterranean shrubland. While fire ecologists appreciate the role that fire played in the evolution of these ecosystems, and climate scientists appreciate the role of these biomes in the regulation of Earth's climate, our understanding of the system of fire-vegetation-climate feedbacks is poor. This knowledge gap exists because we lack tools for evaluating change in fire regimes of the past for which climate proxy records exist. Fire regime is a function of fire frequency and fire intensity. Although fire frequency estimates are available from laminated sediment and tree ring records, tools for estimating paleo-fire intensity are lacking. We have recently developed a chemical proxy for fire intensity that is based upon the molecular structure of charcoal, assessed using solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The molecular dimensions of aromatic domains in charcoal increased linearly (R2 = 0.9) with the intensity (temperature x duration) of heating. Our initial field-based validation in prescribed fires shows a promising correlation (R2 = 0.7) between the proxy-based estimates and thermistor-based measurements of fire intensity. This presentation will discuss the competencies and potential limitations of this novel proxy.

  15. Fire investigation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gomberg, A.

    There was considerable progress made on several fronts of fire investigation in the United States in recent years. Progress was made in increasing the quantity of fire investigation and reporting, through efforts to develop the National Fire Incident Reporting System. Improving overall quality of fire investigation is the objective of efforts such as the Fire Investigation Handbook, which was developed and published by the National Bureau of Standards, and the upgrading and expanding of the ""dictionary'' of fire investigation and reporting, the NFPA 901, Uniform Coding for Fire Protection, system. The science of fire investigation as furthered also by new approaches to post fire interviews being developed at the University of Washington, and by in-depth research into factors involved in several large loss fires, including the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Finally, the use of special study fire investigations - in-depth investigations concentrating on specific fire problems - is producing new glimpses into the nature of the national fire problem. A brief description of the status of efforts in each of these areas is discussed.

  16. Top-down determinants of niche structure and adaptation among African Acacias.

    PubMed

    Staver, A Carla; Bond, William J; Cramer, Michael D; Wakeling, Julia L

    2012-07-01

    The role of top-down factors like herbivory and fire in structuring species' niches, even in disturbance-dependent biomes like savanna, remains poorly understood. Interactions between herbivory and fire may set up a potential tradeoff axis, along which unique adaptations contribute to structuring communities and determining species distributions. We examine the role of herbivory and fire in structuring distributions of Acacia saplings in Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park in South Africa, and the relationship of species' niche structure to traits that help them survive herbivory or fire. Results suggest that (1) fire and herbivory form a single trade-off axis, (2) Acacia sapling distributions are constrained by fire and herbivory, and (3) Acacia saplings have adaptations that are structured by the tradeoff axis. Herbivory-adapted species tend to have 'cage'-like architecture, thicker bark, and less starch storage, while fire-adapted species tend to have 'pole'-like architecture, relatively thinner bark, and more starch storage.

  17. Microbial Diversity in Cerrado Biome (Neotropical Savanna) Soils.

    PubMed

    de Castro, Alinne Pereira; Sartori da Silva, Maria Regina Silveira; Quirino, Betania Ferraz; da Cunha Bustamante, Mercedes Maria; Krüger, Ricardo Henrique

    2016-01-01

    The Cerrado, the largest savanna region in South America, is located in central Brazil. Cerrado physiognomies, which range from savanna grasslands to forest formations, combined with the highly weathered, acidic clay Cerrado soils form a unique ecoregion. In this study, high-throughput sequencing of ribosomal RNA genes was combined with shotgun metagenomic analysis to explore the taxonomic composition and potential functions of soil microbial communities in four different vegetation physiognomies during both dry and rainy seasons. Our results showed that changes in bacterial, archaeal, and fungal community structures in cerrado denso, cerrado sensu stricto, campo sujo, and gallery forest soils strongly correlated with seasonal patterns of soil water uptake. The relative abundance of AD3, WPS-2, Planctomycetes, Thermoprotei, and Glomeromycota typically decreased in the rainy season, whereas the relative abundance of Proteobacteria and Ascomycota increased. In addition, analysis of shotgun metagenomic data revealed a significant increase in the relative abundance of genes associated with iron acquisition and metabolism, dormancy, and sporulation during the dry season, and an increase in the relative abundance of genes related to respiration and DNA and protein metabolism during the rainy season. These gene functional categories are associated with adaptation to water stress. Our results further the understanding of how tropical savanna soil microbial communities may be influenced by vegetation covering and temporal variations in soil moisture.

  18. Microbial Diversity in Cerrado Biome (Neotropical Savanna) Soils

    PubMed Central

    Pereira de Castro, Alinne; Sartori da Silva, Maria Regina Silveira; Quirino, Betania Ferraz; da Cunha Bustamante, Mercedes Maria; Krüger, Ricardo Henrique

    2016-01-01

    The Cerrado, the largest savanna region in South America, is located in central Brazil. Cerrado physiognomies, which range from savanna grasslands to forest formations, combined with the highly weathered, acidic clay Cerrado soils form a unique ecoregion. In this study, high-throughput sequencing of ribosomal RNA genes was combined with shotgun metagenomic analysis to explore the taxonomic composition and potential functions of soil microbial communities in four different vegetation physiognomies during both dry and rainy seasons. Our results showed that changes in bacterial, archaeal, and fungal community structures in cerrado denso, cerrado sensu stricto, campo sujo, and gallery forest soils strongly correlated with seasonal patterns of soil water uptake. The relative abundance of AD3, WPS-2, Planctomycetes, Thermoprotei, and Glomeromycota typically decreased in the rainy season, whereas the relative abundance of Proteobacteria and Ascomycota increased. In addition, analysis of shotgun metagenomic data revealed a significant increase in the relative abundance of genes associated with iron acquisition and metabolism, dormancy, and sporulation during the dry season, and an increase in the relative abundance of genes related to respiration and DNA and protein metabolism during the rainy season. These gene functional categories are associated with adaptation to water stress. Our results further the understanding of how tropical savanna soil microbial communities may be influenced by vegetation covering and temporal variations in soil moisture. PMID:26849674

  19. Fire ants

    MedlinePlus

    ... please enable JavaScript. Fire ants are red-colored insects. A sting from a fire ant delivers a ... poison control. Those who have an allergy to insect bites or stings should carry a bee sting ...

  20. Understory Fires

    NASA Video Gallery

    The flames of understory fires in the southern Amazon reach on average only a few feet tall, but the fire type can claim anywhere from 10 to 50 percent of a burn area's trees. Credit: NASA/Doug Morton

  1. Trace gas and particle emissions from fires in large diameter and belowground biomass fuels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bertschi, Isaac; Yokelson, Robert J.; Ward, Darold E.; Babbitt, Ron E.; Susott, Ronald A.; Goode, Jon G.; Hao, Wei Min

    2003-07-01

    We adopt a working definition of residual smoldering combustion (RSC) as biomass combustion that produces emissions that are not lofted by strong fire-induced convection. RSC emissions can be produced for up to several weeks after the passage of a flame front and they are mostly unaffected by flames. Fuels prone to RSC include downed logs, duff, and organic soils. Limited observations in the tropics and the boreal forest suggest that RSC is a globally significant source of emissions to the troposphere. This source was previously uncharacterized. We measured the first emission factors (EF) for RSC in a series of laboratory fires and in a wooded savanna in Zambia, Africa. We report EFRSC for both particles with diameter <2.5 μm (PM2.5) and the major trace gases as measured by open-path Fourier transform infrared (OP-FTIR) spectroscopy. The major trace gases include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, ethane, ethene, acetylene, propene, formaldehyde, methanol, acetic acid, formic acid, glycolaldehyde, phenol, furan, ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide. We show that a model used to predict trace gas EF for fires in a wide variety of aboveground fine fuels fails to predict EF for RSC. For many compounds, our EF for RSC-prone fuels from the boreal forest and wooded savanna are very different from the EF for the same compounds measured in fire convection columns above these ecosystems. We couple our newly measured EFRSC with estimates of fuel consumption by RSC to refine emission estimates for fires in the boreal forest and wooded savanna. We find some large changes in estimates of biomass fire emissions with the inclusion of RSC. For instance, the wooded savanna methane EF increases by a factor of 2.5 even when RSC accounts for only 10% of fuel consumption. This shows that many more measurements of fuel consumption and EF for RSC are needed to improve estimates of biomass burning emissions.

  2. Cyto-nuclear genomic dissociation and the African elephant species question.

    PubMed

    Roca, Alfred L; Georgiadis, Nicholas; O'Brien, Stephen J

    2007-07-01

    Studies of skull morphology and of nuclear DNA have strongly concluded that African elephants comprise two species. Nonetheless, Debruyne (2005) has suggested a single-species model for Loxodonta based on the polyphyly of a single genetic locus, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Discordant patterns between mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers were subsequently reported in some African savanna elephant populations, further supporting a two-species model, and prompting us to re-examine here the geographic distribution of different elephant morphotypes and their relationship to nuclear and mtDNA phylogeographic patterns. We used exact tests to compare the distribution of forest elephant-typical and savanna elephant-typical characteristics across eight published datasets containing morphological, mtDNA or nuclear DNA data for African elephants. Among the elephants examined by Debruyne (2005), we found that patterns of forest vs. savanna characteristics were significantly different (p < 10(-5)) between mtDNA and morphology, suggesting the presence of cyto-nuclear genomic dissociation. We show that the eight African elephant continent-wide datasets compared, including that of Debruyne (2005), together support a two-species model with cyto-nuclear genomic dissociation rather than a one-species model, and together indicate that Africa harbors two species of elephant.

  3. Tree and stand transpiration in a Midwestern bur oak savanna after elm encroachment and restoration thinning

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Asbjornsen, H.; Tomer, M.D.; Gomez-Cardenas, M.; Brudvig, L.A.; Greenan, C.M.; Schilling, K.

    2007-01-01

    Oak savannas, once common in the Midwest, are now isolated remnants within agricultural landscapes. Savanna remnants are frequently encroached by invasive trees to become woodlands. Thinning and prescribed burning can restore savanna structure, but the ecohydrological effects of managing these remnants are poorly understood. In this study, we measured sap flow (Js) to quantify transpiration in an Iowa bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) savanna woodland encroached by elms (Ulmus americana), and in an adjacent restored savanna after thinning to remove elms, during summer 2004. Savanna oaks had greater mean daily Js (35.9 L dm-2 day-1) than woodland oaks (20.7 L dm-2 day-1) and elms (12.4 L dm-2 day-1). The response of Js to vapor pressure deficit (D) was unexpectedly weak, although oaks in both stands showed negative correlation between daily Js and D for D > 0.4 kPa. An earlier daily peak in Js in the elm trees showed a possible advantage for water uptake. As anticipated, the woodland's stand transpiration was greater (1.23 mm day-1) than the savanna's (0.35 mm day-1), yet the savanna achieved 30% of the woodland's transpiration with only 11% of its sapwood area. The difference in transpiration influenced water table depths, which were 2 m in the savanna and 6.5 m in the woodland. Regionally, row-crop agriculture has increased groundwater recharge and raised water tables, providing surplus water that perhaps facilitated elm encroachment. This has implications for restoration of savanna remnants. If achieving a savanna ecohydrology is an aim of restoration, then restoration strategies may require buffers, or targeting of large or hydrologically isolated remnants. ?? 2007.

  4. The global distribution of ecosystems in a world without fire.

    PubMed

    Bond, W J; Woodward, F I; Midgley, G F

    2005-02-01

    This paper is the first global study of the extent to which fire determines global vegetation patterns by preventing ecosystems from achieving the potential height, biomass and dominant functional types expected under the ambient climate (climate potential). To determine climate potential, we simulated vegetation without fire using a dynamic global-vegetation model. Model results were tested against fire exclusion studies from different parts of the world. Simulated dominant growth forms and tree cover were compared with satellite-derived land- and tree-cover maps. Simulations were generally consistent with results of fire exclusion studies in southern Africa and elsewhere. Comparison of global 'fire off' simulations with landcover and treecover maps show that vast areas of humid C(4) grasslands and savannas, especially in South America and Africa, have the climate potential to form forests. These are the most frequently burnt ecosystems in the world. Without fire, closed forests would double from 27% to 56% of vegetated grid cells, mostly at the expense of C(4) plants but also of C(3) shrubs and grasses in cooler climates. C(4) grasses began spreading 6-8 Ma, long before human influence on fire regimes. Our results suggest that fire was a major factor in their spread into forested regions, splitting biotas into fire tolerant and intolerant taxa.

  5. Genesis of an oak-fire science consortium

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grabner, K.W.; Stambaugh, M. C.; Guyette, R.P.; Dey, D. C.; Willson, G.D.; Dey, D. C.; Stambaugh, M. C.; Clark, S.L.; Schweitzer, C. J.

    2012-01-01

    With respect to fire management and practices, one of the most overlooked regions lies in the middle of the country. In this region there is a critical need for both recognition of fire’s importance and sharing of fire information and expertise. Recently we proposed and were awarded funding by the Joint Fire Science Program to initiate the planning phase for a regional fire consortium. The purpose of the consortium will be to promote the dissemination of fire information across the interior United States and to identify fire information needs of oak-dominated communities such as woodlands, forests, savannas, and barrens. Geographically, the consortium region will cover: 1) the Interior Lowland Plateau Ecoregion in Illinois, Indiana, central Kentucky and Tennessee; 2) the Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma Ozarks; 3) the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma; and 4) the Cross Timbers Region in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. This region coincides with the southwestern half of the Central Hardwoods Forest Region. The tasks of this consortium will be to disseminate fire information, connect fire professionals, and efficiently address fire issues within our region. If supported, the success and the future direction of the consortium will be driven by end-users, their input, and involvement.

  6. The Effect of Carbon Credits on Savanna Land Management and Priorities for Biodiversity Conservation

    PubMed Central

    Douglass, Lucinda L.; Possingham, Hugh P.; Carwardine, Josie; Klein, Carissa J.; Roxburgh, Stephen H.; Russell-Smith, Jeremy; Wilson, Kerrie A.

    2011-01-01

    Carbon finance offers the potential to change land management and conservation planning priorities. We develop a novel approach to planning for improved land management to conserve biodiversity while utilizing potential revenue from carbon biosequestration. We apply our approach in northern Australia's tropical savanna, a region of global significance for biodiversity and carbon storage, both of which are threatened by current fire and grazing regimes. Our approach aims to identify priority locations for protecting species and vegetation communities by retaining existing vegetation and managing fire and grazing regimes at a minimum cost. We explore the impact of accounting for potential carbon revenue (using a carbon price of US$14 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent) on priority areas for conservation and the impact of explicitly protecting carbon stocks in addition to biodiversity. Our results show that improved management can potentially raise approximately US$5 per hectare per year in carbon revenue and prevent the release of 1–2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over approximately 90 years. This revenue could be used to reduce the costs of improved land management by three quarters or double the number of biodiversity targets achieved and meet carbon storage targets for the same cost. These results are based on generalised cost and carbon data; more comprehensive applications will rely on fine scale, site-specific data and a supportive policy environment. Our research illustrates that the duel objective of conserving biodiversity and reducing the release of greenhouse gases offers important opportunities for cost-effective land management investments. PMID:21935363

  7. Spatially-Explicit Estimates of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fire and Land-Use Change in the Brazilian Cerrado

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Galford, G. L.; Spera, S. A.; Coe, M. T.; Costa, C., Jr.

