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Title: Ecology of burnt forests in Ghana
Author: Orgle, Tetey Kwesi
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1994
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A review of Ghana's national archive records, Forestry Department reports and meteorological data reveals a pattern of drought closely associated with forest fires. The following years were identified as drought years of similar but lesser severity than 1983: 1940, '61, '70, '73, '77, '78, '81, '82, '83, '87. The interval between successive drought years between 1936 and 1990 showed a steady increase up to the early 1980s. Nine out of 10 drought years identified preceded major forest fires, confirming drought as a major pre-requisite to widespread forest fires. A majority (52%) of all forest fires originate from Taungyas. The Taungya Forest Rehabilitation System which was intended to rehabilitate degraded forest is now an additional threat to the integrity of Fire-Zone forests. An attempt to calculate frontal fire intensity, a fundamental variable in determining the direct ecological benefits of forest fires was unsuccessful in a plot of undegraded Fire-Zone forest because of low fuel availability. Fire intensity for the degraded forest plot, which burnt more readily and uniformly was 69.4 kW m-1. An examination of bark samples from different forest tree species showed that increasing bark thickness with tree size may be the reason for a relatively low mortality among bigger trees following fire. Evidence for the value of bark moisture content, which appears to increase with decreasing tree bark density in protecting trees from fire however is equivocal. Germination of soil seed bank samples taken from degraded and undegraded forest plots showed that the potential for forest regeneration from the soil seed bank is less in the former than the latter because of a poorer representation of woody species in the degraded forest.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available