Fire Management training is needed to treasure the unique African landscape
For over 10 million years, fire has played a role in shaping the African grasslands. Unlike in tropical rainforests, regular fires form a critical component of sound rangeland and ecosystem management in Africa. Fire maintains the health of ecosystems by promoting seed germination, killing pests, returning nutrients to the soil and improving rangeland productivity. Without fire, the open grasslands of African savanna, which support an abundance of cattle and other herbivores, would become landscapes of thorn trees and woodland.
Unfortunately, with colonisation came the idea that fire is bad and that it needs to be eliminated at all cost. Experience over the last 100 years has demonstrated though, that attempting to suppress fire over long periods of time, other than in commercial plantations, is usually unsuccessful. The reason is that suppression strategies simply delay fire, and when it does inevitably occur, the fire is of a far greater intensity due to the accumulation of biomass fuel load.
– Extract from Africa: The Fire Continent (A publication compiled by Working on Fire (WOF) Africa, commissioned by the World Bank for the TerrAfrica partnership).
It is clear that, in order to protect and sustain the rich and unique African landscape, Southern African forestry and agricultural sectors, game farmers, land management companies and rural communities has to start managing fire effectively. This can be done by equipping them with Integrated Fire Management (IFM) knowledge and skills. IFM is a holistic approach to dealing with wildfires – it addresses fire research, -reduction, -readiness, -response and -rehabilitation.
In response to this need, Majete Wildlife Reserve, African Parks, contracted Working on Fire Africa, in collaboration with Kishugu Training, to train a total of 63 of their stakeholders on aspects of IFM. Training sessions on fire suppression and fire management took place from 22 May to 02 June 2017 at Majete Wildlife Reserve in Malawi.
“The training went very well. It was a privilege to work with such eager participants,” said Mandla Ndlovu, Kishugu Training: Senior Facilitator. “We are confident that this new knowledge will enable them to make a difference. We are looking forward to a long and healthy working relationship between African Parks, Working on Fire Africa and Kishugu Training.”
African Parks takes on the direct, long-term management of national parks and protected areas. They work in partnership with governments in Africa, to save wildlife, restore landscapes and ensure sustainable livelihoods for local communities.