Community dynamics and phytomass of herbaceous species in the Sudanian savanna-woodlands of Burkina Faso: short-term impact of burning season
AbstractFire is important for the maintenance and conservation of African savanna ecosystems, and prescribed fire is used in the Sudanian savanna-woodlands of West Africa as a forest management tool. Yet, the effects of fire on savanna ecosystems and especially on plant species is very much dependent on the nature of the fire regime. We assessed the effects of season of burning on herbaceous species dynamics and phytomass for four years (2006–2009). Neither fire season nor the interaction between year and fire season affected species richness, diversity, phytomass and dominant species (Andropogon chinensis (Nees) Merr.) abundance. There was, however, an interannual variation (p < 0.05) on all herbaceous species attributes except abundance of A. chinensis. This could be related to interannual variation in amount and frequency of rainfall. We also examined the whole species community using canonical correspondence analysis on the species data matrix and the fire treatment data matrix. There was no clear indication of some species showing affinity to a particular season of burning, although certain tendencies were observed. Overall, in the short-term (four years), there is no evidence of burning season affecting herbaceous species community in this ecosystem.
Keywords: Fire season, herbaceous species dynamics, phytomass, tropical ecosystem, West Africa
African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2010, 27(3): 171–177
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