Tree-grass coexistence in savannas: The role of spatial dynamics and climate fluctuations


Journal Article

The codominance of trees and grasses in savannas is explained as resulting from the minimization of vegetation stress. It is shown that under different climate, soil and vegetation conditions local interactions dictated by the spatial competition for soil moisture lead to an optimal state of minimum global water stress involving a stable coexistence of trees and grasses. The optimal state matches the observed canopy cover and soil moisture characteristics. Moreover, changes in canopy cover in the savanna environments are also suggested to result from climate fluctuations.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rodríguez-Iturbe, I; D'Odorico, P; Porporato, A; Ridolfi, L

Published Date

  • January 15, 1999

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 26 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 247 - 250

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0094-8276

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1029/1998GL900296

Citation Source

  • Scopus