Univ Estadual Paulista, Inst Geociencias & Ciencias Exatas, Ecosyst Dynam Observ, UNESP, Caixa Postal 178, Ave 24-A 1515, BR-13506900 Rio Claro - Brazil
 Univ Witwatersrand, Ctr African Ecol, Sch Anim Plant & Environm Sci, Private Bag X3, ZA-2050 Johannesburg - South Africa
Total Affiliations: 2
Journal of Environmental Management;
JUL 15 2018.
Web of Science Citations:
Humans can alter fire dynamics in grassland systems by changing fire frequency, fire seasonality and fuel conditions. These changes have effects on vegetation structure and recovery, species composition, and ecosystem function. Understanding how human management can affect fire regimes is vital to detect potential changes in the resilience of plant communities, and to predict vegetation responses to human interventions. We evaluated the fire regimes of two recently protected areas in Madagascar (Ibity and Itremo NPA) and one in Brazil (Serra do Cipo NP) before and after livestock exclusion and fire suppression policies. We compare the pre- and post-management fire history in these areas and analyze differences in terms of total annual burned area, density of ignitions, burn scar size distribution, fire return period and seasonal fire distribution. More than 90% of total park areas were burned at least once during the studied period, for all parks. We observed a significant reduction in the number of ignitions for Ibity NPA and Serra do Cipo NP after livestock exclusion and active fire suppression, but no significant change in total burned area for each protected area. We also observed a seasonal shift in burning, with fires happening later in the fire season (October November) after management intervention. However, the protected areas in Madagascar had shorter fire return intervals (3.23 and 1.82 years) than those in Brazil (7.91 years). Our results demonstrate that fire exclusion is unattainable, and probably unwarranted in tropical grassland conservation areas, but show how human intervention in fire and vegetation patterns can alter various aspects of the fire regimes. This information can help with formulating realistic and effective fire management policies in these valuable conservation areas. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (AU)