Nitrogen in Savanna Grass and Litter

Isichei, Augustine O. (1982)

Selected Papers from the Man and Biosphere State-of-Knowledge Workshop Sponsored by the Nigerian National Man and Biosphere Committee, U.N.E.S.C.O. and the Kainji Lake Research Institute held at Kainji Lake Research Institute. April 20th - 24th 1980.


grasses are low in nitrogen. This is relayed to the low nitrogen content of the soils: there is decreasing nitrogen in the soil northwards and this is reflected in the grasses. Even in the same environment some species are better accumulators than others. Possible reasons are advanced for this. The Andropogon species and Beckeropsis uniseta are the best known accumulators. There is a well marked seasonality in nitrogen concentration in grass. The below-ground parts have their highest concentration in the dry season, while in the above-ground parts the highest concentration is at the beginning of growth. Litter is important because it is a major means of nitrogen re-cycling. Its pattern of fall and decay in the savanna is discussed. It is emphasized that most of the litter fall is after the annual fires. Nitrogen content of litter varies from site to site but does not show significant seasonal difference.