Prescribed burning in African grasslands and savannas for wildlife management
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): W. S.W. Trollope; L. A. Trollope
Publication Year: 2004

Cataloging Information

  • Africa
  • conservation
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • fire frequency
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • fuel loading
  • grasses
  • grasslands
  • grazing
  • herbaceous vegetation
  • ignition
  • lightning
  • lightning caused fires
  • livestock
  • mosaic
  • national parks
  • precipitation
  • range management
  • rangelands
  • savannas
  • season of fire
  • South Africa
  • trees
  • wildfires
  • wildlife
  • wildlife management
  • woody plants
  • International
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 47482
Tall Timbers Record Number: 23433
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


From the Introduction ... 'Africa is known as the 'Fire Continent' (Komarek 1965) and prescribed burning is a widely recognized and essential ecological factor in for managing its grassland and savanna ecosystems. Research investigating fire regime effects on the biotic and abiotic components of the ecosystem has been conducted in these regions since the early twentieth century. This has led to a general understanding of the effects of type and intensity of fire and season and frequency of burning on the grass and tree components of the vegetation. This in turn has clarified the use of fire as a range management practice, and viable prescribed burning programs have been developed for the grassland and savanna areas used for both livestock production and wildlife management. Experience gained through research on the effects and use of fire in southern and east African grasslands and savannas (Trollope 1983, 1989; Trollope and Potgieter 1986; Trollope and Troppope 1999, 2001; Trollope et al. 2000; van Wilgen et al. 1990) has led to the conclusion that the broad groups of grasses and trees generally react similarly to the different fire regime components and, therefore, general guidelines can be formulated for prescribed burning. This article focuses on the use of fire for wildlife management, a form of land for which Africa is famous.In African grassland and savanna areas used for nature conservation and game ranching there is general consensus that fire has occurred naturally since time immemorial and that it is often essential for the ecological well-being of these ecosystems (Bothma 1996; Thomson 1992; Trollope 1990). Nevertheless, views on the most appropriate burning system for wildlife areas vary widely. Initially, ideas on the use of fire were based on ecological equilibrium theory and burning was applied at a fixed return period. However, with the development of non-equilibrium theory of savanna dynamics, prescribed burning is now applied under more diverse conditions (van Wilgen et. al. 2003). Even within this new paradigm burning systems vary from so-called 'natural' systems based entirely on lightning as the ignition source, to actively applied burning systems based on the condition of the rangelands. The literature indicates that fire management is best developed in southern Africa.This paper considers the lightning burning system, the patch mosaic burning system and the range condition burning system. The integrated fire management system recently developed in the Kruger National Park in South Africa has also been recently considered in this publication; suffice it to say here that the Kruger burning system is a product of these three burning systems, specifically developed for the unique conditions and circumstances that exist in the Kruger National Park.'

Trollope, W. S. W., and L. A. Trollope. 2004. Prescribed burning in African grasslands and savannas for wildlife management. v. 55, no. May-June 2004, p. -12.