Fire is a frequent feature of African grasslands because agriculture is often used as a management tool in conservation areas. Richness, diversity, and abundance of amphibians were compared in four areas of montane grassland subjected to different fire regimes in Nyika National Park (Malawi, southeastern Africa). The surveys were performed using drift fences and pitfall traps randomly set in four areas (12 sites) subjected to the following fire regimes: (A) no fire for at least 15 years; (B) no fire for at least 10 years; (C) no fire for at least 6 years; and (D) annually burned. We also measured the vegetation cover and vegetation height. We collected 370 amphibians from 17 species and six families during 50 days sampling period. The lowest value of abundance was found in areas C and D. The amphibian species Hyperolius marmoratus and H. nasutus were most abundant in the control area A. Arthroleptis xenodactyloides, Amietophrynus gutturalis and Am. maculatus were found in all areas. There was a strong correlation between vegetation height and species richness. Vegetation structure, which is affected by fire, appears to be a key factor impacting amphibian assemblages in montane grasslands.
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Vol. 32 • No. 1