Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-747cfc64b6-xl4lj Total loading time: 0.319 Render date: 2021-06-17T02:20:05.576Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true }

Stem mortality of Acacia nigrescens induced by the synergistic effects of elephants and fire in Kruger National Park, South Africa

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 November 2008

Glenn R. Moncrieff
Affiliation:
Department of Botany, University of Cape Town, Private Bag Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
Laurence M. Kruger
Affiliation:
Department of Botany, University of Cape Town, Private Bag Rondebosch 7701, South Africa Organization for Tropical Studies, Skukuza, South Africa
Jeremy J. Midgley
Affiliation:
Department of Botany, University of Cape Town, Private Bag Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract:

One manner in which elephants utilize trees is by removing their bark. This type of utilization is concentrated on the largest trees in the landscape. The role of bark removal in increasing the vulnerability of large trees to fire and the mechanism through which fire damage is mediated were investigated in Kruger National Park, South Africa, by experimentally removing bark and burning Acacia nigrescens stems with diameters ranging between 30 and 68 mm. Also, field surveys were conducted subsequent to natural fires in order to investigate mortality patterns of large trees with dbh greater than 15 cm with bark removed by elephants. An increasing probability of mortality was associated with increasing amounts of bark removal but only if trees were burned. When trees had bark removed but were not burnt, simulating damage only to cambium and phloem, none of the 12 treated stems died in the 4-mo period over which the experiment ran. Moreover, low levels of cambium damage were detected in large burned stems. This suggests that bark removal increases fire-induced xylem damage and that this damage contributes towards stem mortality. In a survey of 437 large trees, bark removal by elephants was frequent on large stems (44%) and larger trees have greater amounts of bark removed. Post-fire mortality of large trees was significantly associated with increasing bark removal and stem diameter. These results indicate that bark removal by elephants increases the vulnerability of stems to fire, resulting in mortality of large stems otherwise protected from fire.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

BALFOUR, D. A. & MIDGLEY, J. J. 2006. Fire induced stem death in an African acacia is not caused by canopy scorching. Austral Ecology 31:892896.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
BARNES, R. F. W. 1983. The elephant problem in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania. Biological Conservation 26:127148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
BELSKY, A. J. 1994. Influences of trees on savanna productivity: tests of shade, nutrients, and tree-grass competition. Ecology 75:922932.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
BEN-SHAHAR, R. 1993. Patterns of elephant damage in vegetation in northern Botswana. Biological Conservation 65:249256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
BEUCHNER, H. K. & DAWKINS, H. C. 1961. Vegetation change induced by elephants and fire in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda. Ecology 42:752766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
BOND, W. J. & VAN WILGEN, B.W. 1996. Fire and plants. Chapman & Hall, London. 276 pp.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
BOVA, A. S. & DICKINSON, M. B. 2005. Linking surface-fire behaviour, stem heating, and tissue necrosis. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 35:814822.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
DEAN, W. R. J., MILTON, S. J. & JELTSCH, F. 1998. Large trees, fertile islands and birds in arid savanna. Journal of Arid Environments 41:6178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
DUBLIN, H. T., SINCLAIR, A. R. E. & MCGLADE, J. 1990. Elephants and fire as causes of multiple stable states in the Serengeti-Mara woodlands. Journal of Animal Ecology 59:11471164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
ECKHARDT, H. C., VAN WILGEN, B. W. & BIGGS, H. C. 2000. Trends in woody vegetation cover in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, between 1940 and 1998. African Journal of Ecology 38:108113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
GADD, M. E. 2002. The impact of elephants on the marula tree Sclerocarya birrea. African Journal of Ecology 40:328336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
GERTENBACH, W. P. D. 1983. Landscapes of the Kruger National Park. Koedoe 26:921.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
GIGNOUX, J., CLOBERT, J. & MENAUT, J. C. 1997. Alternative fire resistance strategies in savanna trees. Oecologia 110:576583.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
GILL, A. & ASHTON, D. 1968. The role of bark type in relative tolerance to fire of three central Victorian eucalypts. Australian Journal of Botany 16:491498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
GUY, P. R. 1989. The influence of elephants and fire on a Brachystegia–Julbernardia woodland in Zimbabwe. Journal of Tropical Ecology 5:215226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
HARE, R. C. 1965a. Contribution of bark to fire resistance of southern trees. Journal of Forestry 63:248251.Google Scholar
HARE, R. C. 1965b. Bark surface and cambium temperatures in simulated forest fires. Journal of Forestry 63:437440.Google Scholar
HIGGINS, S. I., BOND, W. J. & TROLLOPE, W. S. W. 2000. Fire, resprouting and variability: a recipe for grass-tree coexistence in savanna. Journal of Ecology 88:213229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
HOFFMANN, W. A & SOLBRIG, O. T. 2003. The role of topkill in the differential response of savanna woody species to fire. Forest Ecology and Management 180:273286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
HOLDO, R. 2005. Stem mortality following fire in Kalahari sand vegetation: effects of frost, prior damage, and tree neighbourhoods. Plant Ecology 180:7786.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
JONES, J. L., WEBB, B. W., BUTLER, B. W., DICKINSON, M. B., JIMENEZ, D., REARDON, J. & BOVA, A. S. 2006. Prediction and measurement of thermally induced cambial tissue necrosis in tree stems. International Journal of Wildland Fire 15:317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
LUDWIG, F., DE KROON, H., BERENDSE, F. & PRINS, H. T. T. 2004. The influence of savanna trees on nutrient, water and light availability and the understorey vegetation. Plant Ecology 170:93105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
MACGREGOR, S. D. & O'CONNOR, T. G. 2004. Response of Acacia tortilis to utilization by elephants in a semi-arid African savanna. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 34:5566.Google Scholar
PÉREZ, B. & MORENO, J. M. 1998. Methods for quantifying fire severity in shrubland-fires. Plant Ecology 139:91101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
RUNDEL, P. W. 1973. The relationship between basal fire scars and crown damage in giant sequoia. Ecology 54:210213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
SHANNON, G., DRUCE, D. J., PAGE, B. R., ECKHARDT, H, C., GRANT, R. & SLOTOW, R. 2008. The utilization of large savanna trees by elephant in southern Kruger National Park. Journal of Tropical Ecology 24:281289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
TROLLOPE, W. S. W. 1984. Fire in savanna. Pp. 149175 in Booysen, P. D. V. & Tainton, N. M. (eds.). Ecological effect of fire in South African ecosystems. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
TYREE, M. T. & SPERRY, J. S. 1988. Vulnerability of xylem to cavitation and embolism. Annual Review of Plant Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology 40:1936.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
UHL, C. & KAUFFMAN, J. B. 1990. Deforestation, fire susceptibility, and potential tree responses to fire in the Eastern Amazon. Ecology 71:437439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
VINES, R. G. 1968. Heat transfer through bark, and the resistance of trees to fire. Australian Journal of Botany 16:499514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
YEATON, R. I. 1988. Porcupines, fires and the dynamics of the tree layer of the Burkea africana savanna. Journal of Ecology 76:10171029.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
30
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Stem mortality of Acacia nigrescens induced by the synergistic effects of elephants and fire in Kruger National Park, South Africa
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Stem mortality of Acacia nigrescens induced by the synergistic effects of elephants and fire in Kruger National Park, South Africa
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Stem mortality of Acacia nigrescens induced by the synergistic effects of elephants and fire in Kruger National Park, South Africa
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *