Grassland-forest transitions in South American rangelands

Rafael Bernardi studies socio-ecological drivers of tree cover and estimates effects of grassland transitions to savannas/forests in South America.

The absence of trees in Subtropical South America has puzzled scientists since Darwin’s times. We aim to understand the socio-ecological drivers of tree cover and estimate the potential consequences of transitions from grassland to savannas and forests in the subtropical grasslands of eastern South America.

PhD dissertation:

Bernardi R.E. 2017. Forest-grassland transitions: How livestock and fire shape grassy biomes. Wageningen University.

Publications related to this PhD dissertation:

Bernardi, R.E., A. Staal, C. Xu, M. Scheffer, M. Holmgren. 2019. Livestock herbivory shapes fire regimes and vegetation structure across the global tropics. Ecosystems 22 (7), 1457-1465.

Bernardi, R.E., M. Buddeberg, M. Arim, M. Holmgren. 2019. Forests expand as livestock pressure declines in subtropical South America. Ecology and Society 24 (2).

Bernardi R.E., I.K. de Jonge, M. Holmgren. 2016. Trees improve forage quality and abundance in South American subtropical grasslands. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 232: 227-231.

Bernardi RE., M. Holmgren, M. Arim, M. Scheffer. 2016. Why are forests so scarce in subtropical South America? The shaping roles of climate, fire and livestock. Forest Ecology and Management 363:212-217.

Rafael Bernardi and Milena Holmgren in the field.JPG