Granivores as ecosystem regulators of woody plant increasers in semi-arid Savannas of the Lowveld, South Africa
Petersen, Leif Michael
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In recent years, a global trend of increasing woody vegetation densities in semi-arid savanna habitats has been recorded, commonly described in South Africa as 'bush encroachment'. The shrubs and trees that do this (Increasers) have wrought significant economic and ecological impacts upon carrying capacities of large areas of savannas. This occurs, as suitable grazing areas are incrementally engulfed in shrubs and trees establishing new equilibria, from open savannas (essentially grasslands with scattered trees) into closed woodlands (treelands with scattered grasses). This thesis demonstrated a link between grass biomass, small mammal abundance and diversity, and their potential increaser seed/seedling predatory activities in the semi-arid Lowveld Savannas of South Africa.