    2014-12-01

    Understanding the multiple types of land-use changes that can occur within an ecosystem provides a comprehensive picture of the human's impact on natural systems. We use the Cerrado (savanna) of Brazil to examine the primary and secondary impacts of land-use change on greenhouse gas emissions. The primary land-use changes include fires for land-clearing, conversions to pasture and row-crop agriculture, and shifting management practices of agricultural lands. Secondary land-use changes include savanna degradation due to fires that escape from intended burn areas. These escape fires typically have a lower combustion completion coefficient than clearing fires, so it is important to distinguish them to correctly estimate the regional greenhouse gas budget. We have created a first-order spatio-temporal model of greenhouse gas emissions that can be easily modified for other savanna regions using globally available data products as inputs. Our data inputs are derived from publically available remote sensing imagery. Initial biomass is estimated by Baccini et al. 2012, which is derived from LiDAR and MODIS imagery. All other input data sets give annual estimates. Clearing of the savanna is documented by LAPIG of Universidade Federal de Goias using MODIS (MOD13Q1), LANDSAT and CBERS images. MODIS burned area products delineate annual fires; in combination with the savanna clearing database we determine primary and escape fires. Pastures and row-crop agriculture are documented by LAPIG and Spera et al. 2014, respectively. The row-crop agriculture dataset enables us to estimate greenhouse gas emissions associated with specific crops (e.g., soy or maize) and management (e.g., fertilizer use). Recent contributions to the literature have provided many in situ measurements from the land-use changes of interest needed to estimate a regional greenhouse gas budget, including combustion coefficients of savanna sub-types, carbon emission soil stocks, nitrogen emissions from fertilizer

  8. Emissions from forest fires near Mexico City

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yokelson, R.; Urbanski, S.; Atlas, E.; Toohey, D.; Alvarado, E.; Crounse, J.; Wennberg, P.; Fisher, M.; Wold, C.; Campos, T.; Adachi, K.; Buseck, P. R.; Hao, W. M.

    2007-05-01

    The emissions of NOx and HCN (per unit amount of fuel burned) from fires in the pine-savannas that dominate the mountains surrounding Mexico City (MC) are about 2 times higher than normally observed for forest burning. The NH3 emissions are about average for forest burning. The NOx/VOC mass ratio for the MC-area mountain fires was ~0.38, which is similar to the NOx/VOC ratio in the MC urban area emissions inventory of 0.43, but much larger than the NOx/VOC ratio for tropical forest fires in Brazil (~0.068). The nitrogen enrichment in the fire emissions may be due to deposition of nitrogen-containing pollutants in the outflow from the MC urban area. This effect may occur worldwide wherever biomass burning coexists with large urban areas (e.g. the tropics, southeastern US, Los Angeles Basin). The molar emission ratio HCN/CO for the mountain fires was ~0.0128±0.0096: 2-9 times higher than widely used literature values for biomass burning. The MC-area/downwind molar ratio of HCN/CO is about 0.003±0.0003. Thus, if other types of biomass burning are relatively insignificant, the mountain fires may be contributing about 23% of the CO production in the MC-area (~98-100 W and 19-20 N). Comparing the PM10/CO mass ratio in the MC Metropolitan Area emission inventory (0.011) to the PM1/CO mass ratio for the mountain fires (0.133) then suggests that these fires could produce as much as ~78% of the fine particle mass generated in the MC-area.

  9. Brazil Fire Characterization and Burn Area Estimation Using the Airborne Infrared Disaster Assessment (AIRDAS) System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brass, J. A.; Riggan, P. J.; Ambrosia, V. G.; Lockwood, R. N.; Pereira, J. A.; Higgins, R. G.; Peterson, David L. (Technical Monitor)

    1995-01-01

    Remotely sensed estimations of regional and global emissions from biomass combustion have been used to characterize fire behavior, determine fire intensity, and estimate burn area. Highly temporal, low resolution satellite data have been used to calculate estimates of fire numbers and area burned. These estimates of fire activity and burned area have differed dramatically, resulting in a wide range of predictions on the ecological and environmental impacts of fires. As part of the Brazil/United States Fire Initiative, an aircraft campaign was initiated in 1992 and continued in 1994. This multi-aircraft campaign was designed to assist in the characterization of fire activity, document fire intensity and determine area burned over prescribed, agricultural and wildland fires in the savanna and forests of central Brazil. Using a unique, multispectral scanner (AIRDAS), designed specifically for fire characterization, a variety of fires and burned areas were flown with a high spatial and high thermal resolution scanner. The system was used to measure flame front size, rate of spread, ratio of smoldering to flaming fronts and fire intensity. In addition, long transects were flown to determine the size of burned areas within the cerrado and transitional ecosystems. The authors anticipate that the fire activity and burned area estimates reported here will lead to enhanced information for precise regional trace gas prediction.

  10. Comparison of Infiltrability Measurements in the Thornbush Savanna, Namibia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Classen, Nikolaus; Gröngröft, Alexander; Eschenbach, Annette

    2010-05-01

    Large proportions of Namibian Savannas are affected by strong bush encroachment leading to a reduction in grazing capacity. Especially woody plant encroachment is expected to have an impact on hydrology by increasing plant transpiration, bare soil evaporation and reducing soil water availability (HUXMAN et al. 2005). Although the processes are not fully understood, the role of soil water balance is highlighted by many studies. Especially the small-scale interactions of vegetation and soil are of high relevance. To characterize the water balance of different sites in the Namibian thornbush savanna long-term studies were conducted. In addition we applied three methods to quantify the infiltration rate (IR) at four central Namibian thornbush savanna sites differing in soil texture and vegetation type: a single ring (own construction, 14 cm inner diameter), a disc-infiltrometer (Eijkelkamp Agrisearch Equipment BV) and a hood infiltrometer (UGT Umwelt-Geräte-Technik GmbH). At each site, the measurements we conducted along short transect lines (15 m) in positions with differing plant influence (canopy of Acacia trees and shrubs, grass and dwarf-shrub tussocks, bare soil, termitaria). All three methods resulted in different mean IR as well as spatial distribution patterns. Using statistical analysis by ANOVA, dominant controlling variables were elaborated. The poster will demonstrate which of the methods is defensible with respect to the research question. References : HUXMAN, T. E., B. P. WILCOX, et al. (2005): Ecohydrological implications of woody plant encroachment. Ecology 86(2): 308-319. Acknowledgment: The work was founded by BMBF within the Project Biota South (support code 01LC 0624 A2).

  11. Mapping Brazilian savanna vegetation gradients with Landsat time series

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schwieder, Marcel; Leitão, Pedro J.; da Cunha Bustamante, Mercedes Maria; Ferreira, Laerte Guimarães; Rabe, Andreas; Hostert, Patrick

    2016-10-01

    Global change has tremendous impacts on savanna systems around the world. Processes related to climate change or agricultural expansion threaten the ecosystem's state, function and the services it provides. A prominent example is the Brazilian Cerrado that has an extent of around 2 million km2 and features high biodiversity with many endemic species. It is characterized by landscape patterns from open grasslands to dense forests, defining a heterogeneous gradient in vegetation structure throughout the biome. While it is undisputed that the Cerrado provides a multitude of valuable ecosystem services, it is exposed to changes, e.g. through large scale land conversions or climatic changes. Monitoring of the Cerrado is thus urgently needed to assess the state of the system as well as to analyze and further understand ecosystem responses and adaptations to ongoing changes. Therefore we explored the potential of dense Landsat time series to derive phenological information for mapping vegetation gradients in the Cerrado. Frequent data gaps, e.g. due to cloud contamination, impose a serious challenge for such time series analyses. We synthetically filled data gaps based on Radial Basis Function convolution filters to derive continuous pixel-wise temporal profiles capable of representing Land Surface Phenology (LSP). Derived phenological parameters revealed differences in the seasonal cycle between the main Cerrado physiognomies and could thus be used to calibrate a Support Vector Classification model to map their spatial distribution. Our results show that it is possible to map the main spatial patterns of the observed physiognomies based on their phenological differences, whereat inaccuracies occurred especially between similar classes and data-scarce areas. The outcome emphasizes the need for remote sensing based time series analyses at fine scales. Mapping heterogeneous ecosystems such as savannas requires spatial detail, as well as the ability to derive important

  12. Mesoscale Modeling of Smoke Particles Distribution and Their Radiative Feedback over Northern Sub-Saharan African Region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yue, Y.; Wang, J.; Ichoku, C. M.; Ellison, L.

    2015-12-01

    Stretching from southern boundary of Sahara to the equator and expanding west to east from Atlantic Ocean coasts to the India Ocean coasts, the northern sub-Saharan African (NSSA) region has been subject to intense biomass burning. Comprised of savanna, shrub, tropical forest and a number of agricultural crops, the extensive fires burn belt covers central and south of NSSA during dry season (from October to March) contributes to one of the highest biomass burning rate per km2 in the world. Due to smoke particles' absorption effects of solar radiation, they can modify the surface and atmosphere temperature and thus change atmospheric stability, height of the boundary layer, regional atmospheric circulation, evaporation rate, cloud formation, and precipitation. Hence, smoke particles emitted from biomass burning over NSSA region has a significant influence to the air quality, weather and climate variability. In this study, the first version of this Fire Energetics and Emissions Research (FEER.v1) emissions of several smoke constituents including light-absorbing organic carbon (OC) and black carbon (BC) are applied to a state-of-science meteorology-chemistry model as NOAA Weather Research and Forecasting Model with Chemistry (WRF-Chem). We analyzed WRF-Chem simulations of surface and vertical distribution of various pollutants and their direct radiative effects in conjunction with satellite observation data from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Cloud-Aerosol Lidar data with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIPSO) to strengthen the importance of combining space measured emission products like FEER.v1 emission inventory with mesoscale model over intense biomass burning region, especially in area where ground-based air-quality and radiation-related observations are limited or absent.

  13. Fire clay

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Virta, R.L.

    2011-01-01

    The article discusses the latest developments in the fire clay industry, particularly in the U.S., as of June 2011. It claims that the leading fire clay producer in the U.S. is the state of Missouri. The other major producers include California, Texas and Washington. It reports that the use of heavy clay products made of fire clay like brick, cement and lightweight aggregate has increased slightly in 2010.

  14. Fire clay

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Virta, R.L.

    2006-01-01

    In 2005, six companies mined fire clay in Missouri, Ohio and South Carolina. Production was estimate to be 300 kt with a value of $8.3 million. Missouri was the leading producer state followed by Ohio and South Carolina. For the third consecutive year, sales and use of fire clays have been relatively unchanged. For the next few years, sales of fire clay is forecasted to remain around 300 kt/a.

  15. Fire clay

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Virta, R.L.

    2013-01-01

    Four companies mined fire clay in three states in 2012. Production, based on a preliminary survey of the fire clay industry, was estimated to be 230 kt (254,000 st) valued at $6.98 million, an increase from 215 kt (237,000 st) valued at $6.15 million in 2011. Missouri was the leading producing state, followed by Colorado and Texas, in decreasing order by quantity. The number of companies mining fire clay declined in 2012 because several common clay producers that occasionally mine fire clay indicated that they did not do so in 2012.

  16. Community owned solutions for fire management in tropical ecosystems: case studies from Indigenous communities of South America.

    PubMed

    Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Bilbao, Bibiana A; Berardi, Andrea

    2016-06-05

    Fire plays an increasingly significant role in tropical forest and savanna ecosystems, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and impacting on biodiversity. Emerging research shows the potential role of Indigenous land-use practices for controlling deforestation and reducing CO2 emissions. Analysis of satellite imagery suggests that Indigenous lands have the lowest incidence of wildfires, significantly contributing to maintaining carbon stocks and enhancing biodiversity. Yet acknowledgement of Indigenous peoples' role in fire management and control is limited, and in many cases dismissed, especially in policy-making circles. In this paper, we review existing data on Indigenous fire management and impact, focusing on examples from tropical forest and savanna ecosystems in Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana. We highlight how the complexities of community owned solutions for fire management are being lost as well as undermined by continued efforts on fire suppression and firefighting, and emerging approaches to incorporate Indigenous fire management into market- and incentive-based mechanisms for climate change mitigation. Our aim is to build a case for supporting Indigenous fire practices within all scales of decision-making by strengthening Indigenous knowledge systems to ensure more effective and sustainable fire management.This article is part of the themed issue 'The interaction of fire and mankind'.

  17. Using ground- and satellite-based measurements and models to quantify response to multiple disturbances and climate change in South African semi-arid ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Falge, Eva; Brümmer, Christian; Schmullius, Christiane; Scholes, Robert; Twine, Wayne; Mudau, Azwitamisi; Midgley, Guy; Hickler, Thomas; Bradshaw, Karen; Lück, Wolfgang; Thiel-Clemen, Thomas; du Toit, Justin; Sankaran, Vaith; Kutsch, Werner

    2016-04-01

    Sub-Saharan Africa currently experiences significant changes in shrubland, savanna and mixed woodland ecosystems driving degradation, affecting fire frequency and water availability, and eventually fueling climate change. The project 'Adaptive Resilience of Southern African Ecosystems' (ARS AfricaE) conducts research and develops scenarios of ecosystem development under climate change, for management support in conservation or for planning rural area development. For a network of research clusters along an aridity gradient in South Africa, we measure greenhouse gas exchange, ecosystem structure and eco-physiological properties as affected by land use change at paired sites with natural and altered vegetation. We set up dynamic vegetation models and individual-based models to predict ecosystem dynamics under (post) disturbance managements. We monitor vegetation amount and heterogeneity using remotely sensed images and aerial photography over several decades to examine time series of land cover change. Finally, we investigate livelihood strategies with focus on carbon balance components to develop sustainable management strategies for disturbed ecosystems and land use change. Emphasis is given on validation of estimates obtained from eddy covariance, model approaches and satellite derivations. We envision our methodological approach on a network of research clusters a valuable means to investigate potential linkages to concepts of adaptive resilience.

  18. Evaluating channel morphology in small watersheds of oak savannas Southeastern New Mexico, USA: Do seasonal prescribed burn treatments have a significant impact on sediment processes?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koestner, Karen; Neary, Daniel; Gottfried, Gerald; Tecle, Aregai

    2010-05-01

    Oak-savannas comprise over 80,000 km2 of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. However, there is a paucity of data to assist in the management of this vast ecotype. Fire, which was once the most important natural disturbance in this system, has been excluded due to over-grazing and fire suppression practices. This has resulted in ecosystem changes and fuel accumulations. Prescribed fire is one management technique to restore natural processes within southwestern oak-savannas by reducing woody species density, increasing herbaceous plant production, and creating vegetative mosaics on the landscape. However, questions concerning the seasonality of burn treatments and the overall effects of these treatments on physical and ecological processes need to be addressed prior to broad management application. The Cascabel Watershed Study is a collaborative effort between multiple government agencies, universities, local land managers, and environmental interest groups to evaluate the impacts of warm and cool season burn treatments on an array of ecosystem processes. Established in 2000, the Cascabel Watershed study takes an "ecosystem approach" to watershed research by examining an array of physical and biological components, including geomorphologic, climatologic, hydrologic, and biologic (flora and fauna) data to determine ecosystem response to prescribed fire. The 182.6 ha study area is located in the eastern Peloncillo Mountains, New Mexico at about the 1,640 m elevation. It consists of 12 small watersheds dominated by an oak (Quercus spp.) overstory and bunch-grass (Bouteloua spp.), savanna component. The parent material is fine-grained Tertiary rhyolite that is part of an extensive lava field that was formed about 25 to 27 M ybp. A US Forest Service soil survey in the area classified 45% of the soils as Typic Haplustolls, coarse-loamy, mixed, mesic, 25% as Typic Haplustalfs, and 15% rock outcrops. Here, we evaluate within-channel processes to establish

  19. Abandoned pastoral settlements provide concentrations of resources for savanna birds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Söderström, Bo; Reid, Robin S.

    2010-03-01

    Knowledge is poor of how fertilization affects birds in grasslands. We investigated the impact on birds of abandoned pastoral settlements that historically received very high levels of livestock dung. A total of 28 abandoned settlements and 74 landscape controls - in Koyake Group Ranch and Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya - were surveyed for birds during the wet and/or dry season. Our results showed that bird species richness and total abundance increased within 200 m of abandoned pastoral settlements, particularly during the dry season when foraging resources on the savanna are limited. The high concentrations of nutrients inside abandoned settlements favoured the abundance of Diptera and Coleoptera, as shown by invertebrate surveys performed during the dry season on a subset of 32 sites. Both total numbers and dry biomass of these two invertebrate orders were higher on abandoned settlements in comparison with the surrounding landscape. We conclude that higher fertilization levels cause a temporal and spatial redistribution of birds on the savanna. Livestock fertilization and bird abundance are probably linked through an increase in abundance of invertebrate food upon which birds feed in an opportunistic fashion.

