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Climate-fire interactions and Savanna ecosystems : A dynamic vegetation modeling study for the African Continent

  • Almut Arneth
  • Veiko Lehsten
  • Kirsten Thonicke
  • Allan Spessa
Publishing year: 2010-01-01
Language: English
Pages: 463-478
Publication/Series: Ecosystem Function in Savannas : Measurement and Modeling at Landscape to Global Scales
Document type: Book chapter
Publisher: CRC Press

Abstract english

Savannas are inherently “disturbed” ecosystems, but the regularly recurring disruptions play such a fundamental ecological role (Scholes and Archer, 1997) that “episodic events” rather than “disturbance” may the more apt terminology. From an atmospheric perspective, fire is the most significant of these episodic events. Fires shape community species composition; tree to grass ratio and nutrient redistribution; and biosphere-atmosphere exchange of trace gases, aerosols, momentum, and energy. Savannas’ estimated mean NPP of 7.2 ± 2.0 t C ha-1 year-1 amounts to nearly two thirds of tropical forest NPP (Grace et al., 2006); but remarkably little is known about Savanna net carbon balance, especially for the African continent (Williams et al., 2007). In the absence of transient changes in the fire regime, such as could be introduced by climate change or fire-driven changes in land cover, Savanna fires do not affect average annual net carbon uptake much, as the carbon released.


  • Physical Geography


  • ISBN: 9781439804711
  • ISBN: 9781439804704
E-mail: veiko [dot] lehsten [at] nateko [dot] lu [dot] se


Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science

+46 46 222 40 20



Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
Lund University
Sölvegatan 12
S-223 62 Lund

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