Woody cover in wet and dry African savannas after six decades of experimental fires

Devine, Aisling P., Stott, Iain, McDonald, Robbie A. , Maclean, Ilya M. D. and Wilson, Scott (2015) Woody cover in wet and dry African savannas after six decades of experimental fires. Journal of Ecology, 103 (2). pp. 473-478. ISSN 0022-0477

Full content URL: http://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12367

Full text not available from this repository.

Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


Fire is an integral process in savannas because it plays a crucial role in altering woody cover of this globally important biome.
In this study, we examine the long‐term effects of varying fire frequencies over a 60‐year time period in South Africa. We analyse the effects of fire exclusion and of experimental burns every 1, 2 and 3 years on woody cover, tree abundance and stem structure on a wet and dry savanna.
Increased fire frequency did not display a consistent effect on woody cover. The presence of fire, irrespective of frequency, was much more influential in lowering tree abundance in the wet savanna than the dry savanna. In the dry savanna, fire was more effective in greatly increasing coppicing in trees, when compared to the wet savannas.
Synthesis. The effects of fire on three measures of savanna woody vegetation differed between wet and dry experimental sites. We suggest that vegetation responses to fire are dependent on local conditions, which are likely influenced by rainfall. Therefore, we suggest that management strategies should take account of whether a savanna is a wet or dry system when implementing fire management regimes.

Keywords:disturbance, mesic savannas, plant populations and community dynamics, savannah, semi?arid savannas, vegetation dynamics, woody encroachment
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C180 Ecology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:36164
Deposited On:08 Oct 2019 09:48

Repository Staff Only: item control page