A big challenge in savanna ecology is understanding why savannas exist at all. Savannas combine a mix of grasses and scattered trees, somewhere in the region between grassland and forest. Why don’t trees or grasses take over, given how different these two life forms are?
A big part of the explanation resides in the demography of trees. To reach the canopy and shade out grasses, trees need to move through all of their life stages without being killed or cut back to a smaller life stage. This means running a gauntlet of challenges, from overcoming competition for water with grasses to surviving drought, frost, fire, and persistent herbivory, especially by elephants.
Dr. Ricardo Holdo will draw on 20 years of research to show examples of these challenges and how, in combination, they help explain the persistence of the savanna state.
– This virtual event is a production of the Atlanta Botanical Garden as part of their ongoing Science Cafe series.
– It is free and open to the public, but you absolutely must register at the following Zoom link in order to receive instructions on how to attend: https://bit.ly/3jQgPfR