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Forb community responses to an extensive drought in two contrasting land-use types of a semi-arid Lowveld savanna

Forb community responses to an extensive drought in two contrasting land-use types of a semi-arid... Projected increases in the frequency and severity of drought events are expected to impose changes in the ecology of native forb communities in semi-arid ecosystems. We examined the state of forb communities during, and directly after an extreme drought event across two contrasting land-use types, which included a protected area (high diversity of free roaming wild herbivores) and communal rangeland (long history of intensive cattle grazing) in a semi-arid Lowveld savanna of the Gazankulu area, South Africa. Forb floristic data were collected towards the end of the drought and repeated after the drought release a few months later. Forb community composition was significantly different among land-use types. Community changes were not induced by annual forb emergence alone, but through species-specific dominance shifts, which differed among land-use types. Forb richness, diversity and biomass were equally low at both land-use types and increased significantly after the drought release, although the magnitude of response was much stronger in the protected area, whereas drought contributed to a directional change in the protected area with a complete post-drought turnover in both annual and perennial forb species, much less variability was observed in the communal rangeland, which may suggest long-term effects imposed by land-use history. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png African Journal of Range & Forage Science Taylor & Francis

Forb community responses to an extensive drought in two contrasting land-use types of a semi-arid Lowveld savanna

Forb community responses to an extensive drought in two contrasting land-use types of a semi-arid Lowveld savanna

African Journal of Range & Forage Science , Volume 37 (1): 12 – Jan 2, 2020

Abstract

Projected increases in the frequency and severity of drought events are expected to impose changes in the ecology of native forb communities in semi-arid ecosystems. We examined the state of forb communities during, and directly after an extreme drought event across two contrasting land-use types, which included a protected area (high diversity of free roaming wild herbivores) and communal rangeland (long history of intensive cattle grazing) in a semi-arid Lowveld savanna of the Gazankulu area, South Africa. Forb floristic data were collected towards the end of the drought and repeated after the drought release a few months later. Forb community composition was significantly different among land-use types. Community changes were not induced by annual forb emergence alone, but through species-specific dominance shifts, which differed among land-use types. Forb richness, diversity and biomass were equally low at both land-use types and increased significantly after the drought release, although the magnitude of response was much stronger in the protected area, whereas drought contributed to a directional change in the protected area with a complete post-drought turnover in both annual and perennial forb species, much less variability was observed in the communal rangeland, which may suggest long-term effects imposed by land-use history.

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References (104)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2020 NISC (Pty) Ltd
ISSN
1727-9380
eISSN
1022-0119
DOI
10.2989/10220119.2020.1726464
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Projected increases in the frequency and severity of drought events are expected to impose changes in the ecology of native forb communities in semi-arid ecosystems. We examined the state of forb communities during, and directly after an extreme drought event across two contrasting land-use types, which included a protected area (high diversity of free roaming wild herbivores) and communal rangeland (long history of intensive cattle grazing) in a semi-arid Lowveld savanna of the Gazankulu area, South Africa. Forb floristic data were collected towards the end of the drought and repeated after the drought release a few months later. Forb community composition was significantly different among land-use types. Community changes were not induced by annual forb emergence alone, but through species-specific dominance shifts, which differed among land-use types. Forb richness, diversity and biomass were equally low at both land-use types and increased significantly after the drought release, although the magnitude of response was much stronger in the protected area, whereas drought contributed to a directional change in the protected area with a complete post-drought turnover in both annual and perennial forb species, much less variability was observed in the communal rangeland, which may suggest long-term effects imposed by land-use history.

Journal

African Journal of Range & Forage ScienceTaylor & Francis

Published: Jan 2, 2020

Keywords: climate change; diversity; grazing; herbivory; rainfall variability

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