Study

Effects of prescribed burning and mechanical bush clearing on ungulate space use in an African savannah

  • Published source details Isaacs L., Somers M.J. & Dalerum F. (2013) Effects of prescribed burning and mechanical bush clearing on ungulate space use in an African savannah. Restoration Ecology, 21, 260-266

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Remove vegetation by hand/machine

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Use prescribed burning

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Remove vegetation by hand/machine

    A before-and-after study in 2009–2010 on savannah in South Africa (Isaacs et al. 2013) found that in areas cleared of woody vegetation, wildebeest Connochaetes taurinus and zebra Equus burchelli abundance was higher than in uncleared areas after areas were burned, but not before burning, whilst other mammals did not show consistent responses. Wildebeest faecal pellet prevalence was higher in cleared than in uncleared plots after burning (cleared: in 4–7% of plots; uncleared: 1%) but not before (cleared: 0%; uncleared: 2%). Similarly, zebra pellet prevalence were higher in cleared than in uncleared plots after burning (cleared: in 18–30% of plots; uncleared: 7%) but not before (cleared: 16–19%; uncleared: 20%). Impala Aepyceros melampus, kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros and giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis did not show consistent differences between responses in cleared versus uncleared land. Herbivore abundance was determined by establishing presence or absence of faecal pellets for each species in plots along transects through areas on sandy soils subject to mechanical clearance of woody vegetation by barko crawler, bosvreter and chainsaw (date of clearance not stated) and uncleared areas. Pellets were counted in April–May 2009, prescribed burns were carried out in June–November 2009 and plots were resampled in June 2010.

  2. Use prescribed burning

    A before-and-after study in 2009–2010 on a shrubland reserve in South Africa (Isaacs et al. 2010) found that burning reduced the number of locations in which herbivores were present. In each of two main habitats, the proportion of locations at which impala Aepyceros melampus, kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros, and zebra Equus burchelli were found was lower after burning than before. In one of two habitats, wildebeest Connochaetes taurinus and giraffes were present at a higher proportion of sites after burning than before burning (see paper for full details). Two habitat types were studied, based on underlying quartzite and sandy soils. Mammal presence was quantified by determining presence or absence of faecal pellets for each species in plots along transects through each habitat. Pellets were counted in April–May 2009, burns were carried out in June–November 2009 and plots were resampled in June 2010.

Output references

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