A Functional Trait-Based Approach to Evaluate the Resilience of Key Ecosystem Functions of Tropical Savannas - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Forests Year : 2023

A Functional Trait-Based Approach to Evaluate the Resilience of Key Ecosystem Functions of Tropical Savannas

Abstract

The persistence of the woody vegetation of the Sahelian savannas, and their supported ecosystem functions, have been questioned since the great drought of 1970s–1980s. To assess the resilience of this vegetation to drought and grazing, we undertook a trait-based approach using field inventory, historical survey databases, and traits data literature. Using a hierarchical clustering approach, we gathered the species present from 1970 to 2015 into functional groups according to their effect traits related to primary productivity and biogeochemical cycles. First, we studied the evolution of functional redundancy (FRe) and response diversity (RDiv) of the functional effect groups to drought and grazing, two indicators of resilience, since the 1970s. Second, we looked at the spatial variation of these two indices in 2015, according to local topography. FRe and RDiv of 80% of the functional groups examined declined since 1970, endangering the persistence of the studied functions. Local topography strongly influenced current FRe and RDiv, with depressions presenting higher values. Finally, by examining species’ abundances, their regeneration, and the functional group to which they belong, we determined some key species that could benefit from protection to ensure the persistence of the ecosystem functions supported by the woody vegetation. This study has expanded knowledge about the savanna’s response to pressures and has shown how a functional traits-based approach could be an effective tool to guide the management of tropical savannas.
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hal-04047079 , version 1 (27-03-2023)

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Morgane Dendoncker, Simon Taugourdeau, Christian Messier, Caroline Vincke. A Functional Trait-Based Approach to Evaluate the Resilience of Key Ecosystem Functions of Tropical Savannas. Forests, 2023, 14 (2), pp.291. ⟨10.3390/f14020291⟩. ⟨hal-04047079⟩
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