Effect of patches of woody vegetation on the role of fire in tropical grasslands and savannas

F. van Langevelde, C. de Groot, T.A. Groen, I.M.A. Heitkonig, I. Gaigher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In tropical grasslands and savannas, fire is used to reduce woody vegetation expansion. Woody vegetation in these biomes is often patchily distributed, and micro-climatic conditions can largely vary locally with unknown consequences for fire effects. We hypothesized that (1) fire has higher temperature and maintains high temperatures for a longer period at the windward side than at the leeward side of wooded patches, (2) this difference increases with patch size, (3) fire has a larger effect on woody vegetation at the windward side than at the leeward side of wooded patches, and (4) this effect increases with patch size. We planted tree seedlings around wooded patches in a grassland and burnt these plots. We found that fire had a lower temperature and had an elevated temperature for a shorter time period at the leeward side of wooded patches than at the windward side. Also, we found smaller effect of fire on the seedlings at the leeward side. We conclude that patches of woody vegetation can have a large effect on the role of fire in tropical grasslands and savannas. This effect suggests a ⿿safe zone� for seedlings at the leeward side, which consequently promotes woody vegetation expansion. This paper contributes to understanding of the effect of patchiness of woody vegetation on the role of fire in tropical grasslands and savannas in reducing woody vegetation expansion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-416
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • south-africa
  • neotropical savanna
  • semiarid woodland
  • national-park
  • tree cover
  • ecosystems
  • intensity
  • frequency
  • dynamics
  • plants

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of patches of woody vegetation on the role of fire in tropical grasslands and savannas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this