omes and omics

Human impacts in African savannas are mediated by plant functional traits

Our Associate Director Professor Colin Osborne publishes on human impacts in African savannas and shows how savannas respond.

Human impacts in African savannas are mediated by plant functional traits

Grantham Centre Associate Director Colin Osborne

Colin explains the importance of this paper.

‘Savannas are home to millions of people in Africa, who rely on these ecosystems for their livelihoods. But human activities threaten savannas across the continent.

Our new paper looks at these threats – from rising CO2 causing tree invasion, to the expansion of agricultural land disrupting fire regimes – showing how they impact livelihoods and interact with each other.

We argue that savannas in different parts of the African continent will respond differently to these threats, and outline research that needs to be done to better understand the problem.’

Read the full paper

This paper is published in the plant science journal the New Phytologist.

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Colin supervises a few Grantham Scholars. Among them is Suma Mani, who is researching woodland creation in the Peak District. When Colin published a paper on the evolution of C4 photosynthesis, Suma wrote about how important this research is in light of the need for more sustainable crops. Read: Interplay of photosynthesis and evolution: paper summary.