By R. J. Scholes
Savannas hide nearly 1/2 the African land floor and one 5th of the land floor of the area. they're probably the most vital, yet least understood terrestrial ecosystems. they're the foundation of the African farm animals and the flora and fauna they help is of key significance in bringing in travelers. The Nylsvley sector in South Africa is likely one of the such a lot intensively studied savanna areas on the earth and as such it's a key resource of knowledge and concept when it comes to this significant tropical biome. The South African Savanna Biome Programme used to be arrange to advance the certainty essential to expect adjustments within the environment balance brought about via either average and man-made stresses. This booklet presents a synthesis of the programme's 16 years of analysis at Nylsvley and goals to enhance a unified imaginative and prescient of the ecology of the dry savanna.
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Additional info for An African Savanna: Synthesis of the Nylsvley Study
The Bushveld Igneous Complex formed a series of vast intrusions in the central Transvaal around 1950 My BP (Truswell 1970). It was overlaid in the northwest by sediments of the Waterberg system immediately thereafter, and in the northeast by the upper members (Stormberg Series sandstones and basalts) of the Karoo system about 200 My BP. The main bulk of the Waterberg plateau lies to the west of Nylsvley, and is thought to be a remnant of the African erosion surface (Cole 1986). To the east of Nylsvley, the Stormberg Series sandstones of the Karoo system are chemically quite similar to Waterberg sandstones.
The origin of this distinction will be discussed in Chapter 12; suffice it to say that it results in dramatic ecological differences. 1. There is a discernable vegetation sequence from the ridgetop down to the vlei margin, but it seems to be more associated with water status than soil fertility (Yeaton, Frost & Frost 1986). Because of their low clay content, the study site soils have a low water-holding capacity. Therefore, despite the low rainfall, significant amounts of water do percolate to the boundary with the underlying rock, which is abrupt.
Grass basal area data were collected by van Rooyen and Theron (1982) using a wheel-point apparatus (Tidmarsh & Havenga 1955). Two thousand points were evaluated in each of Lubke's five monitoring transects in 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982 and 1984. This technique does not detect non-grass species and gives no information about tuft size or density. Theron's nearest plant data give an indication of forb frequency. The mean tuft basal diameter is about 100 mm (Yeaton, Frost & Frost 1988), and is a function of time since the last burn.