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December 19, 2009

Brochure offers guidance on prescribed burns in young longleaf

A new brochure called (PDF file) "The Pine that Fire Built: Burning Young Longleaf" offers land managers guidance when considering prescribed burns in areas that include young longleaf pine trees.
           
The brochure is a collaborative effort between fire practitioners from The Longleaf Alliance Inc., S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Westervelt Ecological Services, Clemson University and Auburn University. Funding was provided by The Longleaf Alliance Inc. and Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service.
           
"Longleaf pine seedlings and saplings are fire resistant but not fire proof," explains a summary for the new brochure. "A common mistake made by managers is assuming that longleaf will withstand fire applied at a much greater intensity or frequency than what is needed to achieve their objective(s). Often this can lead to unnecessary damage or mortality. However, as a fire-tolerant species, longleaf is a very forgiving tree to burn. In cases where fire varies slightly outside of prescribed weather conditions, the results are often still beneficial overall. Landowners should weigh the predicted loss of some young longleaf against the anticipated significant benefits when planning prescribed burns."

"The Pine that Fire Built" offers guidelines on using prescribed fire in young longleaf plantations and offers tips on when to burn and when not to burn. For instance, planted longleaf pine that have been in the ground for less than one full growing season or that have not developed into vigorous grass-stage seedlings should not be burned.
           
Many of the benefits of prescribed burning in longleaf pine forests are outlined in the brochure, such as promoting wildflowers and plant diversity, improving wood quality, control of insects and disease, fuel reduction and creation of wildlife habitat.

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