  20. Ant plant herbivore interactions in the neotropical cerrado savanna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oliveira, Paulo S.; Freitas, André V. L.

    2004-12-01

    The Brazilian cerrado savanna covers nearly 2 million km2 and has a high incidence on foliage of various liquid food sources such as extrafloral nectar and insect exudates. These liquid rewards generate intense ant activity on cerrado foliage, making ant plant herbivore interactions especially prevalent in this biome. We present data on the distribution and abundance of extrafloral nectaries in the woody flora of cerrado communities and in the flora of other habitats worldwide, and stress the relevance of liquid food sources (including hemipteran honeydew) for the ant fauna. Consumption by ants of plant and insect exudates significantly affects the activity of the associated herbivores of cerrado plant species, with varying impacts on the reproductive output of the plants. Experiments with an ant plant butterfly system unequivocally demonstrate that the behavior of both immature and adult lepidopterans is closely related to the use of a risky host plant, where intensive visitation by ants can have a severe impact on caterpillar survival. We discuss recent evidence suggesting that the occurrence of liquid rewards on leaves plays a key role in mediating the foraging ecology of foliage-dwelling ants, and that facultative ant plant mutualisms are important in structuring the community of canopy arthropods. Ant-mediated effects on cerrado herbivore communities can be revealed by experiments performed on wide spatial scales, including many environmental factors such as soil fertility and vegetation structure. We also present some research questions that could be rewarding to investigate in this major neotropical savanna.

  1. Fire Power

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Denker, Deb; West, Lee

    2009-01-01

    For education administrators, campus fires are not only a distressing loss, but also a stark reminder that a campus faces risks that require special vigilance. In many ways, campuses resemble small communities, with areas for living, working and relaxing. A residence hall fire may raise the specter of careless youth, often with the complication of…

  2. Returning Fire

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gould, Jon B.

    2007-01-01

    Last December saw another predictable report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a self-described watchdog group, highlighting how higher education is supposedly under siege from a politically correct plague of so-called hate-speech codes. In that report, FIRE declared that as many as 96 percent of top-ranked colleges…

  3. Arizona Fires

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2014-05-15

    ... and is currently the second largest fire in Arizona history. More than 2,000 people are working to contain the fire, which is being ... bright desert background. The areas with no data (shown in black and present at the oblique angles) are locations where the variable ...

  4. California Fires

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2014-05-15

    article title:  Smoke Blankets Northern California     View Larger Image ... strikes sparked more than a thousand fires in northern California. This image was captured by the Multi-angle Imaging ... June 27, 2008 - Smoke from fires in northern California. project:  MISR category:  gallery ...

  5. 46 CFR 28.315 - Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... 46 Shipping 1 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses... After September 15, 1991, and That Operate With More Than 16 Individuals on Board § 28.315 Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses. (a) Each vessel 36 feet (11.8 meters) or more in length...

  6. 46 CFR 28.315 - Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... 46 Shipping 1 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses... After September 15, 1991, and That Operate With More Than 16 Individuals on Board § 28.315 Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses. (a) Each vessel 36 feet (11.8 meters) or more in length...

  7. Cultural legacies, fire ecology, and environmental change in the Stone Country of Arnhem Land and Kakadu National Park, Australia

    PubMed Central

    Trauernicht, Clay; Murphy, Brett P; Tangalin, Natalia; Bowman, David M J S

    2013-01-01

    We use the fire ecology and biogeographical patterns of Callitris intratropica, a fire-sensitive conifer, and the Asian water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), an introduced mega-herbivore, to examine the hypothesis that the continuation of Aboriginal burning and cultural integration of buffalo contribute to greater savanna heterogeneity and diversity in central Arnhem Land (CAL) than Kakadu National Park (KNP). The ‘Stone Country’ of the Arnhem Plateau, extending from KNP to CAL, is a globally renowned social–ecological system, managed for millennia by Bininj-Kunwok Aboriginal clans. Regional species declines have been attributed to the cessation of patchy burning by Aborigines. Whereas the KNP Stone Country is a modern wilderness, managed through prescribed burning and buffalo eradication, CAL remains a stronghold for Aboriginal management where buffalo have been culturally integrated. We surveyed the plant community and the presence of buffalo tracks among intact and fire-damaged C. intratropica groves and the savanna matrix in KNP and CAL. Aerial surveys of C. intratropica grove condition were used to examine the composition of savanna vegetation across the Stone Country. The plant community in intact C. intratropica groves had higher stem counts of shrubs and small trees and higher proportions of fire-sensitive plant species than degraded groves and the savanna matrix. A higher proportion of intact C. intratropica groves in CAL therefore indicated greater gamma diversity and habitat heterogeneity than the KNP Stone Country. Interactions among buffalo, fire, and C. intratropica suggested that buffalo also contributed to these patterns. Our results suggest linkages between ecological and cultural integrity at broad spatial scales across a complex landscape. Buffalo may provide a tool for mitigating destructive fires; however, their interactions require further study. Sustainability in the Stone Country depends upon adaptive management that rehabilitates the

  8. Daily and 3-hourly Variability in Global Fire Emissions and Consequences for Atmospheric Model Predictions of Carbon Monoxide

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mu, M.; Randerson, J. T.; vanderWerf, G. R.; Giglio, L.; Kasibhatla, P.; Morton, D.; Collatz, G. J.; DeFries, R. S.; Hyer, E. J.; Prins, E. M.; Griffith, D. W. T.; Wunch, D.; Toon, G. C.; Sherlock, V.; Wennberg, P. O.

    2011-01-01

    Attribution of the causes of atmospheric trace gas and aerosol variability often requires the use of high resolution time series of anthropogenic and natural emissions inventories. Here we developed an approach for representing synoptic- and diurnal-scale temporal variability in fire emissions for the Global Fire Emissions Database version 3 (GFED3). We disaggregated monthly GFED3 emissions during 2003.2009 to a daily time step using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) ]derived measurements of active fires from Terra and Aqua satellites. In parallel, mean diurnal cycles were constructed from Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) Wildfire Automated Biomass Burning Algorithm (WF_ABBA) active fire observations. Daily variability in fires varied considerably across different biomes, with short but intense periods of daily emissions in boreal ecosystems and lower intensity (but more continuous) periods of burning in savannas. These patterns were consistent with earlier field and modeling work characterizing fire behavior dynamics in different ecosystems. On diurnal timescales, our analysis of the GOES WF_ABBA active fires indicated that fires in savannas, grasslands, and croplands occurred earlier in the day as compared to fires in nearby forests. Comparison with Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON) and Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) column CO observations provided evidence that including daily variability in emissions moderately improved atmospheric model simulations, particularly during the fire season and near regions with high levels of biomass burning. The high temporal resolution estimates of fire emissions developed here may ultimately reduce uncertainties related to fire contributions to atmospheric trace gases and aerosols. Important future directions include reconciling top ]down and bottom up estimates of fire radiative power and integrating burned area and active fire time series from

  9. Spacecraft Fire Safety

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Margle, Janice M. (Editor)

    1987-01-01

    Fire detection, fire standards and testing, fire extinguishment, inerting and atmospheres, fire-related medical science, aircraft fire safety, Space Station safety concerns, microgravity combustion, spacecraft material flammability testing, and metal combustion are among the topics considered.

  10. Developing and evaluating a synoptic and diurnally varying time series of global fire emissions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mu, M.; Randerson, J. T.; Giglio, L.; van der Werf, G. R.; Hyer, E.; Prins, E.

    2008-12-01

    To assess how recent changes in fire activity and burned area influence climate and human health, we need to improve our understanding of fire emissions. Information on synoptic and diurnal time scales may be particularly relevant for capturing interactions between climate drivers of fire activity and atmospheric transport of particulate and trace gas emissions. Developing emissions time series at this high temporal resolution requires combining active fire products with burned area information that is typically available only at monthly or annual intervals. Here we used several different active fire products from MODIS and GOES to distribute monthly fire emissions from Global Fire Emissions Database version 2 (GFEDv2) at a 3-hour time step. This process required several steps. First, we used the 8-day overpass corrected climate modeling grid active fires from MODIS AQUA and TERRA to distribute emissions during 8-day intervals within a year. In a second step we distributed emissions day by day within each 8-day interval using raw active fire detections from MODIS. In a final step we used GOES active fire observations to construct mean diurnal cycles for different vegetation types and latitude zones. These mean cycles were then applied to the daily emissions. The results show reasonable agreement of daily fire activity as compared with GOES, VIRS, and ATSR active fire products. We constructed mean diurnal cycles from GOES observations for three different land types: forest, shrublands and savannas, and grasses and crops in different latitude zones. We found that maximum fire activity occurred in the early afternoon 12:00-3:00 PM and minimum fire activity occurred at night from 00:00 to 6:00 AM. The diurnal cycles varied substantially in different land cover types and regions with boreal forest fires, for example, showing substantially more burning in late afternoon and night than fires in grassland or cropland areas. Fires in shrublands and savannas and grasslands

  11. Pan-African genetic structure in the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer): investigating intraspecific divergence.

    PubMed

    Smitz, Nathalie; Berthouly, Cécile; Cornélis, Daniel; Heller, Rasmus; Van Hooft, Pim; Chardonnet, Philippe; Caron, Alexandre; Prins, Herbert; van Vuuren, Bettine Jansen; De Iongh, Hans; Michaux, Johan

    2013-01-01

    The African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) exhibits extreme morphological variability, which has led to controversies about the validity and taxonomic status of the various recognized subspecies. The present study aims to clarify these by inferring the pan-African spatial distribution of genetic diversity, using a comprehensive set of mitochondrial D-loop sequences from across the entire range of the species. All analyses converged on the existence of two distinct lineages, corresponding to a group encompassing West and Central African populations and a group encompassing East and Southern African populations. The former is currently assigned to two to three subspecies (S. c. nanus, S. c. brachyceros, S. c. aequinoctialis) and the latter to a separate subspecies (S. c. caffer). Forty-two per cent of the total amount of genetic diversity is explained by the between-lineage component, with one to seventeen female migrants per generation inferred as consistent with the isolation-with-migration model. The two lineages diverged between 145 000 to 449 000 years ago, with strong indications for a population expansion in both lineages, as revealed by coalescent-based analyses, summary statistics and a star-like topology of the haplotype network for the S. c. caffer lineage. A Bayesian analysis identified the most probable historical migration routes, with the Cape buffalo undertaking successive colonization events from Eastern toward Southern Africa. Furthermore, our analyses indicate that, in the West-Central African lineage, the forest ecophenotype may be a derived form of the savanna ecophenotype and not vice versa, as has previously been proposed. The African buffalo most likely expanded and diverged in the late to middle Pleistocene from an ancestral population located around the current-day Central African Republic, adapting morphologically to colonize new habitats, hence developing the variety of ecophenotypes observed today.

  12. Pan-African Genetic Structure in the African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer): Investigating Intraspecific Divergence

    PubMed Central

    Smitz, Nathalie; Berthouly, Cécile; Cornélis, Daniel; Heller, Rasmus; Van Hooft, Pim; Chardonnet, Philippe; Caron, Alexandre; Prins, Herbert; van Vuuren, Bettine Jansen; De Iongh, Hans; Michaux, Johan

    2013-01-01

    The African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) exhibits extreme morphological variability, which has led to controversies about the validity and taxonomic status of the various recognized subspecies. The present study aims to clarify these by inferring the pan-African spatial distribution of genetic diversity, using a comprehensive set of mitochondrial D-loop sequences from across the entire range of the species. All analyses converged on the existence of two distinct lineages, corresponding to a group encompassing West and Central African populations and a group encompassing East and Southern African populations. The former is currently assigned to two to three subspecies (S. c. nanus, S. c. brachyceros, S. c. aequinoctialis) and the latter to a separate subspecies (S. c. caffer). Forty-two per cent of the total amount of genetic diversity is explained by the between-lineage component, with one to seventeen female migrants per generation inferred as consistent with the isolation-with-migration model. The two lineages diverged between 145 000 to 449 000 years ago, with strong indications for a population expansion in both lineages, as revealed by coalescent-based analyses, summary statistics and a star-like topology of the haplotype network for the S. c. caffer lineage. A Bayesian analysis identified the most probable historical migration routes, with the Cape buffalo undertaking successive colonization events from Eastern toward Southern Africa. Furthermore, our analyses indicate that, in the West-Central African lineage, the forest ecophenotype may be a derived form of the savanna ecophenotype and not vice versa, as has previously been proposed. The African buffalo most likely expanded and diverged in the late to middle Pleistocene from an ancestral population located around the current-day Central African Republic, adapting morphologically to colonize new habitats, hence developing the variety of ecophenotypes observed today. PMID:23437100

  13. Caught in a fire trap: recurring fire creates stable size equilibria in woody resprouters.

    PubMed

    Grady, John M; Hoffmann, William A

    2012-09-01

    Globally, fire maintains many mesic habitats in an open canopy state by killing woody plants while reducing the size of those able to resprout. Where fire is frequent, tree saplings are often suppressed by a "fire trap" of repeated topkill (death of aerial biomoass) and resprouting, preventing them from reaching adult size. The ability to tolerate repeated topkill is an essential life-history trait that allows a sapling to persist until it experiences a long fire-free interval, during which it can escape the fire trap. We hypothesized that persistence in the fire trap results from a curvilinear relationship between pre-burn size and resprout size, which causes a plant to approach an equilibrial size in which post-fire biomass recovery is equal to fire-induced biomass loss. We also predicted that the equilibrial stem size is positively related to resource availability. To test these hypotheses, we collected data on pre-burn and resprout size of five woody plant species at wetland ecotones in longleaf pine savanna subjected to frequent burning. As expected, all species exhibited similar curvilinear relationships between pre-burn size and resprout size. The calculated equilibrial sizes were strong predictors of mean plant size across species and growing conditions, supporting the persistence equilibrium model. An alternative approach using matrix models yielded similar results. Resprouting was less vigorous in dry sites than at wet sites, resulting in smaller equilibrial stem sizes in drier sites; extrapolating these results provides an explanation for the absence of these species in xeric uplands. This new framework offers a straightforward approach to guide data collection for experimental, comparative, and modeling studies of plant persistence and community dynamics in frequently burned habitats.

  14. Reflectance properties of West African savanna trees from ground radiometer measurements. II - Classification of components

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hanan, N. P.; Prince, S. D.; Franklin, J.

    1993-01-01

    A pole-mounted radiometer was used to measure the reflectance properties in the red and near-IR of three Sahelian tree species. These properties are classified depending on their location over the canopy. A geometrical description of the patterns of shadow and sunlight on and beneath a model tree when viewed from above is given, and six components are defined. Tree canopies are found to be dark in the red waveband with respect to the soil, but have little or no effect on the near-IR.

  15. Generation of ecosystem hotspots using short-term cattle corrals in an African savanna

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Many rangelands are now being managed for multiple uses, and it is increasingly important to identify livestock management practices that maximize long-term productivity, biodiversity and wildlife conservation. In sub-Saharan Africa, pastoralists and ranchers use temporary thorn-fence corrals (“boma...

  16. Revisiting the Two-Layer Hypothesis: Coexistence of Alternative Functional Rooting Strategies in Savannas

    PubMed Central

    Holdo, Ricardo M.

