The production, storage and viability of seeds of Acacia karroo and A. nilotica in a grassy savanna in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
African Acacias are often major contributors to the progressive increase in the woody component of savannas, a phenomenon commonly referred to as bush encroachment. They produce large quantities of seed and may have large soil-stored seed banks. In Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park, the number of adult Acacia nilotica trees per hectare far exceed that of A. karroo adults. The relative dominance is reversed in the juvenile stage with A. karroo outnumbering A. nilotica threefold outside closed woodlands. Acacia karroo trees were smaller than A. nilotica trees on average, but produced more seeds for a given basal diameter size class. Acacia karroo showed less bruchid infestation than A. nilotica at all stages of pod development. Unlike A. nilotica, a proportion of A. karroo seeds was able to germinate after bruchid attack. We detected no difference between the two species in the soil-stored seed bank or in the viability of seeds found in the seed bank.