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Relationships between climate, soil moisture and phenology of the woody cover in two sites located along the West African latitudinal gradient

Abstract : The study quantifies the relationships at local scale between phenology and determinants of climate and soil water resources at two sites located along the latitudinal gradient of West Africa, one in the central Sahel (Mali), the other in the Sudanian bioclimatic zone (Benin). The aim is to improve our knowledge on possible vegetation response to possible climate change. Within the Sudanian site, average annual rainfall is 1200 mm, extending from April to October, while, in the Sahelian site, it is 370 mm, occurring from June to September. Physical data were collected from the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis research programme. The phenology of the dominant species was monitored in four types of vegetation cover at the wetter site, and in three types of vegetation cover at the drier site. For each sampled plant, leafing, flowering and fruiting were recorded as binary variables in terms of the presence/absence of phenophases. A small proportion of the variability of each phenophase occurrence is explained by the logit models. However, rainfall rise is significantly linked to leafing probability increase in the Sahelian site but not in the Sudanian site. Day length extension and temperature decrease are significantly correlated with an increase in leafing in the Sudanian site, but not in the Sahelian. On both sites, the increase in cumulative rainfall is not found to be linked to an increased probability of reproductive phenophases (negative or non-significant relationships). Air temperature is positively correlated with flowering rate in the Sudanian site, but, all other factors being constant, no climate factors are found to be highly significant of flowering occurrence in the Sahel. Fruiting probability is positively correlated mainly with temperature within the Sahelian site. Leafing occurrence is positively correlated with soil moisture in the 0–1 m layer for the Sudanian site, but not for the Sahelian site. Significant relationships between fruiting occurrence and soil moisture may reflect a prior selection of plants on fruiting period that maximizes seed dispersion and germination differently at the two sites. While vegetative and reproduction schedules may be determined by specific genetic factors, the physical environment controls the possibility of their expression. Reduction of the rainfall amount and intensity may increase reproduction rates in wet areas. Although this factor should decrease leafing rate, it does not influence reproduction at dry sites, except through the decrease in air humidity. In wetter areas, increasing temperature may reduce leafing, but may increase reproduction rates. Cover reduction may have an impact on local physical factors and, consequently, probably also affects vegetation phenology.
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Submitted on : Thursday, September 3, 2009 - 7:50:41 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, July 5, 2022 - 9:14:00 AM



Josiane Seghieri, Aude Vescovo, Karine Padel, Remy Soubie, Marc Arjounin, et al.. Relationships between climate, soil moisture and phenology of the woody cover in two sites located along the West African latitudinal gradient. Journal of Hydrology, Elsevier, 2009, 375 (1-2), pp.78-89. ⟨10.1016/j.jhydrol.2009.01.023⟩. ⟨insu-00413383⟩



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