    2013-01-01

    The two-layer hypothesis of tree-grass coexistence posits that trees and grasses differ in rooting depth, with grasses exploiting soil moisture in shallow layers while trees have exclusive access to deep water. The lack of clear differences in maximum rooting depth between these two functional groups, however, has caused this model to fall out of favor. The alternative model, the demographic bottleneck hypothesis, suggests that trees and grasses occupy overlapping rooting niches, and that stochastic events such as fires and droughts result in episodic tree mortality at various life stages, thus preventing trees from otherwise displacing grasses, at least in mesic savannas. Two potential problems with this view are: 1) we lack data on functional rooting profiles in trees and grasses, and these profiles are not necessarily reflected by differences in maximum or physical rooting depth, and 2) subtle, difficult-to-detect differences in rooting profiles between the two functional groups may be sufficient to result in coexistence in many situations. To tackle this question, I coupled a plant uptake model with a soil moisture dynamics model to explore the environmental conditions under which functional rooting profiles with equal rooting depth but different depth distributions (i.e., shapes) can coexist when competing for water. I show that, as long as rainfall inputs are stochastic, coexistence based on rooting differences is viable under a wide range of conditions, even when these differences are subtle. The results also indicate that coexistence mechanisms based on rooting niche differentiation are more viable under some climatic and edaphic conditions than others. This suggests that the two-layer model is both viable and stochastic in nature, and that a full understanding of tree-grass coexistence and dynamics may require incorporating fine-scale rooting differences between these functional groups and realistic stochastic climate drivers into future models. PMID

  17. Humid tropical rain forest has expanded into eucalypt forest and savanna over the last 50 years

    PubMed Central

    Tng, David Y P; Murphy, Brett P; Weber, Ellen; Sanders, Gregor; Williamson, Grant J; Kemp, Jeanette; Bowman, David M J S

    2012-01-01

    Tropical rain forest expansion and savanna woody vegetation thickening appear to be a global trend, but there remains uncertainty about whether there is a common set of global drivers. Using geographic information techniques, we analyzed aerial photography of five areas in the humid tropics of northeastern Queensland, Australia, taken in the 1950s and 2008, to determine if changes in rain forest extent match those reported for the Australian monsoon tropics using similar techniques. Mapping of the 1950s aerial photography showed that of the combined study area (64,430 ha), 63% was classified as eucalypt forests/woodland and 37% as rain forest. Our mapping revealed that although most boundaries remained stable, there was a net increase of 732 ha of the original rain forest area over the study period, and negligible conversion of rain forest to eucalypt forest/woodland. Statistical modeling, controlling for spatial autocorrelation, indicated distance from preexisting rain forest as the strongest determinant of rain forest expansion. Margin extension had a mean rate across the five sites of 0.6 m per decade. Expansion was greater in tall open forest types but also occurred in shorter, more flammable woodland vegetation types. No correlations were detected with other local variables (aspect, elevation, geology, topography, drainage). Using a geographically weighted mean rate of rain forest margin extension across the whole region, we predict that over 25% of tall open forest (a forest type of high conservation significance) would still remain after 2000 years of rain forest expansion. This slow replacement is due to the convoluted nature of the rain forest boundary and the irregular shape of the tall open forest patches. Our analyses point to the increased concentration of atmospheric CO2 as the most likely global driver of indiscriminate rain forest expansion occurring in northeastern Australia, by increasing tree growth and thereby overriding the effects of fire

  18. Short-term effects of burn season on flowering phenology of savanna plants

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pavlovic, N.B.; Leicht-Young, S. A.; Grundel, R.

    2011-01-01

    We examined the effect of season of burn on flowering phenology of groundlayer species, in the year following burns, in a mesic-sand Midwestern oak savanna. Burn treatments were fall, early-season, growing-season, late-season, and 1 or 5 years after a prior early-season wildfire. For these treatments, we compared the number of flowering stems and of flowers for species overall, for the 20 most prolifically flowering species, as well as for species grouped by flowering phenoperiods, and by growth form. Growing-season burn had a significant negative effect on number of flowering stems and total number of flowers. This effect occurred when either the burn occurred during the flowering season or during the season prior to the flowering phenoperiod. Tradescantia ohiensis showed expedited flowering and Phlox pilosa showed delayed flowering in response to early-season burning. Flowering of early shrubs was reduced by the previous fall and early-spring fires, while flowering of mid-season blooming shrubs was reduced by the early- and growing-season burns. Vaccinium and Gaylussacia, early-flowering shrubs, produced fewer flowers 1 year after than 5 years after an early-season burn. Arabis lyrata showed reduced flowering from the early-season burn. We also found four instances where the early-spring burn effect on flowering was more severe than the fall burn effect, suggesting that many frequent early-season burns may be deleterious to flowering and reproduction of some species. Burns occurring too frequently in the same season could negatively affect future flowering and reproduction of these plant species.

  19. Daily and Hourly Variability in Global Fire Emissions and Consequences for Atmospheric Model Predictions of Carbon Monoxide

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mu, M.; Randerson, J. T.; van der Werf, G. R.; Giglio, L.; Kasibhatla, P.; Morton, D.; Collatz, G. J.; DeFries, R. S.; Hyer, E. J.; Prins, E. M.; Griffith, D. W. T.; Wunch, D.; Toon, G. C.; Sherlock, V.; Wennberg, P. O.

    2011-01-01

    Attribution of the causes of atmospheric trace gas and aerosol variability often requires the use of high resolution time series of anthropogenic and natural emissions inventories. Here we developed an approach for representing synoptic- and diurnal-scale temporal variability in fire emissions for the Global Fire Emissions Database version 3 (GFED3). We distributed monthly GFED3 emissions during 2003-2009 on a daily time step using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)-derived measurements of active fires from Terra and Aqua satellites. In parallel, mean diurnal cycles were constructed from Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) active fire observations. We found that patterns of daily variability in fires varied considerably across different biomes, with short but intense periods of daily emissions in boreal ecosystems and lower intensity (but more continuous) periods of bunting in savannas. On diurnal timescales, our analysis of the GOES active fires indicated that fires in savannas, grasslands, and croplands occurred earlier in the day as compared to fires in nearby forests. Comparison with Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON) and Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) column CO observations provided evidence that including daily variability in emissions moderately improved atmospheric model simulations, particularly during the fire season and near regions with high levels of biomass burning. The high temporal resolution estimates of fire emissions developed here may ultimately reduce uncertainties related to fire contributions to atmospheric trace gases and aerosols. Important future directions include reconciling top-down and bottom up estimates of fire radiative power and integrating burned area and active fire time series from multiple satellite sensors to improve daily emissions estimates.

  20. Montana Fires

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2014-05-15

    ... fires raging in Montana and Hurricane Hector swirling in the Pacific. These two unrelated, large-scale examples of nature's fury were ... location:  United States Pacific Ocean region:  Western United States Order:  55 ...

  1. Texas Fires

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2014-05-15

    article title:  Wind-Whipped Fires in East Texas     View Larger Image ... one-year drought on record and the warmest month in Texas history. The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument on ...

  2. Fire clay

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Virta, R.L.

    2012-01-01

    Five companies mined fire clay in four states in 2011. Production, based on a preliminary survey of the fire clay industry, was estimated to be 240 kt (265,000 st), valued at $7.68 million, an increase from 216 kt (238,000 st), valued at $6.12 million in 2010. Missouri was the leading producing state, followed by Texas, Washington and Ohio, in decreasing order by quantity.

  3. Methane production from mixed tropical savanna and forest vegetation in Venezuela

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crutzen, P. J.; Sanhueza, E.; Brenninkmeijer, C. A. M.

    2006-04-01

    Measurements of methane concentrations in the boundary layer in the northern part of the Guayana shield, Venezuela, during the wet season (October 1988), showed the presence of substantial methane surface emissions. The measuring site is within the savanna climate region, but is affected by emissions from savanna and forest vegetation. From day versus night concentration measurements, with higher concentrations during night, a methane source strength near the site of 3-7×1011 molecules/cm2/s can be estimated, which includes emissions from small tracts of flooded soils, termites and especially tropical vegetation. Extrapolated to the entire savanna, this may imply a methane source of ~30-60 Tg yr-1 similar to the one calculated for tropical vegetation on the basis of recently published in vitro plant emission experiments by Keppler et al. (2006), which indicate emissions of ~30 Tg yr-1 for tropical savannas and grasslands and ~78 Tg yr-1 for tropical forests.

  4. Local density effects on individual production are dynamic: insights from natural stands of a perennial savanna grass.

    PubMed

    Zimmermann, Julia; Higgins, Steven I; Grimm, Volker; Hoffmann, John; Linstädter, Anja

    2015-08-01

    Perennial grasses are a dominant component of grasslands, and provide important ecosystem services. However, most knowledge of grasslands' functioning and production comes from plot-level studies, and drivers of individual-level production remain poorly explored. Extrapolation from existing experiments is hampered by the fact that these are mostly concentrated on even-aged cohorts, and/or on the early stages of a plant's life cycle. Here we explored how local density regulates individual production in mono-specific natural grassland, focusing on adult individuals of a perennial savanna grass (Stipagrostis uniplumis). We found individual production to increase with individuals' size, but to decrease with neighbour abundance. A metric of neighbour abundance that considered size was superior to a metric based solely on the number of individuals. This finding is particularly important for studying competitive effects in natural populations, where plants are normally not even-sized. The inferred competition kernel, i.e. the function describing how competitive strength varies with spatial distance from a target plant, was hump-shaped, indicating strongest intraspecific competition at intermediate distances (10-30 cm). The spatial signature of competitive effects changed with time since fire; peak effects moved successively away from the target plant. Our results suggest that inferred competition kernels of long-lived plant populations may have shapes that differ from exponential or sigmoidal decreases. More generally, results underline that competition among neighbouring plants is dynamic. Studies that address density-dependent and density-independent (fire-related) population dynamics of perennial grasses in their fire-prone environment may thus shed new light on the functioning and production of grasslands.

  5. Contrasting physiological responses to excess heat and irradiance in two tropical savanna sedges

    PubMed Central

    John-Bejai, C.; Farrell, A. D.; Cooper, F. M.; Oatham, M. P.

    2013-01-01

    Tropical hyperseasonal savannas provide a rare example of a tropical climax community dominated by graminoid species. Species living in such savannas are frequently exposed to excess heat and light, in addition to drought and waterlogging, and must possess traits to avoid or tolerate these stress factors. Here we examine the contrasting heat and light stress adaptations of two dominant savanna sedges: Lagenocarpus guianensis, which is restricted to the sheltered forest edge, and Lagenocarpus rigidus, which extends from the forest edge to the open savanna. An ecotone extending from the forest edge to the open savanna was used to assess differences in a range of physiological traits (efficiency of photosystem II, cell membrane thermostability, stomatal conductance, leaf surface reflectance and canopy temperature depression) and a range of leaf functional traits (length : width ratio, specific leaf area and degree of folding). Lagenocarpus guianensis showed significantly less canopy temperature depression than L. rigidus, which may explain why this species was restricted to the forest edge. The range of leaf temperatures measured was within the thermal tolerance of L. guianensis and allowed photosystem II to function normally, at least within the cool forest edge. The ability of L. rigidus to extend into the open savanna was associated with an ability to decouple leaf temperature from ambient temperature combined with enhanced cell membrane thermostability. The high degree of canopy temperature depression seen in L. rigidus was not explained by enhanced stomatal conductance or leaf reflectance, but was consistent with a capacity to increase specific leaf area and reduce leaf length: width ratio in the open savanna. Plasticity in leaf functional traits and in cell membrane thermostability are key factors in the ability of this savanna sedge to survive abiotic stress. PMID:24379971

  6. Water, land, fire, and forest: Multi-scale determinants of rainforests in the Australian monsoon tropics.

    PubMed

    Ondei, Stefania; Prior, Lynda D; Williamson, Grant J; Vigilante, Tom; Bowman, David M J S

    2017-03-01

    The small rainforest fragments found in savanna landscapes are powerful, yet often overlooked, model systems to understand the controls of these contrasting ecosystems. We analyzed the relative effect of climatic variables on rainforest density at a subcontinental level, and employed high-resolution, regional-level analyses to assess the importance of landscape settings and fire activity in determining rainforest density in a frequently burnt Australian savanna landscape. Estimates of rainforest density (ha/km(2)) across the Northern Territory and Western Australia, derived from preexisting maps, were used to calculate the correlations between rainforest density and climatic variables. A detailed map of the northern Kimberley (Western Australia) rainforests was generated and analyzed to determine the importance of geology and topography in controlling rainforests, and to contrast rainforest density on frequently burnt mainland and nearby islands. In the northwestern Australian, tropics rainforest density was positively correlated with rainfall and moisture index, and negatively correlated with potential evapotranspiration. At a regional scale, rainforests showed preference for complex topographic positions and more fertile geology. Compared with mainland areas, islands had significantly lower fire activity, with no differences between terrain types. They also displayed substantially higher rainforest density, even on level terrain where geomorphological processes do not concentrate nutrients or water. Our multi-scale approach corroborates previous studies that suggest moist climate, infrequent fires, and geology are important stabilizing factors that allow rainforest fragments to persist in savanna landscapes. These factors need to be incorporated in models to predict the future extent of savannas and rainforests under climate change.

  7. Long term monitoring of the chemical composition of precipitation and wet deposition fluxes over three Sahelian savannas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laouali, D.; Galy-Lacaux, C.; Diop, B.; Delon, C.; Orange, D.; Lacaux, J. P.; Akpo, A.; Lavenu, F.; Gardrat, E.; Castera, P.

    2012-04-01

    The purpose of this study is to analyze a long term database of the chemical composition of precipitation at three African dry savanna sites in the Sahel. The precipitation samples were collected during the monsoon season at Agoufou (15°20‧N, 01°29‧W, Mali) from 2004 to 2006, Banizoumbou (13°31‧N, 02°38‧E, Niger) from 1994 to 2009 and Katibougou (12°56‧N, 07°32‧ W, Mali) from 1997 to 2008. pH and major inorganic and organic ions in precipitation were analyzed by ionic chromatography. A characterization of mean precipitation chemistry with the associated wet deposition fluxes for each species is presented. The first important result is that interannual variability of all volume-weighted mean (VWM) concentrations is low, ranging between ±5% and ±25%. Acidity in dry savannas is low and indicates the strong alkaline nature of the precipitation. The average annual pH at Agoufou is 6.28, 5.75 at Banizoumbou and 5.54 at Katibougou. This result is correlated with the important terrigenous contribution measured in the chemical content of precipitation, implying acidity neutralization by mineral species such as Ca2+ and NH4+. Mg2+ and K+ are found to play a minor role in neutralization. Enrichment factor calculations for Ca2+, SO42-, K+ and Mg2+ with respect to the sea reference reveal a significant influence of Saharan and Sahelian crustal sources. VWM concentrations of these species dominate the composition of measured precipitation. An estimation of the potential particulate and gas contribution to the total precipitation composition is given for each site: At Agoufou, the mean relative contribution in rainwater is 80% for particles and 20% for gases, while at the Banizoumbou and Katibougou sites, results indicate 70% for particles and 30% for gases. The high particulate phase contribution to precipitation emphasizes the importance of multiphase processes between gases and particles in the atmospheric chemistry typical of African semi-arid savanna

  8. Advanced Fire Information System - A real time fire information system for Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frost, P. E.; Roy, D. P.

    2012-12-01

    The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) lead by the Meraka Institute and supported by the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) developed the Advanced Fire Information System (AFIS) to provide near real time fire information to a variety of operational and science fire users including disaster managers, fire fighters, farmers and forest managers located across Southern and Eastern Africa. The AFIS combines satellite data with ground based observations and statistics and distributes the information via mobile phone technology. The system was launched in 2004, and Eskom (South Africa' and Africa's largest power utility) quickly became the biggest user and today more than 300 Eskom line managers and support staff receive cell phone and email fire alert messages whenever a wildfire is within 2km of any of the 28 000km of Eskom electricity transmission lines. The AFIS uses Earth observation satellites from NASA and Europe to detect possible actively burning fires and their fire radiative power (FRP). The polar orbiting MODIS Terra and Aqua satellites provide data at around 10am, 15pm, 22am and 3am daily, while the European Geostationary MSG satellite provides 15 minute updates at lower spatial resolution. The AFIS processing system ingests the raw satellite data and within minutes of the satellite overpass generates fire location and FRP based fire intensity information. The AFIS and new functionality are presented including an incident report and permiting system that can be used to differentiate between prescribed burns and uncontrolled wild fires, and the provision of other information including 5-day fire danger forecasts, vegetation curing information and historical burned area maps. A new AFIS mobile application for IOS and Android devices as well as a fire reporting tool are showcased that enable both the dissemination and alerting of fire information and enable user upload of geo tagged photographs and on the fly creation of fire reports

  9. Exploiting the power law distribution properties of satellite fire radiative power retrievals: A method to estimate fire radiative energy and biomass burned from sparse satellite observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kumar, S. S.; Roy, D. P.; Boschetti, L.; Kremens, R.

