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dc.contributor.advisor Jordaan, J. J.
dc.contributor.advisor Potgieter, M. J. Mokoka, Malesela Vincent 2017-03-29T13:23:47Z 2017-03-29T13:23:47Z 2016
dc.description Thesis (MSc. Agriculture (Pasture Science)) -- University of Limpopo, 2016. en_US
dc.description.abstract The relationships between tree age, growth rings, and stem circumference correlated with establishment patterns may be a valuable instrument to reveal the functioning of woody species in the Savanna Biome. A study on tree age and establishment patterns of Acacia tortilis in the semi-arid regions of the Limpopo Province was conducted to aid an understanding of the causes of encroachment in savanna vegetation. This study aimed to determine the periodicity of growth ring formation at two study areas, correlate the number of growth rings with different tree characteristics and document tree population establishment patterns of Acacia tortilis, using stem circumferences. This was done in order to predict long-term bush encroachment using the interaction between rainfall and soil on the age, growth and establishment patterns of Acacia tortilis. Data was collected at three sites representing two study areas, two sites at the University of Limpopo’s Syferkuil Agricultural Experimental Farm and one site at the Sondela Nature Reserve in the Limpopo Province. The study incorporated two different soil forms and two rainfall regimes. Trees were divided into five height classes; namely, <0.5 m, >0.5 – 1.5 m, >1.5 – 2.0 m, >2.0 – 3.0 m and >3m. Fifty trees (ten in each class) were felled at each site, and the following recordings were made: tree height, stem circumference and crown diameter. Furthermore, each felled stump was taken to the laboratory and examined for growth rings. The results indicated that growth pattern of Acacia tortilis stems were more influenced by soil form than the amount of rainfall. Tree height was not significantly affected by soil form. However, rainfall proved to have a significant effect on the final height of the plant. Both rainfall and soil form did not have a substantial effect on the number of growth rings. Crown diameter was affected by soil form but rainfall did not prove to have the same effect. Correlations between growth rings and stem circumferences, tree height and crown diameter, proved to have significant relationships. However, the relationship between stem circumference and the number of growth rings was the most significant. iv A prediction model was created using the relationship between stem size and growth rings. Using this model tree age can be determined in a non-destructive manner. However, the absence of a correlation between rainfall and establishment strongly suggests that rainfall cannot be used, on its own, to determine the establishment sequence and the pattern of bush encroachment. The study suggests that natural developments responsible for establishment patterns and population dynamics of woody species are complex, and their effects are visible after an extensive period. Therefore, to understand these influential processes comprehensively, several seasons of observations and monitoring would be recommended. Future research on this particular topic should include more than one encroaching species, because this will provide a broader perspective on the encroachment patterns of bush communities. However, the focus should be on studying the influence of growth limiting factors such as soil and climatic impacts, as well as area-specific environmental factors on the growth of encroaching species, such as Acacia tortilis. Key words: Bush encroachment, dendrochronology, growth rings, tree age, savanna, stem circumference Note: The candidate and the supervisors are aware of the fact that the Acacia genus has been revised. However, in this dissertation, the genus and species Acacia tortilis is still used. Relevant changes will be used in future publications. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship University of Limpopo’s Department of Agriculture and National Research Foundation en_US
dc.format.extent xv, 131 leaves en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.relation.requires Adobe Acrobat Reader en_US
dc.subject Bush encroachment en_US
dc.subject Dendrochronology en_US
dc.subject Growth rings en_US
dc.subject Tree age en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Tree rings en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Dendrochronology -- South Africa -- Limpopo en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Woody plants -- Age determination en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Acacia en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Rain and rainfall -- South Africa -- Limpopo en_US
dc.title Impact of rainfall on the determination of tree age and establishment patterns of acacia tortilis in the Limpopo Province, South Africa en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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