Delayed effects of fire on habitat use by large herbivores in Acacia drepanolobium savanna

Fire is frequently used as a wildlife management tool in savanna habitats (Trollope, 1982). Burning stimulates sprouting of plants (Vesey-Fitzgerald, 1971), improving forage quality (Komarek, 1967; Dorgeloh, 1999). Several studies have supported quantitatively what has been well known by managers for some time, namely that ungulates are attracted by resprouting vegetation in recently burned areas (Moe, Wegge & Kapela, 1990; Wilsey, 1996; Tomor & Owen-Smith 2002). Rapid resprouting initiated by fire, and reinforced by herbivory (cf. McNaughton, 1985), may contribute to attract herbivores consistently to the same areas in a feedback loop (Fuhlendorf & Engle 2004). Most of these studies have generally taken place shortly after burning occurred, so the present work was conducted with the aim of testing whether herbivores prefer burnt areas in subsequent growing seasons, i.e. when the short-term response to fire is no longer important.

Last Updated
January 26, 2021
Size
64.03 KB