Effects of Fires in Juvenile Oil Palm Fields on Yield and Oil Palm Breeding

  •  Claude Bakoumé    
  •  Madi Galdima    
  •  Sylvain Rafflegeau    
  •  Albert Flori    


Fires in juvenile oil palm (Elaeis guinenesis Jacq.) fields cause the death and/or reduce the yield. The magnitude of the loss of yield in subsequent years has been assessed for the first time on four of the 25 progenies that composed the 20th genetic trial laid out at La Dibamba (Cameroon) in 1993 which was accidentally victim of fires in 1996. Records of bunch production during the first five years of harvesting (1996-2000) showed that in the first two years after fires, total bunch weight was reduced by 35%, bunch number by 26% and average bunch weight by 23%. From two years after the fires onwards, burnt oil palms reacted by producing a high number of bunches, which compensated for the small average bunch weight. Fire damage to juvenile oil palms disrupted the selection of precocious progenies that helps procure for the plantations an early financial return on their investment.

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