Bush-control studies in the drier areas of Kenya. V. Effects of controlled burning and grazing management on Tarchonanthus/Acacia thicket.

Published online
12 Nov 1970
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Pratt, D. J. & Knight. J.

Publication language
Africa South of Sahara & Kenya


Describes an experiment in which three burns, preliminary slashing [cutting by machete 2-3 ft. above ground], and browsing by goats were combined between 1958 and 1963 in two management systems appropriate to traditional cattle husbandry in Kenya. Burning soon opened the thicket canopy and increased the contribution of grass, but there was rapid regeneration of woody plants, and no mortality occurred in the dominant thicket species viz., T. camphoratus and A. brevispica until the third burn. Goats helped to check regeneration of woody plants (except Dichrostachys cinerea), and this led to significantly higher fire temperatures. Browsing was more effective in slashed than unslashed areas. Slashing also promoted even burning. The T. camphoratus A. brevispica thicket is apparently a fire climax, but continuation of the burning regime could effect a change to wooded grassland with A. seyal var. seyal, and A. nilotica subsp. subalata. A detailed description of the burns is appended. KEYWORDS: Abies nilotica subsp. subalata \ Abies seyal var. seyal \ Acacia brevispica \ controlled burning \ effects \ vegetation \ ground cover \ controlled burning \ forage improvement \ Dichrostachys cinerea \ Grazing \ pasture management \ Tarchonanthus camphoratus

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