Grasslands, Timber and Fire. A Symposium

The SANBI National Grasslands Programme and the Grassland Society of Southern Africa were proud to host a symposium focusing on improving our understanding of the ecology and management of grasslands, and their related ecosystems, that are associated with timber plantations. A central theme was fire behaviour, fire ecology, and fire management. The proceedings are now available to download.

Grasslands, Timber and Fire. A Symposium

The SANBI National Grasslands Programme and the Grassland Society of Southern Africa were proud to host a symposium focusing on improving our understanding of the ecology and management of grasslands, and their related ecosystems, that are associated with timber plantations. A central theme was fire behaviour, fire ecology, and fire management. The proceedings are now available to download.

Background and Scope

Most timber plantations in South Africa occur in the grassland biome. The diversity and function of these grasslands relies on them being periodically burnt. In contrast, fire is a catastrophic event in timber plantations. These opposing effects of fire have led to conflicting demands being placed on grasslands in timber areas. Furthermore, extensive plantation fires in recent years have highlighted the need for appropriate grassland management.

The symposium seeks to present

  • The ‘conservation’ picture: a picture of what conservation demands of grasslands in order that they express their full potential in providing ecosystem services and conserving their biodiversity.
  • The ‘timber industry’ picture: a picture of what the plantation industry demands of grasslands in order that their plantations can be protected from fire and that they can get the services and goods that they require.

General topics include

  • The interacting effects of grazing, fire, alien species, and fuel loads, on grassland diversity and function
  • Fire behaviour at the grassland/timber interface, and how this is linked with dangerous weather conditions
  • Current grassland-management practices in forestry
  • Policy and legal restrictions, and insurance requirements, over grassland management and grazing in the timber industry

The symposium comprises several sessions, with each session including talks by experts in their particular field, short presentations of central points, and breakaway discussions where key statements can be distilled, and critical knowledge gaps identified.

Delegates are invited to submit abstracts for platform presentations (limited number available) or poster presentations.

This symposium will, additionally, be the starting point for the development of guidelines for grassland management in the timber plantation environment.

Who should attend?

  • Managers of humid grasslands, particularly within the timber environment
  • Those involved in biodiversity conservation in humid grasslands
  • Scientists, technicians, and students with an interest in grassland/timber/fire interactions
  • Anyone with a particular interest in fire behaviour
  • Those involved with policy related to grassland, timber, and fire management
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