Germination analysis of a seed bank along a degradation gradient in a semi-arid grassland

Author: G.J. van Rensburg, H.A. Snyman and K. Kellner
Year: 2004
Issue: 6
Volume: 34
Page: 122 - 124

The germination potential of seed banks along a degradation gradient in a semi-arid grassland in South Africa was quantified in a greenhouse experiment. Soil samples were collected to a depth of 50 mm in late June 2000 from four sample sites, namely: bare soil, as well as veld in good, moderate and poor condition. The sample sites represented a vegetation degradation gradient of a semi-arid grassland. Only four grass species (Aristida congesta, Chloris virgata, Themeda triandra and Tragus racemosus) and two forbs species (Felicia muricata and Senecio consanguineus) were identified in the seed bank. Aboveground botanical composition was positively correlated with seed bank species composition (R2 = 0.94). Long- and short-term management practices must be identified and implemented in the sensitive semi-arid regions. This will ensure the development of seed banks for sustainable succession patterns and plant population dynamics, leading to optimal livestock production.

Keywords: Botanical composition, population dynamics, veld management
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