Abrupt shifts in African savanna tree cover along a climatic gradient

Favier Charly, Aleman Julie, Bremond Laurent, Dubois Marc A., Freycon Vincent, Yangakola Jean-Michel. 2012. Abrupt shifts in African savanna tree cover along a climatic gradient. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 21 (8) : pp. 787-797.

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Quartile : Outlier, Sujet : GEOGRAPHY, PHYSICAL / Quartile : Outlier, Sujet : ECOLOGY

Liste HCERES des revues (en SHS) : oui

Thème(s) HCERES des revues (en SHS) : Géographie-Aménagement-Urbanisme-Architecture

Abstract : Aim.To describe patterns of tree cover in savannas over a climatic gradient and a range of spatial scales and test if there are identifiable climate-related mean structures, if tree cover always increases with water availability and if there is a continuous trend or a stepwise trend in tree cover. Location. Central Tropical Africa. Methods. We compared a new analysis of satellite tree cover data with botanical, phytogeographical and environmental data. Results. Along the climatic transect, six vegetation structures were distinguished according to their average tree cover, which can co-occur as mosaics. The resulting abrupt shifts in tree cover were not correlated to any shifts in either environmental variables or in tree species distributions. Main conclusions. A strong contrast appears between fine-scale variability in tree cover and coarse-scale structural states that are stable over several degrees of latitude. While climate parameters and species pools display a continuous evolution along the climatic gradient, these stable structural states have discontinuous transitions, resulting in regions containing mosaics of alternative stable states. Soils appear to have little effect inside the climatic stable state domains but a strong action on the location of the transitions. This indicates that savannas are patch dynamics systems, prone to feedbacks stabilizing their coarse-scale structure over wide ranges of environmental conditions. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Savane, Changement climatique, Végétation, Couvert, forêt tropicale, Forêt tropicale humide, Facteur climatique, Facteur édaphique, Incendie de forêt, Écologie, Dynamique des populations, Taxonomie, Biogéographie, Espèce, Télédétection

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Afrique centrale

Classification Agris : F40 - Plant ecology
K01 - Forestry - General aspects
F70 - Plant taxonomy and geography

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 6 (2005-2013) - Agriculture, environnement, nature et sociétés

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Favier Charly, UM2 (FRA)
  • Aleman Julie, IRD (FRA)
  • Bremond Laurent, UM2 (FRA)
  • Dubois Marc A., CEA (FRA)
  • Freycon Vincent, CIRAD-ES-UPR BSef (FRA)
  • Yangakola Jean-Michel, Université de Bangui (CAF)

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