Biogeochemistry of Kalahari sands

Wang, L
D'Odorico, P
Ringrose, S
Coetzee, S
Macko, S A
Journal of Arid Environments
Publication Year: 
The Kalahari sand sheet, with a 2.5-million ha area, is probably the largest continuous surface of sand in the world. The Kalahari Transect (KT) is one of a set of IGBP 'megatransects ' identified for global change studies and provides an ideal setting to investigate changes in ecosystem dynamics, vegetation composition and structure, and carbon or nutrient cycles along a spatial precipitation gradient without confounding soil effects. Soil physical properties remain poorly characterized along the KT. The present work provides a review of previous studies on the Kalahari soils combined with new results from recent analyses of physical (mostly hydraulic) and biogeochemical properties of the soil. In summary, the Kalahari soil is acidic, dominated by sand and nutrient poor. Nutrient contents, soil textures and soil hydraulic properties differ under and between canopies. Roots are concentrated in the top 80 cm of the soil, with grass roots more abundant and dominant close to the surface. Moreover, the distribution of tree roots does not exhibit a clear dominance over grasses at deeper soil layers. This review provides important baseline information for this system, as well as insights as to how biochemical processes vary along a rainfall gradient.
Name of Journal: 
Journal of Arid Environments
Resource Type: 
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
Grassland Society of Southern Africa

The Grassland Society of Southern Africa (GSSA) is involved and concerned with the science and practice of range and pasture management. This broad field involves primarily the use and conservation of natural resources. It encompasses applied fields such as livestock production, wildlife management, nature conservation, water catchment management and range and mine-dump rehabilitation. The disciplines include, amongst others, ecology, botany zoology, range and pasture science, animal science, soil science and genetics. This collection includes journal articles from the African Journal of Range and Forage Science as well as related articles and reports from throughout the Southern African region.