Original Research

Fire regime of the Kruger National Park for the period 1980 -1992

W.S.W. Trollope
Koedoe | Vol 36, No 2 | a373 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v36i2.373 | © 1993 W.S.W. Trollope | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 September 1993 | Published: 17 September 1993

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W.S.W. Trollope, University Fort Hare, South Africa

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Fire regime refers to the type and intensity of fire and the season and frequency of burning. In the Kruger National Park it varies according to the source of ignition of the fires. Since 1985 the different ignition sources have been controlled bums (47), refugees (23), others (20) and lightning (10). The data showed that anthropogenic fires were the most common fires and evidence on a global scale would suggest that the status quo will be maintained even if controlled burning is discontinued as is currently being considered by the National Parks Board. The most common type of fires that occur in the park are surface head fires burning with the wind but back fires and crown fires do also occur. The intensity of the fires is primarily a function of the grass fuel load which is dependent on the rainfall and consequently varies enormously from year to year. The type of fire also influences the intensity and research conducted during 1992 showed that head fires burning under similar environmental conditions were on average 36 times more intense than back fires. Anthropogenic fires generally occurred during the dry, dormant, winter period while lightning fires were more associated with the spring and summer period when dry lightning storms occur. The frequency of burning varied significantly between sourveld and sweetveld. The mean frequency of burning in sourveld areas was triennial and in the sweetveld areas octennial. Finally the general conclusion that can be drawn about the fire regime of the Kruger National Park is that it is highly variable and will continue to be so in the future. This is a very positive feature that ensures a wide diversity of habitat types.


fire regime, burning, type, intensity, season, frequency. South Africa.


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