IMPACT OF FIRE ON GRASSLAND VEGETATION AND DISTRIBUTION OF LARGE HERBIVORES IN WASGOMUWA NATIONAL PARK, SRI LANKA

U.K.L. PEIRIS, U.K.G.K. PADMALAL

Abstract


Wasgomuwa National Park, located within Central and North central provinces of Sri Lanka, consist of seven major habitat types. Grasslands of the park are being burnt occasionally. This study was conducted to assess the effect of fire on regeneration of the vegetation and the distribution of large herbivore in different time periods after burning. Study was carried out at 6 grasslands by establishing 10mX10m plots and assessing the percentages of ground cover and animal distribution within the plots at six times after burning. Ground cover by monocot species reaches their maximum by 8 weeks after burning. After 12 weeks’ time dicot species are spreading over monocot. Large herbivore, except Sambar, distribution is high at the 8 weeks after burning. Distribution of large herbivores and percentages of ground cover are positively correlated. In that context, burning of grasslands in Wasgomuwa National Park would facilitate to improve the quality of herbivore habitat. Therefore, controlled burning can be recommended. Burning intervals could be determined by considering the time taken for regeneration of the vegetation.

 

KEY WORDS: Grasslands, Burning, Regeneration, Ground cover, larger herbivore, Distribution     


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References


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