Original Research

The environment and vegetation of the flux measurement site near Skukuza, Kruger National Park

R.J. Scholes, N. Gureja, M. Giannecchinni, D. Dovie, B. Wilson, N. Davidson, K. Piggott, C. McLoughlin, K. van der Velde, A. Freeman, S. Bradley, R. Smart, S. Ndala
Koedoe | Vol 44, No 1 | a187 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v44i1.187 | © 2001 R.J. Scholes, N. Gureja, M. Giannecchinni, D. Dovie, B. Wilson, N. Davidson, K. Piggott, C. McLoughlin, K. van der Velde, A. Freeman, S. Bradley, R. Smart, S. Ndala | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 July 2001 | Published: 01 July 2001

About the author(s)

R.J. Scholes, CSIR Division of Water, South Africa
N. Gureja, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
M. Giannecchinni, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
D. Dovie, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
B. Wilson, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
N. Davidson, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
K. Piggott, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
C. McLoughlin, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
K. van der Velde, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
A. Freeman, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
S. Bradley, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
R. Smart, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
S. Ndala, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

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Abstract

The SAFARI-2000 intensive study site is located 13 km WSW of Skukuza. Detailed measurements of the exchanges of energy, water, carbon dioxide and other substances between the savanna and the atmosphere have been made there since April 2000. This paper provides basic information regarding the climate, soils and vegetation at the site. The site is located near the top of a gentle rise in an undulating granitic landscape. Most of the data were collected within a 300 m square centred on the flux tower situated at 25@01.184' S, 31@29.813' E and oriented true north. The tower stands exactly on the ecotone between a ridgetop broad-leafed Combretum savanna on sandy soil and a midslope fme-leafed Acacia savanna on clayey soil. The ecotone is marked by a 10 m wide band of sedges. The tree basal area within the sample square was 6.8 mVha (@ 1.0 standard error), the tree density 128 @ 16 plants/ha and the tree crown cover 24 @ 4 . Shrubs, defined as woody plants greater than 0.5 m but less than 2.5 m tall, contributed a further 7.6 crown cover. The basal area weighted mean height of the trees was 9 m, and the maximum height 13m. Nineteen woody plant species were recorded within the square, with 70 of the woody plant basal area dominated by Combretum apiculatum, Sclerocarya birrea and Acacia nigrescens. The rooted basal area of grasses was 7.1 @ 0.6 and in June 2000 the grass standing crop was 400 g DM m2.

Keywords

basal area, climate, crown cover, savanna, soil, tree density.

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