A thought provoking article from the SANParks site.
Michele Hofmeyr, on the SANParks website wrote:
Trees and Grass in KNP: A Slow Silent War
Dr Ed February from the Department of Botany at the University of Cape Town is leading a team of researchers tackling the mystery of how trees and grass manage to live together in the face of competition for limited water and nutrient resources.
This work is an extension of the previously extensive Tree-Grass Program which has been running for the last five years in the Kruger National Park. This work brought to light the fact that the competition between trees and grasses is more complex than researchers initially thought. If fact, it is a slow silent war that rages between trees and grass in the veld and what determines who gets the upper hand has prompted further investigation.
“Savannas are a tropical vegetation type” explained Dr. February, “and form a wide band across the continents of the world. It is estimated that 12-14% of the worlds plant biomass falls within the savanna system. Yet despite this huge vegetation type, very little is known about the actual dynamics of the trees and grass. I have seen grass grow right up underneath trees and it doesn’t appear that there is any apparent competition and that trees don’t over shadow grasses”. So what are the dynamics that are involved here is the question that the research team is looking into.
Read the full article