Global Experiment on Savanna Tree Seedlings (GEST)

GEST is a comparative experiment of seedling growth of savanna tree species, based on increasing evidence that the seedling stage of tree growth is critically important to the long-term dynamics of savanna systems. The focus is on effects of herbivory and fire on tree seedlings in tropical savannas and forests. Research worldwide suggests there are differences in the environmental limitations constraining savanna tree seedlings in wet environments (nutrients, light, fire) and dry environments (water, herbivory).

We address the following questions:

1. Do tree seedlings respond differently to resources in savannas around the world?

2. Do tree seedlings differ in their ability to compete with grasses for different resources?

3. Do tree seedlings differ in their ability to tolerate defoliation?


Tomlinson, K.W., L. Poorter, F. Bongers, F. Borghetti, L. Jacobs and F. van Langevelde (2014) Relative growth rate variation of evergreen and deciduous savanna tree species is driven by different traits. Annals of Botany 114: 315–324 (PDF)

Barbosa, E.R.M., K.W. Tomlinson, L.G. Carvalheiro, K. Kirkman, S. de Bie, H.H.T. Prins and F. van Langevelde (2014) Short-term effect of nutrient availability and rainfall distribution on biomass production and leaf nutrient content of savanna tree species. Plos ONE 9:e92619 (PDF)

Barbosa, E.R.M., F. van Langevelde, K.W. Tomlinson, L.M.G.R. Carvalheiro, K. Kirkman, S. de Bie and H.H.T. Prins (2014) Tree species from different functional groups respond differently to environmental changes during establishment. Oecologia 174:1345-1357 (PDF)

Tomlinson, K.W., F. van Langevelde, D. Ward, F. Bongers, D.A. da Silva, H.H.T. Prins, S. de Bie and F.J. Sterck (2013) Deciduous and evergreen trees differ in juvenile biomass allometries because of differences in allocation to root storage. Annals of Botany 112:575-587 (PDF)

Tomlinson, K.W., L. Poorter, F. Sterck, F. Borghetti, D. Ward, S. de Bie and F. van Langevelde (2013) Leaf adaptations of evergreen and deciduous trees of semi-arid and humid savannas on three continents. Journal of Ecology 101:430-440 (PDF)

Tomlinson, K.W., F.J. Sterck, F. Bongers, D.A. da Silva, E.R.M. Barbosa, D. Ward, F.T. Bakker, M. van Kaauwen, H.H.T. Prins, S. de Bie and F. van Langevelde (2012) Biomass partitioning and root morphology of savanna trees across a water gradient. Journal of Ecology 100:1113-1121 (PDF)

Van Langevelde, F., K. Tomlinson, E.R.M. Barbosa, S. de Bie, H.H.T. Prins and SI. Higgins (2011) Understanding tree-grass co-existence and impacts of disturbance and resource variability in savannas. In: M.J. Hill and N.P. Hanan (eds.), Ecosystem function in savannas. Measurement and modeling at landscape to global scales. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA, pp. 257-271

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