HTML Document Distribution of tree species along a gallery forest–savanna gradient: patterns, overlaps and ecological thresholds

Savannas intermingled with gallery forests are dynamic habitats typical in Africa. This study aims to determine if differences in species traits lead to non-overlapping distribution of gallery-forest and savanna species and abrupt transition between gallery forest and savanna. Tree species densities were measured in 375 plots of 1500 m2 covering a total sample area of 56.25 ha along forty 3-km transects located at right angles to a riverbed with gallery forest into surrounding savanna. Location, vegetation type, soil physical properties, erosion and fire occurrence were recorded as site factors. Data analysis included the quantification of co-occurrence patterns, threshold indicator taxa analysis and fuzzy set ordination. The gallery forest-savanna gradient predicted floristic composition of plots with a correlation of 0.595 but its accuracy was locally modified by the occurrence of fire and the physical properties of soil that covered more than 30 % of the range of residuals. The distribution of gallery-forest and savanna tree species did not overlap. Along the gallery forest-savanna gradient, savanna species gradually increased in density while gallery-forest species showed a community threshold at 120 m from the river beyond the width of gallery forest. The forest species driving this trend should play an important role in the dynamics of gallery forest-savanna boundaries.

Source de publication: Journal of Tropical Ecology 29:1 (2013): 25-37

Contacts du ou des auteurs: Akomian Fortuné Azihou (, Romain Glèlè Kakaï, Ronald Bellefontaine, Brice Sinsin

Release date 11/07/2019
Contributor K. Gisele Sinasson S.
Geographical coverage Benin
Keywords Africa, Benin, community analysis, ecological thresholds, environmental synthesis, fuzzy set ordination, indicator species, species co-occurrence, vegetation dynamics, woody flora