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Grasses cope with high‐contrast ecosystem conditions in the large outflow of the Banhine wetlands, Mozambique

  • Abstract Ecosystems with highly pulsed water supply must be better understood as climate change may increase frequency and severity of intense storms, droughts and floods. Here we collected data over 3 years (2016–2018) in the episodic wetland outflow channel (Aluize), Banhine National Park, in which the system state changed from dry to wet to dry. Field sampling included vegetation records, small‐scale vegetation zoning, the seed bank and water and soil quality. The same main plant species were found in both dry and wet conditions across the riverbed of the outflow channel. We found only very few diaspores of plants in the soil after prolonged drought. In the subsequent flooded state, we examined very dense vegetation on the water surface, which was dominated by the gramineous species Paspalidium obtusifolium. This species formed a compact floating mat that was rooted to the riverbed. The Cyperaceae Bolboschoenus glaucus showed high clonal growth in the form of root tubers, which likely serve as important food reservoir during drought. Soil and water analyses do not indicate a limitation by nutrients. We outline how resident people may change the plant community structure with an increasing practice of setting fire to the meadows in the dried‐up riverbed to facilitate plant regrowth as food for their livestock.

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Author: Markus Klemens Zaplata, Abel Nhabanga, Marc Stalmans, Thomas Volpers, Michael Burkart, Erik Sperfeld
Parent Title (English):African Journal of Ecology
Document Type:Article
Date of first Publication:2020/11/13
Release Date:2021/06/03
Tag:Aluize; Changane; biological soil crusts; droughts; floating mat; flooded grasslands; multi‐year flooding cycle; plant clonality; seed bank; temporary wetland
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First Page:n/a
Last Page:n/a
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell