The Benefits of a Prescribed Burn
Other than the warmth and comfort of a campfire, we typically think of fire as being a pretty damaging and destructive force, particularly when we hear of wild fires burning out of control across the country and around the world. But the fact is, regulated fires, known as a prescribed burn, can be very beneficial to landowners and property managers wanting to boost their management impact on the properties they hunt. Here’s a look at the benefits of a prescribed burn.
Why Conduct a Prescribed Burn?
Prescribed burns help stimulate new grass growth that’s beneficial to animals for nesting and cover. It also prevents the growth of unwanted brush and trees that can hinder the growth of desired grass and ground cover.
These burns are a cost effective means of management on the lands that you hunt. They will greatly improve your land, regardless of whether it’s pines, brushland, pasture, or prairie.
But it’s not only for the benefit of grasslands. Oak forests can also benefit from prescribed burning as fire can encourage oak regeneration and boost acorn production that will ultimately benefit deer, squirrels and wild turkeys.
Benefits of a Prescribed Burn
Expedite Greenup – A prescribed burn will result in a fast green-up in the spring and improves the quality of forage for animals.
Increased Soil Quality – Following a burn, blackened soil quickly absorbs sunlight, creating warmth to the soil that will encourage seed germination. Burnt plant remains work like a fertilizer to promote new grass growth above, and a stronger root system below the ground.
Increased Wildlife Habitat – As mentioned above, a prescribed burn benefits a variety of wildlife by creating suitable habitat for nesting. But it also creates desirable food sources for birds, small game, and big game alike.
Native Plant Species Thrive – By removing (burning) invasive weeds, woody vegetation, brush and other unwanted growth, you make room for native plant species to thrive once again.
Reduce Vegetation Control to Save Time and Money – A prescribed burn will easily save you a pile of cash when it comes to your return on investment. The cost of sprays, chemicals and other efforts going toward vegetation control can add up in a hurry. Aside from the help you round up and minimal equipment, the task of a prescribed burn is more sweat equity than anything else.
What Habitats Benefit from a Prescribed Burn?
Just about any habitat type can benefit from a prescribed burn, so regardless of what land you’re hunting/managing, a prescribed burn will probably be advantageous to your efforts.
These habitats include: brushlands, old/abandoned fields, forest openings, prairies, upland fields, cattail cover, and trees competing against oak and other desirable trees.
Is a prescribed burn good for habitat management? Absolutely! In fact, it’s one of the best and most cost effective means of management you can put in place on your property - particularly for the land manager on a budget. Make it happen on the property you manage and you’ll soon experience the property – and wildlife – thriving in the days ahead.