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Fire Ecology

Over the course of human history our civilization has developed an important relationship with fire. From its beneficial use in cooking, warming our homes, and managing our land…to its destructive capabilities, fire connects us to the natural world.

On this episode we’ll look at the 2007 wildfire that consumed over 400,000 acres of forest, burned 22 homes and forced the evacuation of over 1000 people in and around the Okefenokee Swamp.

But fire isn't all bad, in fact, it's a neccessary part of a healthy forest ecosystem. We'll also join forest managers as they employ a technique called prescribed burning.

Finally, we'll visit the Jones Ecological Research Center just south of Albany. The landowners here regularly perform prescribed burning for it's large amount of longleaf pine, a species of pine dependent on fire for it's survival. Other species have also adapted to this fire-dependent ecosystem including the red cockaded woodpecker and the gopher tortoise.

All this and more on Georgia Outdoors: Fire Ecology.

Web Resources

Georgia Forestry Commission
The Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) is a dynamic state agency responsible for providing leadership, service, and education in the protection and conservation of Georgia's forest resources.

Jones Ecological Research Center at Ichuaway
The Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center at Ichauway seeks to understand, to demonstrate, and to promote excellence in natural resource management and conservation on the landscape of the southeastern coastal plain of the United States.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Non-Game Conservation Section
Read this document about the State of Georgia's efforts toward non-game conservation.

U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station
The Southern Research Station is part of the Nation's largest forestry research organization - USDA Forest Service Research and Development – the leading organization for research on natural resource management and sustainability in the United States. The Southern Research Station serves 13 Southern States and beyond. Its staff of 130 scientists is organized into Research Work Units with the mission to create the science and technology needed to sustain and enhance southern forest ecosystems and the benefits they provide.

Okefenokee Adventures
Okefenokee Adventures is nestled on the banks of the historic Suwannee Canal and is a great embarking point for trips into the Okefenokee Swamp.

Stephen C Foster State Park
Named after songwriter Stephen Foster, this remote park is a primary entrance to the famed Okefenokee Swamp and is one of the most intriguing areas in Georgia. Moss-laced cypress trees reflect off the black swamp waters, providing breathtaking scenery. Visitors can look for alligators, turtles, raccoon, black bear, deer, birds and numerous other creatures while on the park's elevated boardwalk trail or on a guided boat trip. More adventurous visitors may wish to rent motorized boats or canoes for further exploration of the swamp, including a trip to historic Billy's Island.

Reed Bingham State Park
Visitors to this scenic park will see an abundance of wildlife, particularly gopher tortoises and "buzzards." During winter, thousands of these large birds, which are actually black vultures and turkey vultures, roost in the trees and soar overhead. Throughout the year, gopher tortoises may be seen digging their dens in the sandy soil. Alligators, bald eagles, the rare limpkin, herons, indigo snakes and many other species also live in this protected park.

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