Program # 3369
ambience: Brush fire
We’re in southern Maine, listening to the sounds of a prescribed burn – a fire that was intentionally started to clear brush, prevent uncontrolled wildfires and to help maintain the ecological diversity of this habitat. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
“Here on the Kennebunk Plains I have been involved since their first fires more then 10 years ago.”
Tim Simmons is a Restoration Ecologist with the Massachusetts Natural heritage and Endangered species program.
“Weâ€™re in a grassland system here on a pine barrens sand plain. So we have coarse sandy soils here. Water moves through very quickly leaving dry-adapted and fire-adapted plant communities above ground. This plant community is particularly responsive to periodic fires.”
“What most people donâ€™t understand about southern New England in general is that prior to European settlement there were thousands and thousands of acres that were influenced by period setting of fires by the Native Americans.”
“Out here on the grasslands we have birds, we have plants, we have insects that will disappear from the southern New England landscape if we donâ€™t apply these fires on a basis of 3-5 years, or at least when we can’t do fire – mow it. You don’t get the same conditions after mowing that you do after fire, but it’s a reasonable facsimile.”
We’ll learn more about prescribed burns in future programs. To hear about our CD, please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.