According to the Pheasants Forever website, fire affects the composition, structure, and pattern of vegetation on the landscape. In most terrestrial North American ecosystems, fire disturbance is necessary to maintain ecological processes. Therefore, a fire-centered approach to conservation can be used to systematically meet compatible habitat management and use goals.
As wildlife managers, our decision-making process and actions purposefully influence the interactions between people, wildlife, and their habitats to achieve beneficial results. With prescribed burning, we apply fire to a predetermined area within a prescribed set of conditions, dates, and with appropriate safety precautions to achieve specific purposes (e.g. controlling eastern red cedar or rejuvenating grass production).
The ecosystem concept is critical to wildlife management because it recognizes complex interactions between humans and the living and non-living environment over multiples scales in space and time.
What happens when fire is eliminated from a grassland ecosystem? Throughout the Great Plains, eastern red cedar invasion is a direct cause of declines in livestock forage, water availability, and grassland wildlife. An estimated 38,000 acres of Nebraska rangeland and forest are lost to eastern redcedar encroachment each year.
By returning fire to the landscape we can satisfy environmental, social, and economic objectives towards maintaining healthy, functioning grasslands.
Prescribed Burning in Nebraska
Generally, individual landowners interested in prescribed fire lack sufficient training or resources to achieve their goals independently. For this reason, Pheasants Forever, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and other conservation partners led an effort to educate, empower, and align land stewards who share a common goal, to increase the health of the land as Mother Nature intended, with fire.
Educational workshops, prescribed burn associations, and mobile prescribed burn units have successfully increased the safe and effective use of prescribed fire in Nebraska and beyond.
A prescribed burn workshop will be taking place in Thedford at the Upper Loup Natural Resources District building on Friday, January 17, 2020, from 9 AM until 4 PM. The cost to attend is $10 and you can register by going to the Pheasants Forever website, nebraskapf.com and register through their calendar or click here.
For questions contact Ashley Nelson at (308) 850-8395 or firstname.lastname@example.org.