Long-term vegetation monitoring in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
It has been suggested that the perennial grasslands of the Serengeti plains have recently been converted to annual grass and shrub-dominated communities due to overgrazing by wildebeest. Sites described and mapped since 1961 were revisited in 1982 and spp. composition and community patterns were compared. The southern short-grass plains are dominated by Sporobolus ioclados, S. kentrophyllus, S. fimbriatus, Kyllinga nervosa, Digitaria scalarum and Andropogon greenwayi. The midgrass communities in the central part of the park are dominated by Themeda triandra, D. macroblephara, Pennisetum mezianum and Sporobolus spp. The tall-grass communities in the most northern habitats are dominated by Hyparrhenia filipendula, T. triandra, S. pyramidalis and Heteropogon contortus. No changes in spp. composition were found in any of the communities, and vegetational mosaic patterns in aerial photographic plots showed no changes in size, shape or position.