Dominant species' resprout biomass dynamics after cutting in the Sudanian savanna-woodlands of West Africa: long term effects of annual early fire and grazing
Given widespread anthropogenic disturbance and land degradation across the Sudanian savanna-woodlands of West Africa, these researchers examined the impacts of early annual fire and grazing on 6 dominant plant species in terms of: shoot mortality, height and girth. Though rather unoriginally, they hypothesized that forest biomass reconstitution is affected by disturbances such as fire and grazing.
Goals & Methods
Their research occurred in two state forests in Burkina Faso (18 ha each), each were divided into 8 blocks (4 that were fenced to exclude livestock and 4 for open grazing) and within each block there were 9 plots (three treatments were then randomly assigned for no cutting, selective cutting, and selective cutting followed by direct seeding of tree species).
Conclusions & Takeaways
The results found that burning decreased the shoot mortality of Crossopteryx febrifuga. Detarium microcarpum mortality was signifincantly higher in grazed plots. Burning reduced mortality within ungrazed treatment of Entada africana, but in grazed treatment the difference between fire treatements was low. In Combretum ghazalense, mortality was highest in grazed and burnt plots. None of the treatments affected mortality of Acacia macrostachya and Combretum glutinosum. The researchers conclude that currently land management polices in Burkina Faso should better integrate livestock grazing and controlled burning to reflect the true impacts that they have, rather than the idealistic and untruthful facts shaping policies today.
Dominant species' resprout biomass dynamics after cutting in the Sudanian savanna-woodlands of West Africa: long term effects of annual early fire and grazing. Annals of Forest Science. 2011;68:555–564. doi:10.1007/s13595-011-0055-5..
- Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
- Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique
- Centre for International Forestry Research