Original Articles

The Effect of Season of Fire on Serotinous Proteaceae in the Western Cape and the Implications for Fynbos Management

Published in: South African Forestry Journal
Volume 133, issue 1, 1985 , pages: 49–53
DOI: 10.1080/00382167.1985.9629574
Author(s): B.W. van WilgenJonkershoek Forestry Research Centre,, M. ViviersJonkershoek Forestry Research Centre,


A survey of the regeneration of serotinous Proteaceae following fire in different seasons was conducted in the Western Cape. Seedling regeneration was best following late summer-early autumn burns and differed significantly from regeneration following winter and spring burns. These results are explained in terms of a rodent predation hypothesis. Some anomalies arise in the data, where good regeneration followed spring burns. These usually occur on the south-facing coastal ranges. In such cases rodent predation may be pre-empted by early germination. Some hypotheses which may explain differences in regeneration success are discussed and these need to be tested. Examples from other fynbos taxa are used to emphasise the advantages of a late summer-early autumn burning regime for most fynbos areas. As the Western Cape probably has a long history of spring burning it is considered important that burning should be conducted in late summer-early autumn in future to ensure effective conservation of the fynbos. The implications for prescribed burning as a fire management tool are discussed.

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