Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 452683
Title Effect of patches of woody vegetation on the role of fire in tropical grasslands and savannas
Author(s) Langevelde, F. van; Groot, C. de; Groen, T.A.; Heitkonig, I.M.A.; Gaigher, I.
Source International Journal of Wildland Fire 23 (2014)3. - ISSN 1049-8001 - p. 410 - 416.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1071/WF13119
Department(s) Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2014
Keyword(s) south-africa - neotropical savanna - semiarid woodland - national-park - tree cover - ecosystems - intensity - frequency - dynamics - plants
Abstract In tropical grasslands and savannas, fire is used to reduce woody vegetation expansion. Woody vegetation in these biomes is often patchily distributed, and micro-climatic conditions can largely vary locally with unknown consequences for fire effects. We hypothesized that (1) fire has higher temperature and maintains high temperatures for a longer period at the windward side than at the leeward side of wooded patches, (2) this difference increases with patch size, (3) fire has a larger effect on woody vegetation at the windward side than at the leeward side of wooded patches, and (4) this effect increases with patch size. We planted tree seedlings around wooded patches in a grassland and burnt these plots. We found that fire had a lower temperature and had an elevated temperature for a shorter time period at the leeward side of wooded patches than at the windward side. Also, we found smaller effect of fire on the seedlings at the leeward side. We conclude that patches of woody vegetation can have a large effect on the role of fire in tropical grasslands and savannas. This effect suggests a ⿿safe zone� for seedlings at the leeward side, which consequently promotes woody vegetation expansion. This paper contributes to understanding of the effect of patchiness of woody vegetation on the role of fire in tropical grasslands and savannas in reducing woody vegetation expansion.
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