Does the Date of Burning Affect Carbon and Nutrient Losses in a Humid Savanna of West Africa?

  •  Aya B. N Dri    
  •  Louis N. Konan    


A significant impact of fires is the transfer to the atmosphere of the elements contained in combusted biomass. This study was carried out in the Guinean savanna of Lamto (Côte d’Ivoire) to evaluate fire-mediated carbon and nutrient losses from biomass according to the date of burning. The fire regimes tested consisted of three different burning dates: early (EF), mid (MF), and late (LF) season fires, on nine 0.5 ha plots. Carbon and five elemental nutrients were assessed in the aboveground biomass prior to burning and in ash and unburnt biomass after fires; losses were assessed by subtraction. The proportion of nutrients transferred to the atmosphere varied from 42 % (K) to 98 % (C). The lowest losses were recorded during the EF and the greatest during the MF and LF. Emission of CO2 was relatively greatest during the EF than during the MF and LF (16, 14 and 13 t ha-1 respectively). The proportion of the fine ash fraction (< 1 mm) was the greatest during MF. The highest concentrations of K, P, Ca and Mg occurred in this fraction, most susceptible to losses due to wind and rainfall. The percentage losses of C, N and K were positively correlated with fire maximal temperatureand flame height, explaining the relatively higher losses during MF. Over the long term, the MF applied annually, would lead to important depletion of soil nutrients, particularly N and P, which contributes to the low availability of nutrients in the soils of Lamto savannas.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-0488
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-0496
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: semiannual

Journal Metrics

Google-based Impact Factor (2016): 6.22
h-index (November 2017): 12
i10-index (November 2017): 19
h5-index (November 2017): 11
h5-median (November 2017): 12

Learn More