Perspective article:

Simulation models for semi-arid rangelands of southern Africa

  • T Wiegand Department of Ecological Modelling UFZ-Centre of Environmental Research, P.O. Box 2, Leipzig, 04301, Germany
  • F Jeltsch
  • S Bauer
  • K Kellner
Keywords: botany, grasslands, Kalahari, Karoo, modelling, models, rangelands, semi-arid, shrublands, simulation model, southern Africa, vegetation dynamics, grazing, interaction, management, rainfall, rangeland, semi-arid grasslands, shrubland, vegetation types


In semi-arid regions, the effects of grazing or sparing management on natural communities of long-lived plants generally take decades to become evident. Event-driven dynamic behaviour, unpredictable and low rainfall, and complicated interactions between species make it difficult to gather sufficient understanding of vegetation dynamics to be able to develop guidelines for sustainable management. Simulation models that consider the essential processes that determine vegetation dynamics offer scope for quantitatively exploring long-term vegetation dynamics of arid and semi-arid rangelands. In this paper we review three models that were aimed to provide an understanding of the vegetation dynamics and management of different typical vegetation types in South Africa, including the Karroo shrubland, the shrub-grassland of the southern Kalahari, and pure semi-arid grasslands

Keywords: botany; grasslands; Kalahari; Karoo; modelling; models; rangelands; semi-arid; shrublands; simulation model; southern Africa; vegetation dynamics; grazing; interaction; management; rainfall; rangeland; semi-arid grasslands; shrubland; vegetation types

African Journal of Range & Forage Science, Vol. 15(1 & 2), pp. 48–60

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9380
print ISSN: 1022-0119