Distribution and Characteristics of African Dry Forests and Woodlands: 11-42.

In: CHIDUMAYO, E.N. & GUMBO, D.J. (Eds., 2010) The Dry Forests and Woodlands of Africa - Managing for Products and Services. EarthScan Ltd., Londom / Washington D.C. ISBN 978-1-84971-131-9.


It is important to define and characterize dry forests and woodlands as these forms of vegetation mean different things to different people depending on their discipline and background. This chapter provides the reader with a description of the dry forest and woodland types of sub-Saharan Africa and illustrates some of their basic biological features. Here we define dry forest and woodland as vegetation dominated by woody plants, primarily trees, the canopy of which covers more than 10 per cent of the ground surface, occurring in climates with a dry season of three months or more. Such a broad definition – wider than those used by many authors – incorporates vegetation types commonly termed woodland, shrubland, thicket, savanna and wooded grassland, as well as dry forest in its strict sense. However, it does not include moist evergreen forest (rainforest), grasslands and dwarf shrublands, such as heathlands and fynbos. Where more specific vegetation types are being described, the appropriate term (e.g. dense woodland, wooded grassland) is used.



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