23 Aug Why Nambiti’s Block Burns are a Good Veld Management Practice
Maintaining a healthy savannah ecosystem results in healthy, happy wildlife. From the beginning of time, Mother Nature has used fire to maintain the healthy balance of the planet’s ecosystems.
Because fires can be both a destructive and beneficial force, controlled block burns on the Nambiti Big 5 Game Reserve are planned very carefully and are usually done late in the fire season when the rainy season is close at hand.
We designate blocks to burn on a rotational basis, with burning taking place annually. Under the watchful eye of Reserve Management and staff armed with firefighting equipment, vehicles and lots of water, we burn different areas of the reserve. Of course, we choose our days to burn very carefully, ensuring that the Fire Index is low and that it’s not too windy.
Why block burn?
Controlled block burns are a part of good veld management practices. Hot, controlled burns help prevent bush encroachment and moribund grasses, opening up areas for new grass growth to flourish.
Moribund is the concept of grass ‘growing itself to death’. Dead grass piles up on top of itself and the new grass underneath goes dormant and is unable to grow due to the lack of space and sunlight. Burning this moribund grass creates the ‘breathing room’ for new grass to grow and flourish.
If we don’t burn the land, there’s also a risk on bush encroachment, which can be detrimental as it takes over grasslands, destroying the food source needed by grazers. Trees taller than the grass will often survive (ensuring an adequate healthy food supply for the browsers), but smaller trees shorter than the grass will burn and die. This ensures that there is space for new grass to grow and create an adequate healthy food source for the grazers.
When the rains come, the burnt areas come to life with delectable new green growth that the wildlife can hardly resist.
Visiting Nambiti just after the blocks have been burnt is a great time to see the animals (especially our grazers) gathering to nibble on the fresh, green grass. And it’s easier to spot them since all the moribund is gone. Now is the time to book your next Nambiti stay! https://nambiti.temple.co.za/contact-us/