The Central Pine Barrens Comprehensive Prescribed Fire Management Plan is an overarching guidance and planning document that identifies the long-term strategy and practice of conducting prescribed fire management in the Central Pine Barrens. This perpetual landscape-based plan develops a systematic and safe management approach with the intention to:
- Encourage, establish, build and participate in a cohesive and collaborative prescribed fire-based land management structure that is adaptive and responsive to increasing knowledge and changing conditions;
- Strategically guide decision-making in order to maximize management across the landscape reflective of ecological and social priorities/values and available resources;
- Define key guidelines for operations, programs, and safety that are necessary to develop the safest and most achievable program reflective of the above-mentioned goals.
The plan prescribes a scienced-based adaptive prescribed fire management program that plans and prioritizes efforts at the regional level rather than a narrower focus on individual parcels. Planning and implementation at the regional level allows a more holistic effort that is aligned with the most effective, efficient and beneficial investments that create the most positive benefits across the landscape. Implementation in this holistic way affords improvements in organization and ultimately yields better results than a piecemeal approach to land management. With scientific measurements and analysis at its core, the plan allows for adaptation, refinement and improvement through time.
This plan includes sections detailing the region’s ecological and historical background, as well as fire history, weather patterns and the fuels that make the Central Pine Barrens a fire-prone and dependent landscape. There are also sections charting management alternatives to prescribed fire; legal considerations; planning and implementation considerations; strategies for prioritizing prescribed fire management; fire management unit descriptions; plans to monitor prescribed fire efforts; and the best ways to educate the public on the utility of the plan.
The Central Pine Barrens is a large landscape and while planning occurs at the landscape level, creating some geographical divisions is warranted in order to more readily identify differences in habitat and management needs and to improve logistical plans. To meet these needs, the Central Pine Barrens region has been subdivided into five large Fire Management Units (FMUs): Brookhaven, Rocky Point, Manorville-Calverton, Dwarf Pines and Southampton, as shown in the following map. (link map image to pdf of map that can be clicked on and printed)
Initial prescribed fires within these FMUs target restoration objectives affecting structural and functional changes in the system regarding fuel amount and habitat characteristics. In this stage, the goal is to restore forest structure and function to a healthier, safer state. When this restoration phase is complete in an area, transitions are made to a maintenance phase where the goals and objectives are more focused on keeping the desired structure and function with low levels of hazard fuels and improved forest health.
As management commences, this plan will be updated through time, as is necessitated by the scale and scope of a routine and effective program. The Commission looks forward to fostering a program that will grow and build in order to create and maintain a successful, safe and sustainable prescribed fire management program for the Central Pine Barrens.
To learn more about the prescribed fire management program follow our Prescribed Fire Facebook page, email email@example.com or call (631) 288-1079.