Re: Savannah and Grassland

Peter Card (
13 Oct 1995 10:31:11 +0100 (Harry Erwin) writes:

>Professor Lee Talbot spoke today in ecology class about succession
>processes. [...] The maintenance of temperate grassland
>and tropical savannah depends on the presence of fire to keep the woody
>species from taking over. Homo is the keystone because the alternative
>source of fire (lightning- caused) is rare in temperate grassland and
>unknown in tropical savannah.

Idly watching a BBC wildlife program a few weeks ago, I remember them
making the point that elephants do this as well. No, they dont torch
the undergrowth, but they do push small trees over, which allows them
to get at the top foliage, and also inhibits the forestation of the
grassland, which is the African bush elephant's prefered habbitat.

They showed before and after shots, separated by months or years,
illustrating the elephantine deforestation effect.

"The avalanche has already begun, it is too late for the pebbles to vote"

The above article is the personal view of the poster and should not be
considered as an official comment from the JET Joint Undertaking