The Top 10 Benefits of a Prescribed Burn
Did you know that prescribed burning has been used for more than 10,000 years in the state of Minnesota as a way to restore health and integrity to native lands? We’re guessing that the terminology wasn’t the same, but American Indians used the ancient practice of “prescribed burning” to stimulate plant growth on grasslands that attracts big game wildlife and to keep forests open for food production and easy harvesting. They would also set fires to hunt, improve visibility, and make traveling through tallgrass prairies easier.
Although the value of a prescribed burn has not changed in over 10,000 years, it has become a much less common practice. However, WHR resource managers use prescribed burns as a land management tool that can greatly improve woodlands, prairies, and wetlands in the winter, spring, and summer.
But why fire?
Our natural ecosystem has evolved with fire making many species dependent on this important change agent to maintain their ecosystems. Fire is good for people, land, and natural habitats because it rejuvenates growth and ensures the survival and proliferation of native plants. When we suppress fires, invasive species threaten to out-compete our beautiful, native midwestern grass and tree species.
Top 10 benefits of a prescribed burn
There are countless benefits to a prescribed burn – how can we choose just 10? Here’s our best attempt at narrowing down the list. Prescribed burns:
- reduce hazardous fuel loads from the landscape, which protect humans and wildlife from more intense and damaging fires in the future.
- minimize the spread of pest (TICKS!), insects, and disease so that the health of the natural area is maintained.
- remove and suppress invasive species that threaten our fire dependent native midwestern ecosystems.
- restore nutrients to the soil that will provide a natural fertilizer that creates a seed flush the following year that encourages the proliferation of native plant communities.
- increases access for nesting habitat and fluent migration through the ecosystem by organic matter reduction.
- improve wildlife habitats and biodiversity of flowering species that are crucial for pollinators including birds, bees, butterflies and species that may be endangered.
- encourage oak regeneration in oak savanna and woodlands which boost acorn production for a wide variety of wildlife and native plant species.
- help the proliferation and regrowth of woodland forest trees.
- stimulate new warm season grass growth, which many animals use for habitat, nesting, and food sources.
- Initiate the greening process in the spring, also known as “greening-up.”
To help improve the overall health of your property with a prescribed burn, contact us.