Research project on savanna vegetation dynamics

The research will help to plan and prepare for ongoing and future change (e.g. climate and land use), with the aim of safeguarding biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and compatible human livelihoods.

2018.01.24 | AU Admins Template

A team from Center for Biodiversity Dynamics in a Changing World (BIOCHANGE), Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity (Aarhus University) is planning a 3-week field expedition to Maasai Mara in February 2018.

Our research in the area will aim to better understand the roles large mammals, including wild herbivores, livestock and humans, in shaping ecosystem structure and processes. We are particularly interested in how animals and humans affect vegetation structure, as vegetation structure in savannas is strongly related to biodiversity and important ecosystem processes, such as fire spread and the availability and quality of grass.

We will use a terrestrial laser scanner to measure the three-dimensional vegetation structure in areas with contrasting herbivore pressure and land management. We will then use very high-resolution (30 cm) satellite imagery to extrapolate the 3D vegetation structure to the landscape scale.

By linking observed patterns of vegetation structure to potential drivers such as animal density, fire frequency, climate and atmospheric CO­2, we will learn more about the processes that determine savanna vegetation dynamics. Ultimately, this will help to plan and prepare for ongoing and future change (e.g. climate and land use), with the aim of safeguarding biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and compatible human livelihoods.

For more information:

Professor Jens-Christian Svenning http://pure.au.dk/portal/da/svenning@biology.au.dk

Center Manager, Anne Blach Overgaard, PhD http://pure.au.dk/portal/da/anne.overgaard@biology.au.dk

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