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Burning/fire in Kruger - discussion

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Lesego
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Re: Introduction of an upcoming High Intensity Fire experime

Unread post by Lesego » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:00 pm

Here is the map:

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Re: Introduction of an upcoming High Intensity Fire experime

Unread post by topgunhorse » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:29 pm

Thank you Lesego.

If this map isn't big enough, just have a look on any Kruger map. Its boundaries are:
H3 to the west
S118 to the south
S113 S114 and S26 to the east.

It is bisected by the H2-2
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Re: Introduction of an upcoming High Intensity Fire experime

Unread post by Rooies » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:42 pm

Thanks for the map Lesego. Why was it decided to burn? I know that it is considered that there is too much woody vegetation but who has made that decision? Does previous records show that the area was once more open (less trees and shrubs)? If so which model or ratio is deemed to be the suitable one in terms of eg one tree per 100 sq/m? More open areas favour the grass eaters and that is probably the overall plan but can one then make the deduction that the ratio between grass and shrub/tree eaters is not correct or ideal?
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Re: Introduction of an upcoming High Intensity Fire experime

Unread post by Son godin » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:24 pm

Hi Lesego,

I was also wondering why it is so important to remove the woody vegatation if it only returns at a faster growth than before within a year or two. During my last visit to this area in Sept 2012 I could not see any improvement in less scrubs compared to when I have visited the same area in Sept 2010 a week before the experimental fire.

Even in March 2011 the growth already returned.

Are there perhaps photos available showing the before fire and now pics 2,5 years after the fire. Why does the park not follow a natural plan to get rid of trees and schrubs by relocation of elephants. Up north near Satara where savanna areas are very common you will find large herds of elephants that may impact negatively on the vegatation in that area, while in the south the elephant populations are smaller.

Have any one done studies on the behaviour of elephants after such severe fires. Does the elephants return or rather move into other areas. I am a fairly frequent visitor to the park, although not every weekend but at least a few times a year. What I have notice was that during my visit in Sept 2010 and before I have always found elephants herds at the water hole on the south eastern corner were the fire burned to in Oct 2010 ( crossing of S118 and S114), but there after had no luck again along the S114. The only herds I saw was on the eastern side toward Biyamiti camp.

Maybe my observations are no match to scientific research, but it will be interesting to know if any one have thought about it and also see elephant as a natural method to get rid of thick vegetations.
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Re: Introduction of an upcoming High Intensity Fire experime

Unread post by hilda » Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:06 am

Son godin wrote:Maybe my observations are no match to scientific research, but it will be interesting to know if any one have thought about it and also see elephant as a natural method to get rid of thick vegetations.


Very interesting and valid thought/question Son Godin! Looking forward to the response hereto! :thumbs_up:
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Re: Introduction of an upcoming High Intensity Fire experime

Unread post by Ifubesi » Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:11 am

Son Godin wrote:
Why does the park not follow a natural plan to get rid of trees and schrubs by relocation of elephants. Up north near Satara where savanna areas are very common you will find large herds of elephants that may impact negatively on the vegatation in that area, while in the south the elephant populations are smaller.


Let's see what the scientists say. However, I can make a few comments in my humble opinion. From what I have seen, increasing the number of elephants is not an effective measure to combat bush encroachment. Elephants do have a significant impact on the number of large trees in an area but their impact on low schrubs are small.

Just take the north-eastern mopani plains between Letaba and Shingwedzi as an example. The area has a high elephant population but still the mopani schrubs seem to be getting thicker over the long term.

In my opinion, fires of this nature is the only way to combat bush encroachment. However, in the long term it is going to become very difficult to halt the dominance of woody vegetation due to ever increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere...
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Re: Introduction of an upcoming High Intensity Fire experime

Unread post by Rooies » Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:20 am

It appears that veld fires were a very common thing as far as back as 500 years ago. The first Portuguese explorers that traveled into the interior called Southern Africa terra dos fumos because of all the smoke from the fires. Lightning played a role but the majority of the fires were started bu humans, for various reasons.

I guess we will never fully understand how nature works. After all, it has sorted itself out over millions of years. The question remains, do we have to interfere by controlled burns? Perhaps we will have an answer a thousand years from now.
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Re: Introduction of an upcoming High Intensity Fire experime

Unread post by Dabchick » Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:02 am

Too much fire (too frequently, i.e. every year instead of every 5 or more years) can lead to bush encroachment in the Grassland Biome (as fire tolerant savanna trees replaces the mature grassland species that are not that fire tolerant), but in the Savanna Biome, high intensity fire (but also every 3 to 5 years, rather than every year) is a good thing because it selectively kills young trees and shrubs but leave the older/larger ones to survive. Most animals (probably excepting elephants) also do not like a too dense bush, and will avoid an overgrown area if there are better, more open, habitat nearby.

