Fire behaviour in a semi-arid Baikiaea plurijuga savanna woodland on Kalahari sands in western Zimbabwe

J Gambiza, Bruce Campbell, S Moe, P FROST

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Human-induced fires are a major disturbance in Baikiaea plurijuga woodland savannas that are economically important for timber production. Most fires occur during the late dry season, when they may severely damage woody plants. Prescribed burning during the early dry season is a management strategy to reduce fuel loads and thus the incidence of intense fires during the late dry season. There is, however, little information on fire behaviour characteristics of early dry season fires. We studied the relationship between experimental fuel conditions and fire behaviour by lighting 15 fires during the early dry season in a Baikiaea woodland. Fire intensity ranged from 25 to 1341 kW m-1, while rate of spread of fire varied between 0.01 and 0.35 m s-1. Fire intensity and rate of spread were positively related to flame height, leaf-scorch height and proportion of the area burnt. The relationships suggest that fire characteristics can be retrospectively determined using a variable such as scorch height. The grass fuel load, wind speed, relative humidity and to a lesser extent fuel moisture were important predictors of rate of spread, flame height, leaf-scorch height and proportion of the area burnt, with no impact due to the litter fuel load. The grass fuel load and wind speed had a positive effect on rate of spread, whereas relative humidity and fuel moisture had a negative effect. These findings indicate that managers can predict the likely damage to woody plants during an early dry season burn by assessing the grass fuel load and weather conditions at the time of burning.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)239-244
    Number of pages6
    JournalSouth African Journal of Science
    Volume101
    Issue number5-Jun
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

    Fingerprint

    Baikiaea plurijuga
    Botswana
    Zimbabwe
    fire behavior
    savanna
    savannas
    woodlands
    woodland
    Fires
    Sand
    sand
    dry season
    scorch
    fire intensity
    Poaceae
    grasses
    woody plants
    grass
    Baikiaea
    wind speed

    Cite this

    Gambiza, J ; Campbell, Bruce ; Moe, S ; FROST, P. / Fire behaviour in a semi-arid Baikiaea plurijuga savanna woodland on Kalahari sands in western Zimbabwe. In: South African Journal of Science. 2005 ; Vol. 101, No. 5-Jun. pp. 239-244.
    @article{5a2b711d83dd4bbeaabf0afa8b72b1b1,
    title = "Fire behaviour in a semi-arid Baikiaea plurijuga savanna woodland on Kalahari sands in western Zimbabwe",
    abstract = "Human-induced fires are a major disturbance in Baikiaea plurijuga woodland savannas that are economically important for timber production. Most fires occur during the late dry season, when they may severely damage woody plants. Prescribed burning during the early dry season is a management strategy to reduce fuel loads and thus the incidence of intense fires during the late dry season. There is, however, little information on fire behaviour characteristics of early dry season fires. We studied the relationship between experimental fuel conditions and fire behaviour by lighting 15 fires during the early dry season in a Baikiaea woodland. Fire intensity ranged from 25 to 1341 kW m-1, while rate of spread of fire varied between 0.01 and 0.35 m s-1. Fire intensity and rate of spread were positively related to flame height, leaf-scorch height and proportion of the area burnt. The relationships suggest that fire characteristics can be retrospectively determined using a variable such as scorch height. The grass fuel load, wind speed, relative humidity and to a lesser extent fuel moisture were important predictors of rate of spread, flame height, leaf-scorch height and proportion of the area burnt, with no impact due to the litter fuel load. The grass fuel load and wind speed had a positive effect on rate of spread, whereas relative humidity and fuel moisture had a negative effect. These findings indicate that managers can predict the likely damage to woody plants during an early dry season burn by assessing the grass fuel load and weather conditions at the time of burning.",
    keywords = "fire behavior, forest management, forestry practice, prescribed burning, savanna, timber industry, Africa, Eastern Hemisphere, Kalahari Desert, Southern Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, World, Zimbabwe, Baikiaea, Baikiaea plurijuga",
    author = "J Gambiza and Bruce Campbell and S Moe and P FROST",
    year = "2005",
    language = "English",
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    pages = "239--244",
    journal = "South African Journal of Science",
    issn = "0038-2353",
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    Fire behaviour in a semi-arid Baikiaea plurijuga savanna woodland on Kalahari sands in western Zimbabwe. / Gambiza, J; Campbell, Bruce; Moe, S; FROST, P.

