The Nature Conservancy – Working in the Pine Barrens

A few years ago I worked with The Nature Conservancy in their Ossipee Pine Barrens property. They just started a program to bring fire into the ecology of the Pitch Pine and Scrub Oak dominated ecosystem.  We produced a great multimedia piece showing the work involved in burning several acres of forest. Years leading up to that Jeff Lougee spent hundreds of hours working with local citizens, fire departments and other state officials to ensure a productive and safe prescribed burning schedule. Now that some years of burning have taken place more work is being done to determine the effects of the fire. A few priorities are to create a soil type that Pitch Pine can germinate seedling in, eliminate or reduce the White Pine and hardwoods intermingled in the forest and to reduce fuels that have been building up in the forest over the decades. This past week I spent a few hours with Jeff in the forest while he collected data in one of the forest sections that was burnt last year. A carpet of blueberries, a few charred and dead white pines and scattered Pitch Pine seedlings were found throughout the transect that Jeff and I walked. Good news, not perfect but a big step in the right direction.

 

Science in the field, recording data in the Pine Barrens
Jeff Lougee collecting data during a transect of The Ossipee Pine Barrens, Ossipee, NH

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