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Prescribed burns

Monday, 19 March 2012

57 MS Sandhill Crane NWR3

On April 25th of last year, I was able to photographically document a prescribed burn of the wet pine savannah surrounding the Visitors Center at Mississippi Sandhill Crane NWR.  Prescribed burns are a necessary tool in maintaining the health of the wet pine savannah that is fundamental to keeping the Mississippi Sandhill Cranes from becoming extinct. 

Today, I thought I’d show you the results, almost a year later, of this burn.

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                              This is the entrance to the Dees Nature Trail while the burn was going on…

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and here’s what it looks like today.  It’s hard to detect that a fire coursed through this trail such a short time ago.

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The fire crew is expert at firing the savannah, but leaving signs and paths unscathed.  Before the fire, this was a huge saw palmetto plant.

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                The fire invigorated growth, and today the palmetto is healthy and beginning to bloom.

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You have to search among the fronds to find evidence of the burn.  This speaks to how fire was a natural thing in the past before the white man interfered.

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You can see that the ashes of the fire provided nutrients to the soil so new growth began almost immediately, and will continue through this growing season.  Many plants need fire to be able to reproduce.

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The pitcher plants are literally rising from the ashes.  By using controlled burns every three years, the fires do not get so hot as to destroy the long leafed pines, and bring a continued vibrancy to the savannah.  This is such a cool ecosystem! 

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I had a new visitor outside my table window today.  My guess is it’s a lizard or skink of some sort, but I’ve never seen one quite like this one before.  I’ll be working on trying to identify it in the next couple of days.

Tomorrow, I’m thinking it’s about time for a little road trip to somewhere new to me.  Perhaps I’ll pack a lunch and head over into Alabama and check out a COE park northeast of Mobile…

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

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