    In: South African Journal of Science, Vol. 101, No. 5-Jun, 2005, p. 239-244.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Fire behaviour in a semi-arid Baikiaea plurijuga savanna woodland on Kalahari sands in western Zimbabwe

    AU - Gambiza, J

    AU - Campbell, Bruce

    AU - Moe, S

    AU - FROST, P

    PY - 2005

    Y1 - 2005

    N2 - Human-induced fires are a major disturbance in Baikiaea plurijuga woodland savannas that are economically important for timber production. Most fires occur during the late dry season, when they may severely damage woody plants. Prescribed burning during the early dry season is a management strategy to reduce fuel loads and thus the incidence of intense fires during the late dry season. There is, however, little information on fire behaviour characteristics of early dry season fires. We studied the relationship between experimental fuel conditions and fire behaviour by lighting 15 fires during the early dry season in a Baikiaea woodland. Fire intensity ranged from 25 to 1341 kW m-1, while rate of spread of fire varied between 0.01 and 0.35 m s-1. Fire intensity and rate of spread were positively related to flame height, leaf-scorch height and proportion of the area burnt. The relationships suggest that fire characteristics can be retrospectively determined using a variable such as scorch height. The grass fuel load, wind speed, relative humidity and to a lesser extent fuel moisture were important predictors of rate of spread, flame height, leaf-scorch height and proportion of the area burnt, with no impact due to the litter fuel load. The grass fuel load and wind speed had a positive effect on rate of spread, whereas relative humidity and fuel moisture had a negative effect. These findings indicate that managers can predict the likely damage to woody plants during an early dry season burn by assessing the grass fuel load and weather conditions at the time of burning.

    AB - Human-induced fires are a major disturbance in Baikiaea plurijuga woodland savannas that are economically important for timber production. Most fires occur during the late dry season, when they may severely damage woody plants. Prescribed burning during the early dry season is a management strategy to reduce fuel loads and thus the incidence of intense fires during the late dry season. There is, however, little information on fire behaviour characteristics of early dry season fires. We studied the relationship between experimental fuel conditions and fire behaviour by lighting 15 fires during the early dry season in a Baikiaea woodland. Fire intensity ranged from 25 to 1341 kW m-1, while rate of spread of fire varied between 0.01 and 0.35 m s-1. Fire intensity and rate of spread were positively related to flame height, leaf-scorch height and proportion of the area burnt. The relationships suggest that fire characteristics can be retrospectively determined using a variable such as scorch height. The grass fuel load, wind speed, relative humidity and to a lesser extent fuel moisture were important predictors of rate of spread, flame height, leaf-scorch height and proportion of the area burnt, with no impact due to the litter fuel load. The grass fuel load and wind speed had a positive effect on rate of spread, whereas relative humidity and fuel moisture had a negative effect. These findings indicate that managers can predict the likely damage to woody plants during an early dry season burn by assessing the grass fuel load and weather conditions at the time of burning.

    KW - fire behavior

    KW - forest management

    KW - forestry practice

    KW - prescribed burning

    KW - savanna

    KW - timber industry

    KW - Africa

    KW - Eastern Hemisphere

    KW - Kalahari Desert

    KW - Southern Africa

    KW - Sub-Saharan Africa

    KW - World

    KW - Zimbabwe

    KW - Baikiaea

    KW - Baikiaea plurijuga

    M3 - Article

    VL - 101

    SP - 239

    EP - 244

    JO - South African Journal of Science

    JF - South African Journal of Science

    SN - 0038-2353

    IS - 5-Jun

    ER -