African Journal of Range and Forage Science

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The effect of severe drought and management after drought on the mortality and recovery of semi-arid grassveld.

Danckwerts J.E., Stuart-Hill G.C.


The False Thornveld of the Eastern Cape experienced a particularly intense drought during the 1982/1983 growing season. Extensive grass mortality took place during the drought. After the drought, recovery was particularly sensitive to the post-drought management treatment applied. Veld that was grazed immediately after the drought recovered far more slowly than veld that was rested. This effect was still evident three years later, illustrating the considerable importance of resting semi-arid grassveld after a drought. Increaser I grass species present were apparently more capable of surviving drought than the decreaser species, which in turn were more stable than the increaser II species. Their ability to recover after the drought followed an opposite trend. On this basis, the desirability of decreaser dominated veld, in situations that are likely to be poorly managed, is questioned.

Keywords: decreaser species; drought; eastern cape; false thornveld; grasses; grazing capacity; increaser i species; increaser ii species; management; mortality; recovery; semi-arid grassveld; south africa; species composition; tillers; tufts; veld condition

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