Landscape ecology

Three projects focus on landscape ecology—the business of how savanna landscapes function. These projects are all part of the Landscape Ecology and Health Theme.

  • Predicting Outcomes of Management Figuring out the longer term impact that different management practices, like burning and grazing will have on the savannas is tricky at the best of times - particularly given the variable climate. This project follows on from the work done in the previous Tropical Savannas CRC on using computer simulations to help people make these predictions. It is now possible to use computers to simulate the interaction of elements like fire and grazing, soil and plant properties and rainfall so that the resulting impact on landscapes can be predicted. These computer models can then be linked to economic and social factors.
  • Savanna Carbon Dynamics How much carbon is stored by the savannas and how is this amount likely to change in the future? This question has become increasingly important in recent years with the prospect of climate change due to the enhanced greenhouse effect and the potential for trading carbon credits. This ambitious project aims to estimate the amount of carbon stored by the tropical savannas - and how it is cycled and changed by factors like fire, grazing and climate change. The project involves a number of institutions including the Tropical Savannas CRC.
  • Soil Biota, Nutrients and Water in the Savannas At first glance you might judge the health of a landscape by the plant cover it has - but those plants in turn depend on a more basic factor: how effectively water and nutrients are being cycled through the soil. This cycling is likely be critically dependent on small soil organisms like termites and other invertebrates. Yet we know relatively little about these nutrient cycles and how they are affected by fire and grazing - or about the role soil organisms (biota) play in water and nutrient cycling. This projects aims to investigate these processes in a practical grazing management situation.

Click on the project descriptions at left to find out more.