    2011-10-01

    Instantaneous estimates of the power released by fire (fire radiative power, FRP) are available with satellite active fire detection products. The temporal integral of FRP provides an estimate of the fire radiative energy (FRE) that is related linearly to the amount of biomass burned needed by the atmospheric emissions modeling community. The FRE, however, is sensitive to satellite temporal and spatial FRP undersampling due to infrequent satellite overpasses, cloud and smoke obscuration, and failure to detect cool and/or small fires. Satellite FRPs derived over individual burned areas and fires have been observed to exhibit power law distributions. This property is exploited to develop a new way to derive FRE, as the product of the fire duration and the expected FRP value derived from the FRP power law probability distribution function. The method is demonstrated and validated by the use of FRP data measured with a dual-band radiometer over prescribed fires in the United States and by the use of FRP data retrieved from moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) active-fire detections over Brazilian deforestation and Australian savanna fires. The biomass burned derived using the conventional FRP temporal integration and power law FRE estimation methods is compared with biomass burned measurements (prescribed fires) and available fuel load information reported in the literature (Australian and Brazilian fires). The results indicate that the FRE power law derivation method may provide more reliable burned biomass estimates under sparse satellite FRP sampling conditions and correct for satellite active-fire detection omission errors if the FRP power law distribution parameters and the fire duration are known.

  10. Hyperspectral and LiDAR remote sensing of fire fuels in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

    PubMed

    Varga, Timothy A; Asner, Gregory P

    2008-04-01

    Alien invasive grasses threaten to transform Hawaiian ecosystems through the alteration of ecosystem dynamics, especially the creation or intensification of a fire cycle. Across sub-montane ecosystems of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii Island, we quantified fine fuels and fire spread potential of invasive grasses using a combination of airborne hyperspectral and light detection and ranging (LiDAR) measurements. Across a gradient from forest to savanna to shrubland, automated mixture analysis of hyperspectral data provided spatially explicit fractional cover estimates of photosynthetic vegetation, non-photosynthetic vegetation, and bare substrate and shade. Small-footprint LiDAR provided measurements of vegetation height along this gradient of ecosystems. Through the fusion of hyperspectral and LiDAR data, a new fire fuel index (FFI) was developed to model the three-dimensional volume of grass fuels. Regionally, savanna ecosystems had the highest volumes of fire fuels, averaging 20% across the ecosystem and frequently filling all of the three-dimensional space represented by each image pixel. The forest and shrubland ecosystems had lower FFI values, averaging 4.4% and 8.4%, respectively. The results indicate that the fusion of hyperspectral and LiDAR remote sensing can provide unique information on the three-dimensional properties of ecosystems, their flammability, and the potential for fire spread.

  11. Active Fire Mapping Program

    MedlinePlus

    Active Fire Mapping Program Current Large Incidents (Home) New Large Incidents Fire Detection Maps MODIS Satellite Imagery VIIRS Satellite Imagery Fire Detection GIS Data Fire Data in Google Earth ...

  12. African Aesthetics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Abiodun, Rowland

    2001-01-01

    No single traditional discipline can adequately supply answers to the many unresolved questions in African art history. Because of the aesthetic, cultural, historical, and, not infrequently, political biases, already built into the conception and development of Western art history, the discipline of art history as defined and practiced in the West…

  13. African Pentecostalism

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Garrard, David J.

    2009-01-01

    The diversity of African Pentecostalism, its early colonial and missionary history and its current characteristics are described and analysed. Reference is made to methods of training and forms of leadership, and suggestions are made about the reasons for its growth and persistence. (Contains 19 notes.)

  14. Remotely-sensed active fire data for protected area management: eight-year patterns in the Manas National Park, India.

    PubMed

    Takahata, Chihiro; Amin, Rajan; Sarma, Pranjit; Banerjee, Gitanjali; Oliver, William; Fa, John E

    2010-02-01

    The Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands, which once extended along most of the Himalayan foothills, now only remain in a number of protected areas. Within these localities, grassland burning is a major issue, but data on frequency and distribution of fires are limited. Here, we analysed the incidence of active fires, which only occur during the dry season (Nov.-Mar.), within a significant area of Terai grasslands: the Manas National Park (MNP), India. We obtained locations of 781 fires during the 2000-2008 dry seasons, from the Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) that delivers global MODIS hotspot/fire locations using remote sensing and GIS technologies. Annual number of fires rose significantly from around 20 at the start of the study period to over 90 after 2002, with most (85%) detected between December and January. Over half of the fires occurred in tall grasslands, but fire density was highest in wetland and riverine vegetation, dry at the time. Most burning took place near rivers, roads and the park boundary, suggesting anthropogenic origins. A kernel density map of all recorded fires indicated three heavily burnt areas in the MNP, all within the tall grasslands. Our study demonstrates, despite some technical caveats linked to fire detection technology, which is improving, that remote fire data can be a practical tool in understanding fire concentration and burning temporal patterns in highly vulnerable habitats, useful in guiding management.

  15. Remotely-Sensed Active Fire Data for Protected Area Management: Eight-Year Patterns in the Manas National Park, India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Takahata, Chihiro; Amin, Rajan; Sarma, Pranjit; Banerjee, Gitanjali; Oliver, William; Fa, John E.

    2010-02-01

    The Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands, which once extended along most of the Himalayan foothills, now only remain in a number of protected areas. Within these localities, grassland burning is a major issue, but data on frequency and distribution of fires are limited. Here, we analysed the incidence of active fires, which only occur during the dry season (Nov.-Mar.), within a significant area of Terai grasslands: the Manas National Park (MNP), India. We obtained locations of 781 fires during the 2000-2008 dry seasons, from the Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) that delivers global MODIS hotspot/fire locations using remote sensing and GIS technologies. Annual number of fires rose significantly from around 20 at the start of the study period to over 90 after 2002, with most (85%) detected between December and January. Over half of the fires occurred in tall grasslands, but fire density was highest in wetland and riverine vegetation, dry at the time. Most burning took place near rivers, roads and the park boundary, suggesting anthropogenic origins. A kernel density map of all recorded fires indicated three heavily burnt areas in the MNP, all within the tall grasslands. Our study demonstrates, despite some technical caveats linked to fire detection technology, which is improving, that remote fire data can be a practical tool in understanding fire concentration and burning temporal patterns in highly vulnerable habitats, useful in guiding management.

  16. A hydroclimatic model of global fire patterns

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boer, Matthias

    2015-04-01

    (i.e. F_0.99 ) was explained by two terms of the climatic water balance: i) mean annual actual evapotranspiration (AET), which is a proxy for fuel productivity, and ii) mean annual water deficit (D=PET-AET, where PET is mean annual potential evapotranspiration), which is a measure of fuel drying potential. As expected, F_0.99 was close to zero in environments of low AET (e.g. deserts) or low D (e.g. wet forests), due to strong fuel productivity or fuel dryness constraints, and maximum for environments of intermediate AET and D (e.g. tropical savannas). The topography of the F_0.99 response surface was analysed to explore how the relative importance of fuel productivity and fuel dryness constraints varied with the climatic water balance, and geographically across the continents. Consistent with current understanding of global pyrogeography, the hydroclimatic fire model predicted that fire activity is mostly constrained by fuel productivity in arid environments with grassy fuels and by fuel dryness in humid environments with litter fuels derived from woody shrubs and trees. The model provides a simple, yet biophysically-based, approach to evaluating potential for incremental change in fire activity or transformational change in fire types under future climate conditions.

  17. 46 CFR 28.820 - Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... 46 Shipping 1 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses... REQUIREMENTS FOR COMMERCIAL FISHING INDUSTRY VESSELS Aleutian Trade Act Vessels § 28.820 Fire pumps, fire mains... pump connected to a fixed piping system. This pump must be capable of delivering an effective stream...

  18. 46 CFR 28.315 - Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... 46 Shipping 1 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses... After September 15, 1991, and That Operate With More Than 16 Individuals on Board § 28.315 Fire pumps... be equipped with a self-priming, power driven fire pump connected to a fixed piping system. (1)...

  19. 46 CFR 28.315 - Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... fire pump on a vessel 79 feet (24 meters) or more in length must be capable of delivering water... 46 Shipping 1 2012-10-01 2012-10-01 false Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses... After September 15, 1991, and That Operate With More Than 16 Individuals on Board § 28.315 Fire...

  20. Oregon Fires

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2014-05-15

    ... (MISR). When the data were acquired, the Booth and Bear Butte Fires had been underway for 16 days and had consumed about 70,000 ... or other factors precluded a retrieval the map is colored black. The  animation  depicts a "multi-angle fly-over" of the plumes, ...

  1. Idaho Fires

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2001-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Figure 1 Click on image for larger version

    This full-frame ASTER image, acquired August 30, 2000, covers an area of 60 by 60 km in the Salmon River Mountains, Idaho. In this color infrared composite, vegetation is red, clouds are white, and smoke from forest fires is blue. An enlargement (Figure 1) covers an area of 12 x 15 km. A thermal infrared band is displayed in red, a short wave infrared band is displayed in green, and a visible band is displayed in blue. In this combination, fires larger than about 50 m appear yellow because they are bright in both infrared bands. Smaller fires appear green because they are too small to be seen by the 90 m thermal pixels, but large enough to be detected in the 30 m short wave infrared pixels. We are able to see through the smoke in the infrared bands, whereas in the visible bands, the smoke obscures detection of the active fires. This image is located at 44.8 degrees north latitude and 114.8 degrees west longitude.

    The U.S. science team is located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

  2. Dalhousie Fire

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Matthews, Fred W.

    1986-01-01

    Describes steps taken by the Weldon Law Library at Dalhousie University in salvaging books damaged in a major fire, including procedures and processes used in packing, sorting, drying, and cleaning the books. The need for a disaster plan for specific libraries is emphasized, and some suggestions are made. (CDD)

  3. California Fires

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2014-05-15

    ... began August 26, 2009, in La Canada/Flintridge, not far from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The fire reportedly burned 105,000 acres (164 ... D.C. The Terra spacecraft is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. The MISR data were obtained from the NASA ...

  4. Satellite-based automated burned area detection: A performance assessment of the MODIS MCD45A1 in the Brazilian savanna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Araújo, Fernando Moreira De; Ferreira, Laerte G.

    2015-04-01

    Burnings, which cause major changes to the environment, can be effectively monitored via satellite data, regarding both the identification of active fires and the estimation of burned areas. Among the many orbital sensors suitable for mapping burned areas on global and regional scales, the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS), on board the Terra and Aqua platforms, has been the most widely utilized. In this study, the performance of the MODIS MCD45A1 burned area product was thoroughly evaluated in the Brazilian savanna, the second largest biome in South America and a global biodiversity hotspot, characterized by a conspicuous climatic seasonality and the systematic occurrence of natural and anthropogenic fires. Overall, September MCD45A1 polygons (2000-2012) compared well to the Landsat-based reference mapping (r2 = 0.92) and were closely accompanied, on a monthly basis, by MOD14 and MYD14 hotspots (r2 = 0.89), although large omissions errors, linked to landscape patterns, structures, and overall conditions depicted in each reference image, were observed. In spite of its spatial and temporal limitations, the MCD45A1 product proved instrumental for mapping and understanding fire behavior and impacts on the Cerrado landscapes.

  5. Effects of Litter Removal and Addition on the Nutrient Mineralization Dynamics in Hyperseasonal Tropical Savannas of the Brazilian Pantanal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hentz, C. S.; Pinto-Jr, O. B.; Vourlitis, G. L.

    2015-12-01

    The tropical savanna of Brazil (cerrado) is extremely species diverse and it encompasses many different physiognomic features, which are influenced by rainfall, fire, and soil nutrient availability. Plant litter decomposition recycles nutrients to the soil, and in turn, assists plant growth. However the rate at which these nutrients become available to the soil is poorly understood. Thus, a six month field experiment that encompassed the wet and dry seasons was conducted to assess how different quantities of litter inputs affect nutrient (P, N, C, K, Ca, and Mg) availability. It was hypothesized that nutrient mineralization would be significantly influenced by manipulation of the surface litter and that there would be a positive correlation between soil moisture and nutrient mineralization. Initial results indicate that there were significant differences in mineralization over time for all nutrients, except P, supporting our hypothesis of changes in mineralization with soil moisture. However, there were no significant differences between litter treatments and net mineralization rates for all the nutrients tested. Our results indicate that litterpool size has little effect on short-term nutrient mineralization dynamics.

  6. Soil microbial communities following bush removal in a Namibian savanna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buyer, Jeffrey S.; Schmidt-Küntzel, Anne; Nghikembua, Matti; Maul, Jude E.; Marker, Laurie

    2016-03-01

    Savanna ecosystems are subject to desertification and bush encroachment, which reduce the carrying capacity for wildlife and livestock. Bush thinning is a management approach that can, at least temporarily, restore grasslands and raise the grazing value of the land. In this study we examined the soil microbial communities under bush and grass in Namibia. We analyzed the soil through a chronosequence where bush was thinned at 9, 5, or 3 years before sampling. Soil microbial biomass, the biomass of specific taxonomic groups, and overall microbial community structure was determined by phospholipid fatty acid analysis, while the community structure of Bacteria, Archaea, and fungi was determined by multiplex terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. Soil under bush had higher pH, C, N, and microbial biomass than under grass, and the microbial community structure was also altered under bush compared to grass. A major disturbance to the ecosystem, bush thinning, resulted in an altered microbial community structure compared to control plots, but the magnitude of this perturbation gradually declined with time. Community structure was primarily driven by pH, C, and N, while vegetation type, bush thinning, and time since bush thinning were of secondary importance.

  7. Soil microbial communities following bush removal in a Namibian savanna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buyer, J. S.; Schmidt-Küntzel, A.; Nghikembua, M.; Maul, J. E.; Marker, L.

    2015-12-01

    Savanna ecosystems are subject to desertification and bush encroachment, which reduce the carrying capacity for wildlife and livestock. Bush thinning is a management approach that can, at least temporarily, restore grasslands and raise the grazing value of the land. In this study we examined the soil microbial communities under bush and grass in Namibia. We analyzed the soil through a chronosequence where bush was thinned at 9, 5, or 3 years before sampling. Soil microbial biomass, the biomass of specific taxonomic groups, and overall microbial community structure was determined by phospholipid fatty acid analysis, while the community structure of Bacteria, Archaea, and fungi was determined by multiplex terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. Soil under bush had higher pH, C, N, and microbial biomass than under grass, and the microbial community structure was also altered under bush compared to grass. A major disturbance to the ecosystem, bush thinning, resulted in an altered microbial community structure compared to control plots, but the magnitude of this perturbation gradually declined with time. Community structure was primarily driven by pH, C, and N, while vegetation type, bush thinning, and time since bush thinning were of secondary importance.

