Original Research

The estimation of herbage yields under fire and grazing treatments in the Mountain Zebra National Park

J. De Klerk, L.R. Brown, H. Bezuidenhout, G. Castley
Koedoe | Vol 44, No 1 | a181 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v44i1.181 | © 2001 J. De Klerk, L.R. Brown, H. Bezuidenhout, G. Castley | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 July 2001 | Published: 01 July 2001

About the author(s)

J. De Klerk, Technikon SA Florida, South Africa
L.R. Brown, Technikon SA, Florida, RSA, South Africa
H. Bezuidenhout, South African National Parks, South Africa
G. Castley, South African National Parks, South Africa

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Abstract

The application of fire as a management tool is often used to change the species composition of the vegetation and its cover to maintain plant communities in a specific successional stage. This study investigates the influence of two fire treatments (a head and a back fire) on the plateau grassland communities in the Mountain Zebra National Park (MZNP). The production of herbage yield on grazed areas and areas protected from grazing which were subjected to two fire treatments, were compared with that of an unburnt control area subjected to grazing in the same homogenous grassland over two growing seasons. No differences were found in herbage production between the two fire treatment areas. After the burn the grazing exclosures achieved the same herbage yield as the control area within two growing seasons. In comparison, the grazed areas could after the burn only achieve a herbage yield equal to 55.7 of that of the control area. The results indicate that fire stimulates active vegetation growth on the plateau grasslands in MZNP leading to a higher production rate and better utilisation by game.

Keywords

vegetation production, controlled burning. Mountain Zebra National Park,

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