n Southern African Forestry Journal - The influence of fire on a southern Cape mountain forest

Volume 2001, Issue 191
  • ISSN : 0038-2167



Afromontane forests in the southern Cape are surrounded by fire-prone fynbos. Although the presence of charcoal in Afromontane forests indicate that they do burn, little is known about the influence of fire on the dynamics of these forests. We compared the species composition and diversity of tree species in the margin and core of recently burned mountain forest. The species composition and diversity of tree species differed between the forest margin and core, with the core being more species rich and comprising trees not recorded in the margin. Although small trees of a number of species accumulated in the forest margin and core, fire killed most small trees in the margin but only a few in the core. In the margin, comparatively low numbers of small <i>Ocotea bullata&lt;/i&gt; and <i>Cunonia capensis&lt;/i&gt; were killed, and these two species formed > 90 % of the large trees recorded in the margin, but lower proportions in the forest core. Fire is thus an important factor influencing species composition and diversity in mountain forest.

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