One always worry about the animals, but one can only hope that the burn patterns allow time for escape, and that there are not too many babies around that cannot escape.

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Re: Introduction of an upcoming High Intensity Fire experime

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:31 am

Remember too that other factors play a part in how much bush encroachment is likely etc. I am talking about the underlying geology and soil types, rainfall, temperature, topography....... All these are being taken into account in the new fire policy, and will be part of the reason for this particular research project.
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Re: Introduction of an upcoming High Intensity Fire experime

Unread post by Stephens.L » Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:23 am

Preparations are underway for the upcoming High Intensity Fire experiment in the park to be conducted in early September. More details to follow soon
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Re: Introduction of an upcoming High Intensity Fire experime

Unread post by Stephens.L » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:55 pm

KNP TO APPLY THE HIGH INTENSITY PRESCRIBED BURN

The Kruger National Park (KNP) Scientists and Rangers in conjunction with Working on Fire teams will apply the high intensity prescribed burn in the southern part of the Park on 2-3 September 2013. The teams will start with what is called a multiple spiral ignition today at 15:30 and then perimeter ignition tomorrow, also in the afternoon. Some parts of the gravel roads will temporarily be closed during the burn; in order to completely allow the ignition to end.

“The aim of this fire treatment is to determine the desirability and feasibility of researching with high intensity burns to address bush thickening at selected areas in the KNP. The data analysis indicated that we have the most suitable weather conditions to conduct the treatment around this period in September,” indicated the GM: Communications and Marketing - KNP, William Mabasa.

Gravel roads to be closed will be: S112 and S118 on 2 September; and parts of S23, S113, S114 and H3 which will affect routes towards the Jock of the Bushveld, Afsaal Picnic Spot, Gardenia bird hide, Lukimbi Private Lodge and Biyamiti Bush Camp) on 3 September 2013.

“The areas around the target sites will be cleared to ensure animals are safe and ground teams to guide tourists on alternative roads will also be available at the affected roads”, concluded Mabasa.

This is a follow-up on a high intensity burn which took place in 2010. In preparation for this year’s treatment, prior vegetation surveys were conducted such as sampling the vegetation before and after the fire treatment, collecting of data a year after the burn to look at re-growth responses, plot work – recording of all woody vegetation, information such as species, height, diameter and number of stems etc; assisting in giving an indication of the amount of fuel that is available to burn.

....Ends

Issued by:
Communications and Marketing Department - Kruger National Park, Contact: Tel: 013 735 4262, cell: 082 807 1441 or email: laura.mukwevho@sanparks.org

Enquiries:
William Mabasa, GM: Communications and Marketing, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: 013 735 4363, cell: 082 807 3919 or email: William.mabasa@sanparks.org
Last edited by Stephens.L on Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Introduction of an upcoming High Intensity Fire experime

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld » Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:53 am

By 14 September there should almost definitely be a green flush, attracting a lot of animals and different bird species, and with easier viewing due to thinner bush and lower grass, so you'll probably have better sightings than you would have
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Re: Introduction of an upcoming High Intensity Fire experime

Unread post by Maargat G » Tue Sep 03, 2013 4:33 pm

I agree with Josh,

the greens might be very short, but even though its a burnt area it should give you excellent sightings. I had one of my best sightings in a burnt area east of Satara a few weeks back. Had a honey badger next to the road and saw how a jackal caught a francolin right next to the road. Also had reedbuck and tsetsebe.

So do drive the area. You will see something special... hopefully!!
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Re: Introduction of an upcoming High Intensity Fire experime

Unread post by Stephens.L » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:19 am

Please note that the High Intensity Fire experiment yesterday went well. The Rangers, Scientists and Working on Fire team arrived at Afsaal for the briefing session before the implementation to ensure that everyone understand his/her role. They all occupied their positions to get ready for the fire which started at 13:00. Two helicopters were used. The first one was responsible for burning the blocks and the other one "Spoter" was responsible to monitor if the fire is getting out of hand and to ensure that animals are not trapped inside the blocks. The experiment went well and it had minimum effects to visitors as people were able to come and utilise facilities at Afsaal without inconvenience. The rangers are currently on the ground doing post analysis to check if there are no casualties.
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Re: Introduction of an upcoming High Intensity Fire experime

Unread post by DinkyBird » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:24 am

Thank you for the report back Stephens, really appreciate it!

Well done to all involved!
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