  8. Anthelmintic activity of plant extracts from Brazilian savanna.

    PubMed

    Oliveira, Andreia F; Costa Junior, Livio M; Lima, Aldilene S; Silva, Carolina R; Ribeiro, Maria N S; Mesquista, José W C; Rocha, Cláudia Q; Tangerina, Marcelo M P; Vilegas, Wagner

    2017-03-15

    Helminth infections represent a serious problem for the production of small ruminants that is currently aggravated by resistance to anthelmintic products and has induced a search for control alternatives, such as natural products. In this study, extracts of Turnera ulmifolia L. (leaves and roots), Parkia platycephala Benth. (leaves and seeds) and Dimorphandra gardneriana Tul. (leaves and bark), which have been cited in ethnoveterinary studies and selected naturally by goats in the cerrado (Brazilian savanna), were tested in vitro against Haemonchus contortus. Hydroacetonic (ACT) and hydroalcoholic (ETH) extracts were evaluated using an Egg Hatching Assay (EHA), a Larval Exsheathment Inhibition Assay (LEIA) and a Larval Development Assay (LDA). A second set of incubations was performed using polyvinylpolypyrrolidone (PVPP) to determine the influence of polyphenols on the anthelmintic effects of EHA and LEIA. Data from each extract were used to calculate inhibition concentrations (IC50). All tested extracts showed activity against at least one life stage of H. contortus. The use of PVPP revealed that the tannins are not the only extracts of secondary metabolites responsible for the anthelmintic effects. The results showed clear in vitro anthelmintic activities against H. contortus at different stages and indicated the potential use of these species as a promising alternative approach to control helminthic infections of small ruminants.

  9. Groundwater uptake by woody vegetation in a semiarid oak savanna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Gretchen R.; Chen, Xingyuan; Rubin, Yoram; Ma, Siyan; Baldocchi, Dennis D.

    2010-10-01

    Groundwater can serve as an important resource for woody vegetation in semiarid landscapes, particularly when soil water is functionally depleted and unavailable to plants. This study examines the uptake of groundwater by deciduous blue oak trees (Quercus douglasii) in a California oak savanna. Here we present a suite of direct and indirect methods that demonstrate its occurrence and quantify its rates. The study site is underlain by a thin soil layer and fractured metavolcanic bedrock. Typical depth to groundwater is approximately 8 m. A variety of water storage and flux measurements were collected from 2005 to 2008, including groundwater levels, soil moisture contents, sap flows, and latent heat fluxes. During the dry season, groundwater uptake rates ranged from 4 to 25 mm month-1 and approximately 80% of total ET during June, July, and August came from groundwater. Leaf and soil water potentials supported these results, indicating that groundwater uptake was thermodynamically favorable over soil water uptake for key portions of the growing season. These findings strongly suggest that blue oaks should be considered obligate phreatophytes and that groundwater reserves provide a buffer to rapid changes in their hydroclimate, if these assets are not otherwise depleted by prolonged drought or human consumption. While groundwater uptake may provide for short-term protection, it should be viewed not as a mechanism for continued plant growth. It allows the woody vegetation to subsist during the summer but not to flourish.

  10. Assessment and kinetics of soil phosphatase in Brazilian Savanna systems.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, Adão S; Espíndola, Suéllen P; Campos, Maria Rita C

    2016-05-31

    The activity and kinetics of soil phosphatases are important indicators to evaluate soil quality in specific sites such as the Cerrado (Brazilian Savanna). This study aimed to determine the activity and kinetic parameters of soil phosphatase in Cerrado systems. Soil phosphatase activity was assessed in samples of native Cerrado (NC), no-tillage (NT), conventional tillage (CT) and pasture with Brachiaria brizantha (PBb) and evaluated with acetate buffer (AB), tris-HCl buffer (TB), modified universal buffer (MUB) and low MUB. The Michaelis-Menten equation and Eadie-Hofstee model were applied to obtain the kinetic parameters of soil phosphatase using different concentrations of p-nitrophenol phosphate (p-NPP). MUB showed the lowest soil phosphatase activity in all soils whereas AB in NC and NT presented the highest. Low MUB decreased interferences in the assessment of soil phosphatase activity when compared to MUB, suggesting that organic acids interfere on the soil phosphatase activity. In NC and NT, soil phosphatase activity performed with TB was similar to AB and low MUB. Km values from the Michaels-Menten equation were higher in NC than in NT, which indicate a lower affinity of phosphatase activity for the substrate in NC. Vmax values were also higher in NC than in NT. The Eadie-Hofstee model suggests that NC had more phosphatase isoforms than NT. The study showed that buffer type is of fundamental importance when assessing soil phosphatase activity in Cerrado soils.

  11. Will savannas survive outside the parks? A lesson from Zambia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kutsch, W.; Merbold, L.; Scholes, B.; Mukelabai, M.

    2012-04-01

    Miombo woodlands cover the transition zone between dry open savannas and moist forests in Southern Africa. They cover about 2.7 million km2 in southern Africa and provide many ecosystem services that support rural life, including medical products, wild foods, construction timber and fuel. In Zambia, as in many of its neighbouring countries, miombo woodlands are currently experiencing accelerating degradation and clearing, mostly with charcoal production as the initial driver. Domestic energy needs in the growing urban areas are largely satisfied by charcoal, which is less energy-efficient fuel on a tree-to-table basis than the firewood that is used in rural areas, but has a higher energy density and is thus cheaper to transport. This study uses data from inventories and from eddy covariance measurements of carbon exchange to characterize the impact of charcoal production on miombo woodlands. We address the following questions: (i) how much carbon is lost at local as well as at national scale and (ii) does forest degradation result in the loss of a carbon sink? On the basis of our data we (iii) estimate the per capita emissions through deforestation and forest degradation in Zambia and relate it to fossil fuel emissions. Furthermore, (iv) a rough estimate of the energy that is provided by charcoal production to private households at a national level is calculated and (v) options for alternative energy supply to private households are discussed.

  12. African-American Biography.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Martin, Ron

    1995-01-01

    Suggests sources of information for African American History Month for library media specialists who work with students in grades four through eight. Gale Research's "African-American Reference Library," which includes "African-America Biography,""African-American Chronology," and "African-American Almanac,"…

  13. A Cretaceous origin for fire adaptations in the Cape flora.

    PubMed

    He, Tianhua; Lamont, Byron B; Manning, John

    2016-10-05

    Fire has had a profound effect on the evolution of worldwide biotas. The Cape Floristic Region is one of the world's most species-rich regions, yet it is highly prone to recurrent fires and fire-adapted species contribute strongly to the overall flora. It is hypothesized that the current fire regimes in the Cape could be as old as 6-8 million years (My), while indirect evidence indicates that the onset of fire could have reached 18 million years ago (Ma). Here, we trace the origin of fire-dependent traits in two monocot families that are significant elements in the fire-prone Cape flora. Our analysis shows that fire-stimulated flowering originated in the Cape Haemodoraceae 81 Ma, while fire-stimulated germination arose in the African Restionaceae at least 70 Ma, implying that wildfires have been a significant force in the evolution of the Cape flora at least 60 My earlier than previous estimates. Our results provide strong evidence for the presence of fire adaptations in the Cape from the Cretaceous, leading to the extraordinary persistence of a fire-adapted flora in this biodiversity hotspot, and giving support to the hypothesis that Cretaceous fire was a global phenomenon that shaped the evolution of terrestrial floras.

  14. A Cretaceous origin for fire adaptations in the Cape flora

    PubMed Central

    He, Tianhua; Lamont, Byron B.; Manning, John

    2016-01-01

    Fire has had a profound effect on the evolution of worldwide biotas. The Cape Floristic Region is one of the world’s most species-rich regions, yet it is highly prone to recurrent fires and fire-adapted species contribute strongly to the overall flora. It is hypothesized that the current fire regimes in the Cape could be as old as 6–8 million years (My), while indirect evidence indicates that the onset of fire could have reached 18 million years ago (Ma). Here, we trace the origin of fire-dependent traits in two monocot families that are significant elements in the fire-prone Cape flora. Our analysis shows that fire-stimulated flowering originated in the Cape Haemodoraceae 81 Ma, while fire-stimulated germination arose in the African Restionaceae at least 70 Ma, implying that wildfires have been a significant force in the evolution of the Cape flora at least 60 My earlier than previous estimates. Our results provide strong evidence for the presence of fire adaptations in the Cape from the Cretaceous, leading to the extraordinary persistence of a fire-adapted flora in this biodiversity hotspot, and giving support to the hypothesis that Cretaceous fire was a global phenomenon that shaped the evolution of terrestrial floras. PMID:27703273

  15. The empirical relationship between satellite-derived tropospheric NO2 and fire radiative power and possible implications for fire emission rates of NOx

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schreier, Stefan F.; Richter, Andreas; Kaiser, Johannes W.; Schepaschenko, Dmitry; Shvidenko, Anatoly; Hilboll, Andreas; Burrows, John P.

    2014-05-01

    Vegetation fires across the globe have various impacts on Earth systems such as the atmosphere and biosphere. Every year, large quantities of biomass in different ecosystems are burned, either started by lightning strikes or caused by humans. Consequently, a considerable amount of trace gases (e.g. NOx) and aerosols is released into the atmosphere. As nitrogen oxides (NOx) affect atmospheric chemistry, air quality, and climate, a quantification of the total emissions is needed. Although several approaches have been developed for the estimation of NOx emissions from fires, they still suffer from large uncertainties. We present a simple statistical approach to estimate fire emission rates (FERs) of NOx based on the linear relationship between satellite-observed tropospheric NO2 vertical columns (TVC NO2) and fire radiative power (FRP). While the great advantage of the method is the spatial coverage of FERs and the application to various biomes and regions, the uncertainties in the two retrieved parameters can lead to uncertainties in the FERs. In general, the approach performs well for the tropical and subtropical regions where both the number and the spatial extent of vegetation fires are rather large throughout the fire season. However, due to the smaller number of fires and the patchy spatial occurrence, the estimation of FERs is more complicated in the boreal regions. Nevertheless, it is possible to derive FERs for some characteristic regions in the North American and Eurasian part of the boreal forest biome. The estimated FERs of NOx for the dominating types of vegetation burned are lowest for open shrublands, savannas, and boreal forest (0.28-1.03 g NOx s-1 MW-1) and highest for croplands and woody savannas (0.82-1.56 g NOx s-1 MW-1). Interestingly, there are large regional discrepancies of up to 40 % observed for evergreen broadleaf forest and boreal forest. Possible explanations for these regional discrepancies are discussed.

  16. Analysis of the pattern of potential woody cover in Texas savanna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Xuebin; Crews, Kelley A.; Yan, Bowei

    2016-10-01

    While woody plant encroachment has been observed worldwide in savannas and adversely affected the ecosystem structure and function, a thorough understanding of the nature of this phenomenon is urgently required for savanna management and restoration. Among others, potential woody cover (the maximum realizable woody cover that a given site can support), especially its variation over environment has huge implication on the encroachment management in particular, and on tree-grass interactions in general. This project was designed to explore the pattern of potential woody cover in Texas savanna, an ecosystem with a large rainfall gradient in west-east direction. Substantial random pixels were sampled across the study area from MODIS Vegetation Continuous Fields (VCF) tree cover layer (250 m). Since potential woody cover is suggested to be limited by water availability, a nonlinear 99th quantile regression was performed between the observed woody cover and mean annual precipitation (MAP) to model the pattern of potential woody cover. Research result suggests a segmented relationship between potential woody cover and MAP at MODIS scale. Potential biases as well as the practical and theoretical implications were discussed. Through this study, the hypothesis about the primary role of water availability in determining savanna woody cover was further confirmed in a relatively understudied US-located savanna.

  17. The role of fire in deep time ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scott, Andrew C.; Bond, William J.; Collinson, Margaret E.; Glasspool, Ian J.; Brown, Sarah; Braman, Dennis R.

    2010-05-01

    Fires are very widespread in the world today and fire has also been common in the deep past. Fire is important in structuring contemporary World vegetation maintaining extensive open vegetation where the climate has the potential to support closed forests. The influence of fire on the structure of vegetation and plant traits present in a community vary depending on the fire regime. The fire regime is the characteristic pattern of fire frequency, severity (amount of biomass removed) and spatial extent. Fire regimes depend on the synergy between external physical factors and the properties of vegetation. Changes in the fire regime can be brought about by changes in external conditions such as climate, but also by changes in vegetation such as changes in flammability or productivity that influence the amount of fuel. For example, invasion of grasses into closed wooded habitats has initiated a ‘grass fire cycle' in many parts of the world triggering cascading changes in vegetation structure and composition from forest to open grassland or savanna woodland. The spread of flammable invasive species, especially grasses, has even altered fire regimes of fire-dependent flammable communities causing catastrophic ecosystem changes. We suggest that the spread of angiosperms in the Cretaceous was promoted by the development of novel fire regimes linked to the evolution of novel, highly productive (and flammable) plants. Within the limits of physical constraints on fire occurrence, Cretaceous angiosperms would have initiated a positive feedback analogous to the grass-fire cycle rapidly accumulating fuel that promoted more frequent fires, which maintained open habitats in which rapid growth-traits of angiosperms would be most favoured promoting rapid fuel accumulation etc. Frequent fires would have altered vegetation structure and composition both by increasing mortality rates of fire-damaged trees and reducing recruitment rates of seedlings and saplings where fires recurred

  18. Density as an explanatory variable of movements and calf survival in savanna elephants across southern Africa.

    PubMed

    Young, K D; Van Aarde, R J

    2010-05-01

    1. Southern Africa's 'elephant problem' is often attributed to an overabundance of elephants (Loxodonta africana) in conservation areas. Paradoxically, the African elephant is listed as 'vulnerable' (IUCN Redlist) despite occupying a large geographical range and numbering about 600 000. How densities influence elephant populations is therefore important for conservation management decisions, particularly because a move towards non-equilibrium management of savannas implies a need for elephant populations to fluctuate in response to variation in intrinsic (demographic) and extrinsic (resource) factors. 2. A study on one of the world's largest elephant populations demonstrated that population regulation is driven by a spatial response to water availability, environmental stochasticity and density. The challenge remains to identify the demographic and behavioural variables that drive density dependence. 3. We evaluated whether the movements of elephant family groups from 13 populations across a wide resource gradient were explained by variability in primary productivity, rainfall and population density. We then assessed whether density-related movements explained variability in juvenile survival, hence inferring a spatially driven behavioural mechanism that may explain density-dependent population growth. We also analysed whether management actions modified this mechanism. 4. In the dry season, daily-displacement distances (DDDs) increased non-linearly with density, and declined with increased vegetation productivity and previous wet season rainfall. In the wet season, DDDs were primarily explained by vegetation productivity. 5. The survival of weaned calves (4-7 years) decreased with increasing dry season DDDs, but this did not hold for suckling calves (1-3 years) or sub-adults (8-11 years). 6. Fences and supplementary water modified the shape and strength of relationships between DDDs and densities, vegetation productivity and rainfall and negated the relationships

  19. African Trypanosomiasis

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-06-01

    infection by protozoan hemo- flagellates of the Trypanosoma brucei complex, 2 subspe- cies of which cause disease in humans: Trypanosoma bru- cei gambiense...public release; distribution unlimited 13. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES See also ADA545141. Chapter 3 from e-book, Topics on the Pathology of Protozoan and...the brief ferry crossing. 2 3 • Topics on The paThology of proTozoan and invasive arThropod diseases Three severe epidemics of African trypanosomiasis

  20. Fire and grazing impacts on plant diversity and alien plant invasions in the southern Sierra Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Keeley, Jon E.; Lubin, Daniel; Fotheringham, C.J.

