Experiments are being conducted in the Kruger National Park to prove that fires can be used to rejuvenate savanna ecosystems and boost biodiversity. T he Savanna Fire Ignition Research Experiment (SavFIRE) is an ongoing initiative to investigate different types of fire patterns and their effect on biodiversity.
“Fire can be a tool to rejuvenate savanna ecosystems and boost biodiversity, but to achieve the maximum benefit it’s important that the fire is not too intense,” said park spokesperson Raymond Travers. H e said fire researchers, who attended the sixth annual Science Network Meeting held in Skukuza recently, found that fires started at a single point were more natural than those started on a block of land. However, the point ignitions were harder to control and posed a greater risk of getting out of hand. Researchers are therefore trying to find out whether smaller blocks burned under specific conditions could achieve an effect similar to point ignitions. S avFIRE experiments are being conducted in three veld areas of the park: the Lowveld sour bushveld in the Pretoriuskop area; the Knoppiesdoring-Marula veld in the Satara region; and the Mopane veld in the Mopane region. – BuaNews