Snapshot Serengeti Talk

wide spread fire on a plain

  • paula33 by paula33

    what is this, was it created by man or by lightening


  • davidbygott by davidbygott moderator

    Almost every newcomer asks this question! This is a grass fire, set by Park staff. Much of Serengeti is burnt every dry season, and fire has been a part of this ecosystem for tens of thousands of years if not longer. The classic Serengeti landscape with its umbrella acacias is a fire-maintained grassland, except for the southeastern plains where the grass is kept short by climate and soil, too short to burn. Park managers aim to keep most of the Serengeti as grass, to feed the migratory grazing herds, with some woodland and bush to encourage herbivore diversity - i.e. animals like elephant, giraffe, impala, dikdik, baboons, vervets and many more, all depend on trees and bushes. Managers can fine-tune this by burning early in the dry season, which spares tree seedlings, or later, when much hotter fires can wipe out most young trees and bushes.
    It's important to realise that fire in Serengeti is not a negative thing. It is no threat to most mammals and birds, and provides some of them with a much needed food bonus. Birds flock to the fire-front to catch fleeing insects, and soon after the fire passes, new green shoots attract gazelles and other grazers.


  • aliburchard by aliburchard scientist, translator

    David - thanks for such a fantastic answer. (I'll have to add this one to the FAQ...)


  • mistyfriday by mistyfriday

    But please give info about not needing to # all of these photos! Also the ground after, burned, scorched, etc.


  • ElisabethB by ElisabethB

    Hi mistyfriday

    It is not necessary to hashtag the fire pics. It is the animals the scientists are interested in. 😄