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Accueil du site → Master → Afrique du Sud → 2000 → Effect of season and type of fire on Colophospermum mopane woodland in the south-eastern lowveld of Zimbabwe

University of KwaZulu-Natal (2000)

Effect of season and type of fire on Colophospermum mopane woodland in the south-eastern lowveld of Zimbabwe

Walters, Michael John.

Titre : Effect of season and type of fire on Colophospermum mopane woodland in the south-eastern lowveld of Zimbabwe

Auteur : Walters, Michael John.

Université de soutenance : University of KwaZulu-Natal

Grade : Master of Science in Agriculture 2000

Résumé partiel
The majority of the vegetation types occurring on Malilangwe Estate, in the south-eastern lowveld of Zimbabwe, are dominated by Colophospermum mopane (mopane). Over the past 30-50 years the stand density of these mopane vegetation types has increased, and an investigation was undertaken to determine the effect of season of burning and type of fire on mopane woodlands. From this study the following was ascertained : 1) A single predictive equation cannot be used over all seasons to estimate standing crop (fuel load) using the standard disc pasture meter procedure. The calibration equations developed using this procedure accounted for between 39 and 72% of the variation in standing crop, illustrating the high variation in basal cover of the grass sward, as well as the variation between months. Although the revised procedure, developed for areas with low basal cover, accounts for a lot more of the variation in standing crop, this procedure was not used to estimate standing crop over the study period because the calibration equation covered a number of vegetation types, and was not specific to the mopane woodlands. 2) Standing crop tracks effective rainfall (monthly rainfall divided by monthly pan evaporation) closely, with a lag period of less than one month. Standing crop can be estimated using a predictive equation that utilizes effective rainfall from the previous month. There is a positive relationship between peak standing crop and rainfall. A predictive equation was developed to estimate peak standing crop, using annual rainfall. Standing crop declines through the dry season as effective rainfall decreases, and this ’decrease function’ allows for the estimation of the standing crop for a particular month, after peak standing crop is reached. 3) Two leaf quantification equations were developed for mopane trees in the south-eastern lowveld of Zimbabwe, one for coppicing and for non-coppicing individuals. These allow for the estimation of leaf dry mass from measured canopy volume. 4) There was no significant difference between the fire intensities attained for the three seasons of burning. Over all seasons, head fires were significantly more intense than back fires. 5) Percentage topkill after late dry season burns was significantly higher than topkill after early dry season burns. There was no significant difference between mid and late dry season burns, and head fires led to significantly more topkill than back fires. Plants < 150 cm experienced significantly more topkill (80 %) than did individuals > 150 cm (44%). 6) Fire per se led to an increase in stand density over all seasons and types of fire, but this change was not significant. Fire did not influence the nett recruitment of new individuals. Height class one (0-50 cm) and three (151-350 cm) were impacted most by fire.

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