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Savanna vegetation-fire-climate relationships differ among continents


Lehmann, CER and Anderson, TM and Sankaran, M and Higgins, SI and Archibald, S and Hoffman, WA and Hanan, NP and Williams, RJ and Fensham, RJ and Felfili, J and Hutley, LB and Ratnam, J and San Jose, J and Montes, R and Franklin, D and Russell-Smith, J and Ryan, CM and Durigan, G and Hiernaux, P and Haidar, R and Bowman, DMJS and Bond, WJ, Savanna vegetation-fire-climate relationships differ among continents, Science, 343, (6170) pp. 548-552. ISSN 0036-8075 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 by the American Associatoin for the Advancemnet of Science

DOI: doi:10.1126/science.1247355


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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:savanna vegetation-fire-climate relationships, climate change, ecosytem function, global carbon stocks, savanna, woody biomass
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Ecological applications
Research Field:Ecosystem function
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:98736
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:391
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2015-02-27
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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