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Summary

Following the recent decline in browsing and grazing pressures and changed fire regimes in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda, Acacia thickets have encroached on grassland habitats important for grazing mammals. The objective of this research was to test experimentally the effects of fire behaviour, using simulated and natural fuel loading conditions, on A. sieberiana seedling and sapling regeneration.

A high fire intensity (3200 kW m-1) in natural fuels stimulated high seedling emergence (172 seedlings m-2) compared to 6 seedlings m-2 without fire. Also a highly significant linear regression was established between percentage top-kill of seedlings and fire intensities. High fire intensities during late dry season fires were more effective in controlling sapling height growth than early dry season fires of low intensities. A conceptual diagram was developed to show the major factors and possible pathways leading to successful invasion by A. sieberiana into grassland openings of the savanna.