loading page

Neighbors consistently influence growth and survival in a frequently burned savanna
  • Mark Davis,
  • Richard Condit
Mark Davis
Macalester College

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Richard Condit
Morton Arboretum
Author Profile


Successful management of savannas is challenging and requires knowledge of the causes and consequences of the spatial arrangement of the trees. In savannas, trees are often aggregated, and the ability of trees within the clumps to survive fires plays a significant role in determining the savannas landscape dynamics. Whether or not a tree survives a fire is often dependent on the nature of their interactions with neighboring trees, positive or negative. In cases where disturbances are episodic, detecting these interactions is only going to be possible through long-term studies. Data reported here, from twenty-five years of annual tree censusing of a large grid-plot in a frequently burned savanna, showed consistent neighbor facilitated survival, irrespective as to whether the neighbors were conspecifics or heterospecifics. The positive interactions likely involve the reduction of both herbaceous and woody fuel in denser sites, and possibly mycorrhizal sharing among nearby trees.