Grassland fires in Hungary - Experiences of nature conservationists on the effects of fire on biodiversity

B. Deák, O. Valkó, P. Török, Z. S. Végvári, T. Hartel, A. Schmotzer, I. Kapocsi, B. Tóthmérész

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fire as a natural disturbance has been present in most European grasslands. Controlled burning was also an important component of the traditional landscape management for millennia. It was mainly used to reduce litter and woody vegetation and to maintain open landscapes suitable for farming. Due to socio-economical changes traditional and sustainable use of fire was ceased and replaced by arsons and technical fires in Europe. Despite its wide application in the past and the considerable extension and frequency of current grassland fires, the impact of fire on the grassland biodiversity is still scarcely documented in Europe. The aim of this study is to offer a perspective on the issue of fire impact on grasslands, by overviewing published information and practical experiences from Hungary. Our results suggest that fire can be detrimental for several taxa (e.g. insects or ground-dwelling birds), but can also promote population growth of several endangered species by reducing litter or by creating and maintaining open habitats. We also found that fire may be effective in controlling invasive plant species. The effect of fire on grassland biodiversity may be rather context-dependent. There is a critical need for developing robust evidences on the context-dependence of fire effect on biodiversity. For this, well designed prescribed burning experiments are crucial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-283
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Ecology and Environmental Research
Volume12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Fingerprint

grassland fires
Hungary
grassland
biodiversity
grasslands
prescribed burning
litter
effect
landscape management
endangered species
population growth
farming systems

Keywords

  • Grazing
  • Invasive species
  • Nature conservation management
  • Prescribed burning
  • Wildfire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

Cite this

Grassland fires in Hungary - Experiences of nature conservationists on the effects of fire on biodiversity. / Deák, B.; Valkó, O.; Török, P.; Végvári, Z. S.; Hartel, T.; Schmotzer, A.; Kapocsi, I.; Tóthmérész, B.

In: Applied Ecology and Environmental Research, Vol. 12, No. 1, 2014, p. 267-283.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Deák, B, Valkó, O, Török, P, Végvári, ZS, Hartel, T, Schmotzer, A, Kapocsi, I & Tóthmérész, B 2014, 'Grassland fires in Hungary - Experiences of nature conservationists on the effects of fire on biodiversity', Applied Ecology and Environmental Research, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 267-283.
Deák, B. ; Valkó, O. ; Török, P. ; Végvári, Z. S. ; Hartel, T. ; Schmotzer, A. ; Kapocsi, I. ; Tóthmérész, B. / Grassland fires in Hungary - Experiences of nature conservationists on the effects of fire on biodiversity. In: Applied Ecology and Environmental Research. 2014 ; Vol. 12, No. 1. pp. 267-283.
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