, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 11–18 | Cite as

Structure of the woody vegetation in disturbed and undisturbed arid savanna, Botswana

  • Christina Skarpe


The structure of woody vegetation was studied in little disturbed arid savanna and in adjacent over-grazed vegetation. In the over-grazed areas density and cover of woody plants were higher than in the less disturbed vegetation. The difference was accounted for by one species, Acacia mellifera, which was strongly dominant in the overgrazed vegetation. In the open savanna, the woody species varied in height from small shrubs to trees, while the dense shrub vegetation was of uniformly low stature.

It is suggested that, while the differences in total abundance of woody species depend on differences in the amount of soil water available for woody growth, differences in species composition and height distribution are governed by the spatial and temporal distribution of water in the soil profile.


Bush encroachment Competition Dominance Growth geometry Self thinning Soil moisture 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina Skarpe
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Ecological BotanyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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