Friday, May 26, 2006

Woody plants in drying environment

Findings from a HOORC research team’s study of whether riparian woody plants at the extremities of the Okavango Delta respond to drying and salinity has been published online in the Journal of Arid Environments. Sue Ringrose, Cornelis Vanderpost, Piotr Wolski, Phillipa Huntsman-Mapila, and Mike Murray-Hudson collaborating with A. Jellema and Wilma Matheson, analyzed satellite imagery of the Delta to conclude that woody plant variables respond to desiccation-driven change due to water-table lowering and increased salinization through distinct changes in tree and shrub height, plant density and species richness. The article argues that these the results can be used in developing monitoring programmes for both the Delta and other semi-arid environment wetlands, and that the indicators used in the study provide a less expensive alternative to drilling to verify ground-water declines and salinization. A copy of the in press article can be found in HOORC's Library.

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