    2003-01-01

    Patterns of native and alien plant diversity in response to disturbance were examined along an elevational gradient in blue oak savanna, chaparral, and coniferous forests. Total species richness, alien species richness, and alien cover declined with elevation, at scales from 1 to 1000 m2. We found no support for the hypothesis that community diversity inhibits alien invasion. At the 1-m2 point scale, where we would expect competitive interactions between the largely herbaceous flora to be most intense, alien species richness as well as alien cover increased with increasing native species richness in all communities. This suggests that aliens are limited not by the number of native competitors, but by resources that affect establishment of both natives and aliens.Blue oak savannas were heavily dominated by alien species and consistently had more alien than native species at the 1-m2 scale. All of these aliens are annuals, and it is widely thought that they have displaced native bunchgrasses. If true, this means that aliens have greatly increased species richness. Alternatively, there is a rich regional flora of native annual forbs that could have dominated these grasslands prior to displacement by alien grasses. On our sites, livestock grazing increased the number of alien species and alien cover only slightly over that of sites free of livestock grazing for more than a century, indicating some level of permanency to this invasion.In chaparral, both diversity and aliens increased markedly several years after fire. Invasive species are rare in undisturbed shrublands, and alien propagules fail to survive the natural crown fires in these ecosystems. Thus, aliens necessarily must colonize after fire and, as a consequence, time since fire is an important determinant of invasive presence. Blue oak savannas are an important propagule source for alien species because they maintain permanent populations of all alien species encountered in postfire chaparral, and because the

  1. Defining global syndromes of fire and the relationship of these to biomes, climate and human activity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lehmann, C.; Archibald, S.; Gomez-Dans, J.; Bradstock, R.

    2012-12-01

    . There were, however, striking correlations between particular pyromes and biomes. For example frequent, intense, large fires were associated with grasslands and tropical savanna in 75% of instances. Rare intense, large fires were dominantly associated with boreal forests. Crucially, we identified a fifth pyrome that we consider to represent human-engineered modifications to fire characteristics. This pyrome, characterised by infrequent, cool, small fires that can occur throughout the year, occurs within all biomes, and was dominant in regions of extensive land transformation. Our research presents a conceptual framework that may help develop capacity to predict future fire, as our analysis suggests that pathways of change in future fire regimes are unlikely to be unilaterally responsive to climate in a deterministic way.

  2. Health assessment for Savanna Army Depot, Savanna, Carroll County, Illinois, Region 5. CERCLIS No. IL0213820376. Preliminary report

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1989-01-19

    The Savanna Army Depot Activity (SADA) is on the National Priorities List. The 13,000-acre facility is an Army munitions plant engaged in munitions renovation and loading, and demolition and burning. About 20 areas within the facility have been identified as potential sources of hazardous waste. The environmental contamination on-site (maximum concentrations reported) consists of chloroform (20 ppb), trinitrotoluene or TNT (29 percent), trinitrobenzene or TNB (2,770 ppb), 2,6-dinitrotoluene or 2,6-DNT (1,400 ppb), 2-amino-4,6-dinitrotoluene (300,000 ppb), and 2,4-dinitrotoluene (94,200 ppb) in sediment; TNB (1,400 ppb), TNT (314 ppb), 2,4-DNT (113 ppb), trichloroethylene or TCE (20 ppb), chloroform (20 ppb), and nickel (185 ppb) in ground water; TNT (50 percent), 2,4-DNT (673 ppb), and cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine or RDX (12,300 ppb), and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs (greater than 59,000,000 ppb) in soil; and RDX (36,900 ppb) and TNT (16,600 ppb) in surface water. The site is considered to be of potential public health concern because of the risk to human health caused by the possibility of exposure to hazardous substances via ground water, surface water, soil, sediment, and air.

  3. Fire Maintenance and Logistics Analysis (Fire Main)

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1989-07-01

    medical evacuation, (2) supply transportation, (3) fire / water bucket support, (4) troop movement, and (&) miscei~areojs. Tabi .1-1. shows the...operation. On average, for the 4-12 September fierce fire fighting period, 44 percent of the helicopters were used for fire / water bucket operations, 2P...the operation. As expected the largest percentage of the helicopters were used for fire / water bucket operations during both the fierce fire fighting

  4. Dynamics of Vegetatin Indices in Tropical and Subtropical Savannas Defined by Ecoregions and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectoradiometer (MODIS) Land Cover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hill, Michael J.; Roman, Miguel O.; Schaaf, Crytal B.

    2011-01-01

    In this study, we explored the capacity of vegetation indices derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) reflectance products to characterize global savannas in Australia, Africa and South America. The savannas were spatially defined and subdivided using the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) global ecoregions and MODIS land cover classes. Average annual profiles of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, shortwave infrared ratio (SWIR32), White Sky Albedo (WSA) and the Structural Scattering Index (SSI) were created. Metrics derived from average annual profiles of vegetation indices were used to classify savanna ecoregions. The response spaces between vegetation indices were used to examine the potential to derive structural and fractional cover measures. The ecoregions showed distinct temporal profiles and formed groups with similar structural properties, including higher levels of woody vegetation, similar forest savanna mixtures and similar grassland predominance. The potential benefits from the use of combinations of indices to characterize savannas are discussed.

  5. Zaca Fire

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2007-01-01

    On August 7, 2007, the Zaca fire continued to burn in the Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara, California. The fire started more than a month ago, on July 4, and has burned 69,800 acres. The fire remains in steep, rocky terrain with poor access. The continued poor access makes containment difficult in the wilderness area on the eastern flank. So far only one outbuilding has been destroyed; but over 450 homes are currently threatened. Over 2300 fire personnel, aided by four air tankers and 15 helicopters, are working to contain this massive fire. Full containment is expected on September 1.

    The image covers 45.2 x 46.1 km, and is centered near 34.6 degrees north latitude, 119.7 degrees west longitude.

    With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region, and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90 meters (about 50 to 300 feet), ASTER images Earth to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet.

    ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched December 18, 1999, on NASA's Terra spacecraft. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and the data products.

    The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER provides scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping, and monitoring of dynamic conditions and temporal change. Example applications are: monitoring glacial advances and retreats; monitoring potentially active volcanoes; identifying crop stress; determining cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.

    The U.S. science team is located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission

  6. Nutrient dynamics and plant assemblages of Macrotermes falciger mounds in a savanna ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muvengwi, Justice; Ndagurwa, Hilton G. T.; Nyenda, Tatenda; Mbiba, Monicah

    2016-10-01

    Termites through mound construction and foraging activities contribute significantly to carbon and nutrient fluxes in nutrient-poor savannas. Despite this recognition, studies on the influence of termite mounds on carbon and nitrogen dynamics in sub-tropical savannas are limited. In this regard, we examined soil nutrient concentrations, organic carbon and nitrogen mineralization in incubation experiments in mounds of Macrotermes falciger and surrounding soils of sub-tropical savanna, northeast Zimbabwe. We also addressed whether termite mounds altered the plant community and if effects were similar across functional groups i.e. grasses, forbs or woody plants. Mound soils had significantly higher silt and clay content, pH and concentrations of calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), potassium (K), organic carbon (C), ammonium (NH4+) and nitrate (NO3-) than surrounding soils, with marginal differences in phosphorus (P) and sodium (Na) between mounds and matrix soils. Nutrient enrichment increased by a factor ranging from 1.5 for C, 4.9 for Mg up to 10.3 for Ca. Although C mineralization, nitrification and nitrification fraction were similar between mounds and matrix soils, nitrogen mineralization was elevated on mounds relative to surrounding matrix soils. As a result, termite mounds supported unique plant communities rich and abundant in woody species but less diverse in grasses and forbs than the surrounding savanna matrix in response to mound-induced shifts in soil parameters specifically increased clay content, drainage and water availability, nutrient status and base cation (mainly Ca, Mg and Na) concentration. In conclusion, by altering soil properties such as texture, moisture content and nutrient status, termite mounds can alter the structure and composition of sub-tropical savanna plant communities, and these results are consistent with findings in other savanna systems suggesting that increase in soil clay content, nutrient status and associated changes in the plant

  7. Contrasting photosynthetic characteristics of forest vs. savanna species (Far North Queensland, Australia)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bloomfield, K. J.; Domingues, T. F.; Saiz, G.; Bird, M. I.; Crayn, D. M.; Ford, A.; Metcalfe, D. J.; Farquhar, G. D.; Lloyd, J.

    2014-12-01

    Forest and savanna are the two dominant vegetation types of the tropical regions with very few tree species common to both. At a broad scale, it has long been recognised that the distributions of these two biomes are principally governed by precipitation and its seasonality, but with soil physical and chemical properties also potentially important. For tree species drawn from a range of forest and savanna sites in tropical Far North Queensland, Australia, we compared leaf traits of photosynthetic capacity, structure and nutrient concentrations. Area-based photosynthetic capacity was higher for the savanna species with a steeper slope to the photosynthesis ↔ nitrogen (N) relationship compared with the forest group. Higher leaf mass per unit leaf area for the savanna trees derived from denser rather than thicker leaves and did not appear to restrict rates of light-saturated photosynthesis when expressed on either an area or mass basis. Median ratios of foliar N to phosphorus (P) were relatively high (>20) at all sites, but we found no evidence for a dominant P limitation of photosynthesis for either forest or savanna trees. A parsimonious mixed-effects model of area-based photosynthetic capacity retained vegetation type and both N and P as explanatory terms. Resulting model-fitted predictions suggested a good fit to the observed data (R2 = 0.82). The model's random component found variation in area-based photosynthetic response to be much greater among species (71% of response variance) than across sites (9%). These results suggest that, on a leaf-area basis, savanna trees of Far North Queensland, Australia, are capable of photosynthetically outperforming forest species at their common boundaries.

  8. The ecohydrologic significance of hydraulic redistribution in a semiarid savanna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scott, Russell L.; Cable, William L.; Hultine, Kevin R.

    2008-02-01

    Recent studies have illuminated the process of hydraulic redistribution, defined as the translocation of soil moisture via plant root systems, but the long-term ecohydrologic significance of this process is poorly understood. We investigated hydraulic redistribution (HR) by Prosopis velutina Woot. (velvet mesquite) in an upland savanna ecosystem over a two-year period. Our goal was to quantify patterns of HR by mesquite roots and assess how this affects tree water use and productivity. We used the heat ratio method to monitor bi-directional sap flow, an analog of HR, in both lateral and tap roots. Additionally, we monitored soil water content and used the eddy covariance technique to quantify ecosystem carbon dioxide and water exchange. Mesquite roots redistributed large amounts of water throughout the year, even during periods of canopy dormancy. Dormant season precipitation (November-March) was often taken up by shallow lateral roots and transferred downward in the soil profile by deeper lateral and tap roots. Such a transfer was also apparent when the trees were active and moisture from summer rainfall was plant available in the upper soil layers. As the upper soil layers dried, sap flow moving toward the canopy in the lateral roots diminished and water use from deeper soils increased via the taproots. The relationship between root sap flow and above-canopy fluxes suggested that deeper "stored" water from HR allowed the trees to transpire more in the spring that followed a winter with significant downward redistribution. Patterns of lateral and tap root sap flow also implied that redistribution may extend the growing season of the trees after summer rains have ended and surface soils are dry, thus allowing the trees to photosynthesize through periods of seasonal drought. The large hydrologic magnitude and the ecological effects of HR we studied, along with mounting evidence of this process occurring in many other ecosystems, indicates that HR should be accounted

  9. Rapid Leaf Deployment Strategies in a Deciduous Savanna

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Deciduous plants avoid the costs of maintaining leaves in the unfavourable season, but carry the costs of constructing new leaves every year. Deciduousness is therefore expected in ecological situations with pronounced seasonality and low costs of leaf construction. In our study system, a seasonally dry tropical savanna, many trees are deciduous, suggesting that leaf construction costs must be low. Previous studies have, however, shown that nitrogen is limiting in this system, suggesting that leaf construction costs are high. Here we examine this conundrum using a time series of soil moisture availability, leaf phenology and nitrogen distribution in the tree canopy to illustrate how trees resorb nitrogen before leaf abscission and use stored reserves of nitrogen and carbon to construct new leaves at the onset of the growing season. Our results show that trees deployed leaves shortly before and in anticipation of the first rains with its associated pulse of nitrogen mineralisation. Our results also show that trees rapidly constructed a full canopy of leaves within two weeks of the first rains. We detected an increase in leaf nitrogen content that corresponded with the first rains and with the movement of nitrogen to more distal branches, suggesting that stored nitrogen reserves are used to construct leaves. Furthermore the stable carbon isotope ratios (δ13C) of these leaves suggest the use of stored carbon for leaf construction. Our findings suggest that the early deployment of leaves using stored nitrogen and carbon reserves is a strategy that is integrally linked with the onset of the first rains. This strategy may confer a competitive advantage over species that deploy leaves at or after the onset of the rains. PMID:27310398

  10. Fire suppressing apparatus. [sodium fires

    DOEpatents

    Buttrey, K.E.

    1980-12-19

    Apparatus for smothering a liquid sodium fire comprises a pan, a perforated cover on the pan, and tubed depending from the cover and providing communication between the interior of the pan and the ambient atmosphere through the perforations in the cover. Liquid caught in the pan rises above the lower ends of the tubes and thus serves as a barrier which limits the amount of air entering the pan.

  11. Fire Safety Training Handbook.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Montgomery County Dept. of Fire and Rescue Services, Rockville, MD. Div. of Fire Prevention.

    Designed for a community fire education effort, particularly in which local volunteers present general information on fire safety to their fellow citizens, this workbook contains nine lessons. Included are an overview of the household fire problem; instruction in basic chemistry and physics of fire, flammable liquids, portable fire extinguishers,…

  12. FIRE ALARM SYSTEM OUTDATED.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    CHANDLER, L.T.

    AN EFFICIENT FIRE ALARM SYSTEM SHOULD--(1) PROVIDE WARNING OF FIRES THAT START IN HIDDEN OR UNOCCUPIED LOCATIONS, (2) INDICATE WHERE THE FIRE IS, (3) GIVE ADVANCE WARNING TO FACULTY AND ADMINISTRATION SO THAT PANIC AND CONFUSION CAN BE AVOIDED AND ORDERLY EVACUATION OCCUR, (4) AUTOMATICALLY NOTIFY CITY FIRE HEADQUARTERS OF THE FIRE, (5) OPERATE BY…

  13. 46 CFR 28.820 - Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... water from a hose connected to the highest outlet. The minimum capacity of the power fire pump shall be 50 gallons per minute at a pressure of not less than 60 pounds per square inch at the pump outlet. (1... 46 Shipping 1 2011-10-01 2011-10-01 false Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire...

  14. 46 CFR 28.820 - Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... water from a hose connected to the highest outlet. The minimum capacity of the power fire pump shall be 50 gallons per minute at a pressure of not less than 60 pounds per square inch at the pump outlet. (1... 46 Shipping 1 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire...

  15. 46 CFR 28.820 - Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... water from a hose connected to the highest outlet. The minimum capacity of the power fire pump shall be 50 gallons per minute at a pressure of not less than 60 pounds per square inch at the pump outlet. (1... 46 Shipping 1 2012-10-01 2012-10-01 false Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire...

  16. 46 CFR 28.820 - Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire hoses.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... water from a hose connected to the highest outlet. The minimum capacity of the power fire pump shall be 50 gallons per minute at a pressure of not less than 60 pounds per square inch at the pump outlet. (1... 46 Shipping 1 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false Fire pumps, fire mains, fire hydrants, and fire...

