This Spring, we used a prescribed (controlled) burn of 13 acres to help manage our shortleaf pine reforestation project at our Community Farm.
This prescribed burn will help restore the shortleaf pine by removing undesirable, competing plant species and giving the slower-growing shortleaf pine a chance to re-establish. Shortleaf pine is a fire-dependent and fire tolerant species, meaning that the species actually depends on fire in order to reproduce and thrive.
A native tree species that has been in decline across the Southeast, shortleaf pine grows more slowly and takes longer to mature that other species, like loblolly pine. However, this slower growth leads to straighter, more robust trees with finer wood grain. Shortleaf pine stands also provide excellent habitat for wildlife, with open canopies that support multiple levels of habitat for a variety of species. We have been working on the Shortleaf Pine Reforestation Project at the Community Farm for several years, in cooperation with the NC Forest Service, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, and US Dept. of Agriculture.
Controlled burns create open conditions that allow fire tolerant species to grow, while also reducing underbrush fuel. Eventually, this reforestation project will create a mixed shortleaf pine and hardwood stand, with open areas for wildlife habitat underneath the tree canopy.
Wildwood Consulting, LLC – Forestry Consultant and NC Registered Forester – served as “Burn Boss” for this controlled burn. In addition to managing our property, the burn provided an experiential educational opportunity. NC Wildlife Resources Commission, Mountain Valleys RC&D, Land and Lakes RC&D, neighbors, and AmeriCorps members all joined us to learn and participate. Plus, News 13 WLOS sent a reporter out to capture some drone footage, airing a brief informative story on the news broadcast. Thanks to everyone who helped make the burn a success!