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On The Farm

Conducting a Controlled Burn to Restore Longleaf Pines

A professional forester conducts a prescribed burn using a drip torch Play Video

Longleaf pine forests were once abundant in eastern North America, particularly in the Southeast. Today, this magnificent biome has become almost extinct except for a few sites scattered throughout the region.

Tom Wentworth, professor emeritus of plant and microbial biology at NC State, explains how the practice of a prescribed burn (or controlled burn)—a planned fire under safe conditions for the purpose of forest management—is being used to restore ideal conditions for the trees.

In fact, landowners can use similar methods, along with various other practices, that fall under the broad scope of ecological forestry. The core goal of ecological forestry is to help restore and maintain landscapes through sustainable means (growing trees for timber or even raking longleaf pine straw, for example).

And of course sustainable forests mean more clean air, water and biodiversity.

Maintaining safety during a prescribed fire requires technical training and an expert understanding of many conditions. Please do not attempt a controlled burn without assistance from a professional. Visit NC State Extension Forestry’s eFIRE page for resources.

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