posted on May 04, 2005 00:00
Fanning the Flames for Pheasants
Prescribed Burning Reinvigorates Native Grasses
St. Paul, Minn. – May 3, 2005 – Pheasants Forever (PF) habitat specialists have been busy burning wildlife habitat this spring. As strange as that may sound, prescribed burning is an important component in the management of wildlife habitat.
Controlled burning in early spring accomplishes two main objectives in habitat management. First, burning limits the growth of woody and other unwanted vegetation, thereby maintaining the prairie as a distinct ecosystem. Second, prescribed burning releases the nutrients bound in the plant litter, stimulating vigorous new growth.
Grass burns can be very dangerous if not done properly. Grasses produce extremely hot fires and can spread rapidly. PF’s habitat specialists are trained and experienced in completing safe and effective prescribed burns in many of the pheasant range states.
“We have ten habitat specialists here in Wisconsin. We team up to make two very experienced burn teams,” explains Clay Frazer, PF habitat specialist from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. “The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources contracts us for a lot of prescribed burning, because of our experience and the quality of our work. Plus, we are fully equipped and trained to get the job done for the best wildlife habitat results.”
Depending on the project’s objective, prescribed burns can also be effective in the fall and winter. PF habitat teams are available for spring, fall, and winter prescribed burn projects. In fact, Iowa habitat teams already have more than 500 acres lined up for prescribed burns this fall.
Prescribed burning can be an especially important tool in the mid-contract management of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands. CRP lands account for nearly 40 million acres of wildlife habitat nationwide.
PF has habitat specialists trained in prescribed burning in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. PF habitat specialists are available for hire by private landowners wanting to complete prescribed burns or a variety of other wildlife habitat projects. To locate a habitat team near you, call PF toll free at (877)773-2070 or log onto the PF website under habitat (http://www.pheasantsforever.org/habitat.php?page=teams).
PF is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. Such efforts benefit landowners and wildlife alike. PF is the only national wildlife conservation organization that leaves 100 percent of the fundraising dollars, along with the decision on how best to utilize those funds, in the local communities where they are raised. PF has more than 110,000 members in over 600 local chapters across the continent.