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Grasslands of the Rukwa Valley

G. J. W. Dean
Journal of Applied Ecology
Vol. 4, No. 1 (May, 1967), pp. 45-57
DOI: 10.2307/2401408
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2401408
Page Count: 14
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Grasslands of the Rukwa Valley
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Abstract

This paper describes changes in the vegetation of the North and Central Rukwaplains of the Rukwa valley, an important outbreak area of the red locust. The changes are associated with variations in flooding associated with variations in the level of Lake Rukwa and in rainfall over the drainage basin. The interval between successive peaks of lake level appears to be about 20 years, so that the vegetation can alternate between wet and dry distributions. Echinochloa, Cyperus, Typha, Sporobolus robustus and the legumes Aeschynomene and Sesbania spread and dominate the lower flooded areas in periods when the level of the lake is high. In dry periods, rain-grassland (Hyparrhenia, Chloris) and lake-shore grasses (Cynodon, Diplachne and Sporobolus spicatus) encroach on the flood-plain and S. robustus communities. Fire appears to be a less important factor than flooding in determining the distribution of plant communities in the Rukwa plains.

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