The Effects of Prescribed Dry Season Burning on Woody Species Composition, Mole National Park, Ghana
Savannas are valuable ecological communities that support many species and are known to be heavily shaped by fire disturbances. Fire is a recognized tool for controlling excess fuel and improving habitat. However, it is thought that the timing and frequency of fire prescriptions may impact characteristics of savanna growth and composition.
Goals and Methods
The authors conduct a field study in the Mole National Park of Northern Ghana in the Guinea savanna. They aim to investigate the impacts of burning at differing times on woody species composition and diversity. They sample control plots and treatment plots with recent and earlier burns, noting when the burns occur (dry season or wet season).
Conclusions and Takeaways
In general, burning hinders tree density but supports tree species diversity. The absence of burning promotes tree density, but results in lower tree diversity. Burning in the early stages of the dry season is shown to benefit indigenous tree populations via increasing diversity. The authors conclude that both the presence and absence of burning can benefit ecosystems based on conservation goals and recommend scaling up the study to include more uncontrolled and unmanaged landscapes.
The Effects of Prescribed Dry Season Burning on Woody Species Composition, Mole National Park, Ghana. Tropical Conservation Science. 2023;16:194008292311649. doi:10.1177/19400829231164936..