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 series of workshops will be held around the state in 2021 to provide guidance and instruction for completing safe and effective prescribed fires. These workshops are for landowners, resource professionals, volunteer fire departments and others interested in burning. No prior burn experience is necessary to participate.
Workshops in the KCNI/KBBN coverage area include January 20 in Broken Bow at Mid-Plains Community College from 9 AM to 4 PM and February 4 in Thedford at the Upper Loup Natural Resources District from 9 AM to 4 PM.
A registration fee of $10 for some basic workshops includes meal and training materials. Visit nebraskapf.com or email Ashley at email@example.com to register.
For advanced workshops and other basic workshops taking place across Nebraska, check out the flyer below!