By Meaghan English, TrueSouth Properties Wildlife Specialist
As many landowners know, there ae several methods or techniques used to achieve management goals or objectives. For example, to enhance existing wildlife habitat for wildlife, some landowners may choose to focus on food plots while others implement prescribed burns routinely. Still, others utilize both to reach their management goals.
Prescribed burns are one of the greatest arts of wildlife/habitat management. It sounds pretty simple: find your inner pyromaniac and set fire to the woods! This, however, is a far cry from what a prescribed or controlled burn actually entails. First and foremost, a burn plan must be created by a burn specialist. This dictates everything about the burn; when it should be conducted based on a certain temperature, wind speed, humidity, moisture and other weather conditions. A burn plan is NOT universal. One plan is specific to a certain property or parcel of land. The burn plan must take into consideration the types of trees and vegetation that are being burned and what temperature the fire must reach in order to eradicate certain species, yet prolong the life of others. Prescribed burns can be used to destroy unwanted understory in established forests, regenerate natural vegetation and help reduce the spread of wildfires. All of these things also enhance the overall forest health and provide desired nutrition for many wildlife species. Most importantly, by burning unwanted understory species and leaf litter, fuel for wildfires is reduced and native trees and vegetation are able to thrive. I understand that the aftermath of a prescribed burn can be a little shocking at first (a lot like a thinning or cutting of timber) but the benefits are worth it! It is important to not only keep our forests and wildlife as healthy as possible, but to also reduce the risk of a large wildfire destroying acres of valuable land.
If you have never burned, it is time to give it some serious thought. There are many companies and agencies that provide burn services and would be more than happy to help local landowners enhance the longevity of their native forests and wildlife species.
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