Where the grass is growing in Africa, possibly through the decades will be the forest. The increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has the advantage for the trees in the savannah.
Recent studies show that during the growing season increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Africa creates favorable conditions for the growth and increase the number of trees, if increased levels of emissions of CO2. Thus, there is a risk that the existing ecosystem due to the abrupt change in vegetation.
In the savannah grass and trees are constantly fighting for dominance. Thus, this type of landscape could be very different, including tropical pastures: be open plains, covered with grass with some trees or dense forest. Grass and trees react differently to changes in temperature, concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and cause a fire. Thus, it is believed that this ecosystem is very sensitive to changes in climate and atmosphere. Before changing the dominant plants in the savanna is slow, and rapid growth of the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased the speed of these changes at this time.
Stephen Higgins, the head of research of the Center for Biodiversity and Climate Research Professor Goethe University in Frankfurt, said: "So far, only studied the effect of elevated CO2 on the growth of trees in the savannah. The current increase in the growth of trees in the savannah — is just the beginning. "
The effect of changing the model of vegetation, explains Higgins, in their study is an example of what scientists call a "change model". Even small changes in the initial created conditions exacerbate these changes, so that the whole system begins to change faster and faster. The study found that Savannah is already showing signs of this change. "The ability to change in this broad ecosystem as Savannah, is now attracting the attention of scientists," — said Higgins.
The study can provide practical support for climate protection and nature conservation. If the savanna grasslands or small forest change, it is also the loss of the unique flora and fauna. Increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, thus, is another risk factor, as well as over-grazing, plantation agriculture, which lead to a change in the ecosystem as a whole.