  17. Where's the Fire?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Needham, Dorothy

    1977-01-01

    National Fire Protection Week is a perfect time for launching a fire safety learning center. The activities described here are intended to help children recognize fire hazards in their homes, play areas and public buildings; learn how to act intelligently in fire emergencies; be able to share their knowledge of fire safety with others and…

  18. Fire Protection for Buildings

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Edmunds, Jane

    1972-01-01

    Reviews attack on fire safety in high rise buildings made by a group of experts representing the iron and steel industry at a recent conference. According to one expert, fire problems are people oriented, which calls for emphasis on fire prevention rather than reliance on fire suppression and for fire pretection to be built into a structure.…

  19. Triangulating the provenance of African elephants using mitochondrial DNA

    PubMed Central

    Ishida, Yasuko; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; Hondo, Tomoko; Roca, Alfred L

    2013-01-01

    African elephant mitochondrial (mt) DNA follows a distinctive evolutionary trajectory. As females do not migrate between elephant herds, mtDNA exhibits low geographic dispersal. We therefore examined the effectiveness of mtDNA for assigning the provenance of African elephants (or their ivory). For 653 savanna and forest elephants from 22 localities in 13 countries, 4258 bp of mtDNA was sequenced. We detected eight mtDNA subclades, of which seven had regionally restricted distributions. Among 108 unique haplotypes identified, 72% were found at only one locality and 84% were country specific, while 44% of individuals carried a haplotype detected only at their sampling locality. We combined 316 bp of our control region sequences with those generated by previous trans-national surveys of African elephants. Among 101 unique control region haplotypes detected in African elephants across 81 locations in 22 countries, 62% were present in only a single country. Applying our mtDNA results to a previous microsatellite-based assignment study would improve estimates of the provenance of elephants in 115 of 122 mis-assigned cases. Nuclear partitioning followed species boundaries and not mtDNA subclade boundaries. For taxa such as elephants in which nuclear and mtDNA markers differ in phylogeography, combining the two markers can triangulate the origins of confiscated wildlife products. PMID:23798975

  20. Individual Aerosol Particle Types Produced by Savanna Burning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Posfai, M.; Simonics, R.; Li, J.; Hobbs, P. V.; Buseck, P. R.; Buseck, P. R.

    2001-12-01

    We used analytical transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to study individual aerosol particles that were collected on the University of Washington Convair-580 research aircraft over southern Africa during the Safari2000 Dry Season Experiment. Our goals were to study the compositions, morphologies, and mixing states of carbonaceous particles, in order to better understand the physical and chemical properties of biomass smoke on the individual-particle level. The compositions of single particles were determined using energy-dispersive x-ray spectrometry (EDS) and electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS). Energy-loss maps obtained with the TEM are useful for studying the spatial distribution of light elements such as carbon within the particles; thus, they provide a detailed picture of complex particles. Carbonaceous particles were assigned into three main groups on the basis of morphology and composition: "organic particles with inorganic inclusions," "tar balls," and "soot." Soot is recognized by its characteristic morphology and microstructure. The distinction between "organic particles with inorganic inclusions" and "tar balls" is somewhat arbitrary, since the two criteria that are used for their distinction (composition and aspect ratio) change continually. The relative concentrations of the three major particle types vary with the type of fire and distance from fire. In the plume of a smoldering fire west of Beria (August 31) the relative concentration of tar balls increased with aging of the plume. Tar balls have a fairly narrow size distribution with a maximum between 100 and 200 nm (diameter). The inorganic K-salt inclusions (KCl, K2SO4, KNO3) within "organic particles" should make these particles hygroscopic, regardless of the properties of the organic compounds. Aging causes the conversion of KCl into K2SO4, KNO3. Aerosol production from flaming and smoldering fires was compared over Kruger National Park on August 17; more soot and more Cl-rich inclusions

  1. Fire safety at home

    MedlinePlus

    ... over the smoke alarm as needed. Using a fire extinguisher can put out a small fire to keep it from getting out of control. Tips for use include: Keep fire extinguishers in handy locations, at least one on ...

  2. FIRE Data and Information

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2015-11-13

    ... a series of field missions which have collected cirrus and marine stratocumulus cloud parameters from aircraft, satellite and ... FIRE I - Cirrus Home Page FIRE I - Marine Stratocumulus Home Page FIRE I - Extended Time Observations ...

  3. Home Fires Involving Grills

    MedlinePlus

    ... fires were fueled by gas while 13% used charcoal or other solid fuel. Gas grills were involved ... structure fires and 4,300 outdoor fires annually. Charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in ...

  4. Vulnerability and Resilience of Temperate Forest Landscapes to Broad-Scale Deforestation in Response to Changing Fire Regimes and Altered Post-Fire Vegetation Dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tepley, A. J.; Veblen, T. T.; Perry, G.; Anderson-Teixeira, K. J.

    2015-12-01

    In the face of on-going climatic warming and land-use change, there is growing concern that temperate forest landscapes could be near a tipping point where relatively small changes to the fire regime or altered post-fire vegetation dynamics could lead to extensive conversion to shrublands or savannas. To evaluate vulnerability and resilience to such conversion, we develop a simple model based on three factors we hypothesize to be key in predicting temperate forest responses to changing fire regimes: (1) the hazard rate (i.e., the probability of burning in the next year given the time since the last fire) in closed-canopy forests, (2) the hazard rate for recently-burned, open-canopy vegetation, and (3) the time to redevelop canopy closure following fire. We generate a response surface representing the proportions of the landscape potentially supporting closed-canopy forest and non-forest vegetation under nearly all combinations of these three factors. We then place real landscapes on this response surface to assess the type and magnitude of changes to the fire regime that would drive extensive forest loss. We show that the deforestation of much of New Zealand that followed initial human colonization and the introduction of a new ignition source ca. 750 years ago was essentially inevitable due to the slow rate of forest recovery after fire and the high flammability of post-fire vegetation. In North America's Pacific Northwest, by contrast, a predominantly forested landscape persisted despite two periods of widespread burning in the recent past due in large part to faster post-fire forest recovery and less pronounced differences in flammability between forests and the post-fire vegetation. We also assess the factors that could drive extensive deforestation in other regions to identify where management could reduce this potential and to guide field and modeling work to better understand the responses and ecological feedbacks to changing fire regimes.

  5. Trace gas emissions from biomass burning in tropical Australian savannas

    SciTech Connect

    Hurst, D.F.; Griffith, D.W.T.; Cook, G.D.

    1994-08-20

    The trace gas emissions of biomass burning was measured during the 1991 and 1992 dry seasons (April through October) at the Kapalga Research Station in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia. Over 100 smoke samples from savannah fires were collected, from the ground and from aircraft flying at 50 to 700 meters above the fires. The samples were analyzed for carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, and other carbon and nitrogen compounds using gas phase Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, matrix isolation FTIR spectroscopy, and chemiluminescence techniques. This paper describes the results of the gas analyses and discusses the potential impacts of these gases on regional atmospheric chemistry.49 refs., 4 figs., 7 tabs.

  6. African Outreach Workshop 1974.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schmidt, Nancy J.

    This report discusses the 1974 African Outreach Workshop planned and coordinated by the African Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Its major aim was to assist teachers in developing curriculum units on African using materials available in their local community. A second aim was for the African Studies Program to…

  7. Africans in America.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hart, Ayanna; Spangler, Earl

    This book introduces African-American history and culture to children. The first Africans in America came from many different regions and cultures, but became united in this country by being black, African, and slaves. Once in America, Africans began a long struggle for freedom which still continues. Slavery, the Civil War, emancipation, and the…

  8. A summary of the scientific literature on the effects of fire on the concentration of nutrients in surface waters

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ranalli, Anthony J.

    2004-01-01

    This paper provides a detailed review of the chemical changes that occur in soil during a fire, the pathways by which nutrients are transferred from soil to surface-water bodies following a fire, and the temporal and spatial effects of fires on the concentration of nutrients in surface-water bodies during and following a fire that have been reported in the scientific literature. Thirty-nine papers from the scientific literature that represent studies that (1) were done in a variety of environments (savannas, grasslands, temperate forests, alpine forests, and so forth); (2) had a range of sampling frequency and duration, such as during and immediately following a fire (from the start of fire to 1 year later), short-term sampling (from end of fire to 3 years later), and long term-sampling (sampling for greater than 3 years following a fire); and (3) incorporated watersheds with various burn intensities, severities, and histories were reviewed and summarized. The review of the scientific literature has revealed that measurable effects of fires on streamwater quality are most likely to occur if the fire was severe enough to burn large amounts of organic matter, if windy conditions were present during the fire, if heavy rain occurred following the fire, and if the fire occurred in a watershed with steep slopes and soils with little cation-exchange capacity. Measurable effects of fires on lake- and reservoir-water quality are most likely to occur if, in addition to the factors listed for streams, the lake or reservoir is oligotrophic or mesotrophic and the residence time of water in the lake or reservoir is short relative to the length of time elevated concentrations of nutrients occur in runoff. Knowledge of whether a lake or reservoir is nitrogen or phosphorus limited is important because eutrophication of nitrogen-limited lakes may occur following a fire due to increasing nitrogen:phosphorus ratios caused by prolonged increases of nitrogen concentrations, especially

  9. Simulating Groundwater-Plant-Atmosphere Interactions in a Semiarid Savanna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gou, S.; Miller, G. R.

    2013-12-01

    Groundwater serves as one of the main water sources for deep rooted phreatophytic vegetation. Such vegetation acts as the linkage between groundwater, land surface and atmosphere. Through plant groundwater uptake and hydraulic redistribution (HR), the dynamics of relatively deep groundwater can influence ET and soil moisture of top soil layers. In this work, we first developed a plant scale model to simulate groundwater uptake and HR driven by the potential gradients along the groundwater-soil-plant-atmosphere continuum (GSPAC). The model included a new plant water stress function based on the 'vulnerability curve' theory in order to integrate the influences of both soil water and groundwater on transpiration. The model was calibrated and validated with measured ET, soil moisture, and leaf water potential data and was able to capture both energy and water dynamics along the GSPAC. We then coupled this plant scale model into a spatial distributed groundwater-land surface model (ParFlow.CLM). The revisions to ParFlow.CLM allow it to explicitly describe root water uptake and HR of different species, allowing for the study of how plant groundwater use and HR influence regional water budget and climate. This new uptake formulation was applied to simulate a heterogeneous savanna system at an AmeriFlux site in California. The site is dominated by blue oaks which can access both soil water and groundwater and grasses which only depend on soil water. The results match previous field measurements indicating that the oaks use most soil water during wet season and switch to groundwater use in dry season to buffer the impacts of drought. Therefore, the water and energy dynamics at this site showed the soil moisture controlled pattern in wet season, and the vegetation and groundwater controlled pattern in dry season. With HR, the rainfall is distributed into deeper soil in wet season by hydraulic descent. Such water will be lifted into shallower soil to promote transpiration in

  10. Grassland, shrubland and savanna stewardship: where do we go from here?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Scientific efforts to understand grasslands, shrublands and savannas and thereby develop sustainable management practices are roughly 100 years old. What have we learned in that time? Several assumptions made by scientists and policymakers early in the 20th century have proved mistaken, resulting in...

  11. Sustainable Land Management and Adult Education: Issues for the Stakeholders of Australia's Tropical Savannas.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Benson, Rebecca

    1998-01-01

    Sustainable land management is an important consideration for stakeholders in Australia's tropical savannas. Land-management-education providers must deal with issues of access and the impact of values and perceptions on behavior. Adult educators must take on the role of negotiating attitudes and beliefs among stakeholders. (SK)

  12. RELATIONSHIP OF MICROBIAL COMMUNITY STRUCTURE AND CARBON DYNAMICS IN SOILS FROM BRAZILIAN SAVANNAS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Fertilization is a widespread management practice in savanna areas of central Brazil (Cerrado) that are undergoing rapid agricultural land use changes. We conducted field and laboratory studies in soils with added fertilizers to determine the effect that fertilization of native a...

  13. Ecology and management of savannas and semi-deserts of central Argentina

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Vegetation of western pampas of central Argentina comprises: caldera, local name of a savanna to woodland ecosystem dominated by Prosopis caldenia; short-grassland and dune-grassland. The area include the central La Pampa and southern San Luis provinces, following a western precipitation gradient fr...

  14. STRUCTURE OF MICROBIAL COMMUNITIES IN NATIVE AND CONVERTED SAVANNA AREAS OF CENTRAL BRAZIL

    EPA Science Inventory

    Brazilian savannas (Cerrado) have suffered drastic changes in land use with major conversion of native areas to agriculture since 1960. Burning, both due to natural conditions and as a human-induced practice, is a common event during the dry season (April to September) and plays ...

  15. Computational fire modeling for aircraft fire research

    SciTech Connect

    Nicolette, V.F.

    1996-11-01

    This report summarizes work performed by Sandia National Laboratories for the Federal Aviation Administration. The technical issues involved in fire modeling for aircraft fire research are identified, as well as computational fire tools for addressing those issues, and the research which is needed to advance those tools in order to address long-range needs. Fire field models are briefly reviewed, and the VULCAN model is selected for further evaluation. Calculations are performed with VULCAN to demonstrate its applicability to aircraft fire problems, and also to gain insight into the complex problem of fires involving aircraft. Simulations are conducted to investigate the influence of fire on an aircraft in a cross-wind. The interaction of the fuselage, wind, fire, and ground plane is investigated. Calculations are also performed utilizing a large eddy simulation (LES) capability to describe the large- scale turbulence instead of the more common k-{epsilon} turbulence model. Additional simulations are performed to investigate the static pressure and velocity distributions around a fuselage in a cross-wind, with and without fire. The results of these simulations provide qualitative insight into the complex interaction of a fuselage, fire, wind, and ground plane. Reasonable quantitative agreement is obtained in the few cases for which data or other modeling results exist Finally, VULCAN is used to quantify the impact of simplifying assumptions inherent in a risk assessment compatible fire model developed for open pool fire environments. The assumptions are seen to be of minor importance for the particular problem analyzed. This work demonstrates the utility of using a fire field model for assessing the limitations of simplified fire models. In conclusion, the application of computational fire modeling tools herein provides both qualitative and quantitative insights into the complex problem of aircraft in fires.

  16. A late-Quaternary perspective, on atmospheric pCO2, climate, and fire as drivers of C4-grass abundance.

    PubMed

    Urban, Michael A; Nelson, David M; Street-Perrott, F Alayne; Verschuren, Dirk; Hul, Feng Sheng

    2015-03-01

    Various environmental factors, including atmospheric CO2 (pCO2), regional climate, and fire, have been invoked as primary drivers of long-term variation in C4 grass abundance. Evaluating these hypotheses has been difficult because available paleorecords often lack information on past C4 grass abundance or potential environmental drivers. We analyzed carbon isotope ratios (delta13C) of individual grains of grass pollen in the sediments of two East African lakes to infer changes in the relative abundance of C3 vs. C4 grasses during the past 25 000 years. Results were compared with concurrent changes in pCO2, temperature, moisture balance, and fire activity. Our grass-pollen delta13C analysis reveals a dynamic history of grass-dominated vegetation in equatorial East Africa: C4 grasses have not consistently dominated lowland areas, and high-elevation grasses have not always been predominantly C3. On millennial timescales, C4 grass abundance does not correlate with charcoal influx at either site, suggesting that fire was not a major proximate control of the competitive balance between C3 and C4 grasses. Above the present-day treeline on Mt. Kenya, C4 grass abundance declined from an average of approximately 90% during the glacial period to less than approximately 60% throughout the Holocene, coincident with increases in pCO2 and temperature, and shifts in moisture balance. In the lowland savanna southeast of Mt. Kilimanjaro, C4 grass abundance showed no such directional trend, but fluctuated markedly in association with variation in rainfall amount and seasonal-drought severity. These results underscore spatiotemporal variability in the relative influence of pCO2 and climate on the interplay of C3 and C4 grasses and shed light on an emerging conceptual model regarding the expansion of C4-dominated grasslands in Earth's history. They also suggest that future changes in the C3/C4 composition of grass-dominated ecosystems will likely exhibit striking spatiotemporal

  17. Constraints on global fire activity vary across a resource gradient.

    PubMed

    Krawchuk, Meg A; Moritz, Max A

    2011-01-01

    We provide an empirical, global test of the varying constraints hypothesis, which predicts systematic heterogeneity in the relative importance of biomass resources to burn and atmospheric conditions suitable to burning (weather/climate) across a spatial gradient of long-term resource availability. Analyses were based on relationships between monthly global wildfire activity, soil moisture, and mid-tropospheric circulation data from 2001 to 2007, synthesized across a gradient of long-term averages in resources (net primary productivity), annual temperature, and terrestrial biome. We demonstrate support for the varying constraints hypothesis, showing that, while key biophysical factors must coincide for wildfires to occur, the relative influence of resources to burn and