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Why do trees grow in savannas and not in grasslands?

Nov 29, 2023 | Conservation

C4 EcoSolutions

C4 EcoSolutions staff and collaborators publish peer-reviewed findings showing that boron deficiency is a primary geochemical driver excluding trees from savannas in the Kruger National Park.

Grasslands are treeless landscapes, whereas savannas are grasslands interspersed with sparse trees. There are typically gradients of tree establishment between the two landscapes, but it is not known what excludes tree establishment from grasslands. In this peer-reviewed study of Kruger Park soils, we show that a deficiency in boron – which is more critical to dicotyledonous trees than grass species – is a critical geochemical driver of tree exclusion at the interface between savanna and grassland.

View the publication here

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