JOURNAL ARTICLE

Partitioning of root and shoot competition and the stability of savannas

Simon Scheiter, Steven I Higgins
American Naturalist 2007, 170 (4): 587-601
17891737
A classic problem in coexistence theory is how grasses and trees coexist in savannas. A popular deterministic model of savannas, the rooting niche separation model, is based on an assumption that is not empirically supported in many savannas. Alternative models that do not rely on the rooting niche assumption invoke intricate stochastic mechanisms that limit their attractiveness as general models of savannas. In this article we develop an alternative deterministic model of grass-tree interactions and use it to analyze the conditions under which grass-tree coexistence is possible. The novel feature of this model is that it partitions aboveground and belowground competition and simulates the fact that fire and herbivory remove only aboveground biomass. The model predicts that stable coexistence of grasses and trees is possible, even when grasses and trees do not have separate rooting niches. We show that when aboveground competition is intense, grasses can be excluded by trees; under such conditions, fire can prevent grasses from exclusion and induce a stable savanna state. The model provides a general framework for exploring the interactive effects of competition, herbivory, and fire on savanna systems.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article

Discussion

You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read
17891737
×

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.

×

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"