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Human impacts in African savannas are mediated by plant functional traits
Osborne, Colin P.; Charles-Dominique, Tristan; Stevens, Nicola3; Bond, William J.; Midgley, Guy3; Lehmann, Caroline E. R.
Source PublicationNEW PHYTOLOGIST

Tropical savannas have a ground cover dominated by C-4 grasses, with fire and herbivory constraining woody cover below a rainfall-based potential. The savanna biome covers 50% of the African continent, encompassing diverse ecosystems that include densely wooded Miombo woodlands and Serengeti grasslands with scattered trees. African savannas provide water, grazing and browsing, food and fuel for tens of millions of people, and have a unique biodiversity that supports wildlife tourism. However, human impacts are causing widespread and accelerating degradation of savannas. The primary threats are land cover-change and transformation, landscape fragmentation that disrupts herbivore communities and fire regimes, climate change and rising atmospheric CO2. The interactions among these threats are poorly understood, with unknown consequences for ecosystem health and human livelihoods. We argue that the unique combinations of plant functional traits characterizing the major floristic assemblages of African savannas make them differentially susceptible and resilient to anthropogenic drivers of ecosystem change. Research must address how this functional diversity among African savannas differentially influences their vulnerability to global change and elucidate the mechanisms responsible. This knowledge will permit appropriate management strategies to be developed to maintain ecosystem integrity, biodiversity and livelihoods.

KeywordC-4 Grass Climate Change Degradation Ecosystem Services Rising Atmospheric Co2 Savanna Woody Encroachment
Subject AreaPlant Sciences
Indexed BySCI
WOS IDWOS:000442993700003
Citation statistics
Cited Times:3[WOS]   [WOS Record]     [Related Records in WOS]
Document Type期刊论文
Affiliation1.[Osborne, Colin P.] Univ Sheffield, Grantham Ctr Sustainable Futures, Sheffield S10 2TN, S Yorkshire, England
2.Osborne, Colin P.] Univ Sheffield, Dept Anim & Plant Sci, Sheffield S10 2TN, S Yorkshire, England
3.Chinese Acad Sci, Ctr Integrat Conservat, Xishuangbanna Trop Bot Garden, Menglun 666303, Yunnan, Peoples R China
4.Stellenbosch Univ, Dept Bot & Zool, Private Bag X1, ZA-7602 Matieland, South Africa
5.Bond, William J.] SAEON, Private Bag X7, ZA-7735 Claremont, South Africa
6.Bond, William J.] Univ Cape Town, Dept Biol Sci, ZA-7701 Rondebosch, South Africa
7.Lehmann, Caroline E. R.] Univ Edinburgh, Sch GeoSci, Edinburgh EH9 3FF, Midlothian, Scotland
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
Osborne, Colin P.,Charles-Dominique, Tristan,Stevens, Nicola,et al. Human impacts in African savannas are mediated by plant functional traits[J]. NEW PHYTOLOGIST,2018,220(1):10-24.
APA Osborne, Colin P.,Charles-Dominique, Tristan,Stevens, Nicola,Bond, William J.,Midgley, Guy,&Lehmann, Caroline E. R..(2018).Human impacts in African savannas are mediated by plant functional traits.NEW PHYTOLOGIST,220(1),10-24.
MLA Osborne, Colin P.,et al."Human impacts in African savannas are mediated by plant functional traits".NEW PHYTOLOGIST 220.1(2018):10-24.
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