Journal of Forestry Research

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 435–446 | Cite as

Tree-ring: a suitable implement for spatial and temporal fire distribution analysis in savanna woodland and dry forest

  • Franck Sinsin
  • Romain Glèlè Kakaï
  • Bettina Orthmann
  • Brice Sinsin


Based on 120 stem discs collected during 3 months of fieldwork along a 12 km route, the history of fires in the Wari Maro Forest (09°10′0 N–02°10′0E) over the past century in savanna woodland and dry forest was reconstituted. Three major ecological areas are characterized: one highly burnt zone located between two relative less burnt areas. By analyzing tree rings, 246 fire scars were identified. The scars were caused by 51 fire years, occurring at a mean interval of 2.23 years. From 1890 to 1965, only 6 years with fires were recorded from sampled trees. Since 1966, no year has passed without fire. The fire frequency point scale reached 14 years. This was the case of Burkea africana, which has been identified as a species tolerant to fire and could be planted to create a natural firewall. In contrast, Anogeissus leiocarpa is highly sensitive to fire, and in a dry forest ecosystem that burns seasonally, it requires a special conservation plan. Two new concepts are described: the rebarking of trees after fire and Mean Kilometer Fire Interval. The first concept was tested with Daniellia oliveri (Rolfe) Hutch & Dalz trees, and the second concept was used to evaluate spatial fire distribution. We demonstrate that savanna woodland and dry forest were subject to a degradation process caused by destructive fires related to vegetation cover clearance and illegal logging.


Fire ecology Tree-rings Savanna woodland Dry forest Conservation strategies 



The laboratory investigation was carried out in the International Tree-Ring Lab of Georg-August Universität Göttingen. Therefore a special thank you goes out to Martin Worbes and Esther Fichtler for their valuable contribution. The research was funded by Deutscher Akademisher Austausch Dienst (DAAD), Biodiversity Monitoring Transect Analysis (BIOTA) project and authors are consequently grateful to the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Support of Roland Holou in the manuscript editing is very much appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Northeast Forestry University and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Franck Sinsin
    • 1
  • Romain Glèlè Kakaï
    • 2
  • Bettina Orthmann
    • 3
  • Brice Sinsin
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Ecologie Appliquée, Faculté des Sciences AgronomiquesUniversité d’Abomey-CalaviCotonouBénin
  2. 2.Laboratory of Biomathematics and Forest Estimations, Faculté des Sciences AgronomiquesUniversité d’Abomey-CalaviCotonouBénin
  3. 3.Institute of BiosciencesUniversity of RostockWari MaroGermany

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