Greenup! Newsletter of the Southeastern Section of the Association for Photo Credit: Larry Korhnak Fire Ecology Volume 1, Issue 1 Spring 2009 Inside This Issue Welcome Letter from the Fire and the Law 2 President New Publications 2 By Leda N. Kobziar Student Activism 3 Welcome to the Southeast- ern Section of the Associa- Conferences/ Events 3 tion for Fire Ecology (AFESE)! From the Field 3 AFESE represents a coalition of professionals in wildland fire Southeastern AFE dedicated to the responsible, science-based use and manage- Mission ment of fire across the Southeastern US. The Southeastern Section includes an impres- “To foster excellence sive diversity of ecosystems and associated fire regimes found in the states of Alabama, in fire ecology and fire Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Delaware, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and the management among District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands Terri- fire ecology profes- tories. Our mission is to foster excellence in fire ecology and fire manage- sionals in the South- ment among fire ecology professionals in the Southeastern U.S. through sci- eastern U.S. through ence and education. science and educa- The SE Section is one of only three sections of the international Association for Fire Ecol- tion" ogy (AFE), including the Student Association for Fire Ecology (SAFE; see report from a local chapter below), and the Association for Fire Ecology of the Tropics (AFET). AFESE AFESE Officers emerged from the collective efforts of members of the Southeast Fire Ecology Partner- President ship, Tall Timbers Research Station, the Prescribed Fire Training Center, and the Univer- Leda Kobziar sity of Florida. Inaugurated at the Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference in January of 2009, AFE SE membership is comprised of agency, higher education, non-governmental, Vice President and private persons dedicated to perpetuating the informed, science-based use and man- Gregory Seamon agement of fire in the Southeastern US. We are actively seeking new members to help us achieve our goals to: (1) provide an opportunity to facilitate communication Treasurer/Secretary Lisa McInnus among members within the Section; (2) serve as a unified means of communication with fire ecology professionals on issues dealing with fire ecology both internal and external to Executive Officer the parent organization; (3) support or offer educational and professional programs and Kevin Robertson services to members of the Section; (4) support the use of prescribed fire as a viable eco- system management tool; and (5) recognize and commend outstanding work by individ- Executive Officer ual professionals or organizations in the area of fire ecology both within the Section and Alan Long through AFE. (Continued on Page 4) www.fireecology.org Congratulations on 2.27 million acres in 2009 treated with prescribed fire in the SE ! Page 2 Greenup! Fire and the Law By Alan Long, AFE SE Executive Committee & Professor, University of Florida When Florida enacted the Prescribed Fire Act in 1990 it set in motion a wave of changes in state statutes and regulations across the South. Today, all southern states have prescribed fire statutes of varying complexity that define the requirements for prescribed burning and liability protection. Some, such as Florida’s, have already had significant revisions. All are designed to protect prescribed fire as a legitimate land management tool and include some or all of the following statements: fire is a landowner’s property right, it is in the public interest, it benefits public safety, and the law protects responsible burners from civil liability for damages or injury caused by fire or resulting smoke. In most, but not all, states, the liability protection only Photo Credit: David Godwin applies to certified burn managers conducting burns according to the other applica- ble state regulations. The liability protection holds unless it can be proven that the University of Florida students and personnel burn manager was either negligent or grossly negligent in conducting the burn that burning under the resulted in damage or injury. Since actual interpretation in a court may vary slightly, eddy covariance tower simple and gross negligence will not be defined here other than to imply that they at the Austin Cary Me- require substantially different levels of proof. At this point, only Florida and Georgia morial Forest this provide the “unless grossly negligent” protection. Although the state statutes vary spring. widely in how they describe prescribed fire and the requirements for conducting burns under the liability protection clause, most require the preparation of some type of burn plan by a certified burn manager, the presence of a certified burn manager on site, usually as the prescribed fire supervisor, and authorizations/permits issued by the state or local agency for the specific burn. Mississippi and Alabama even specify that the plans be notarized. The certification process also varies considerably, from week-long training courses in Florida to one-day classes with documented experience in South Carolina. (Continued on Page 4) New Publications Brewer, J.S., A.L. Cunningham, T.P. Moore, R.M. Brooks, and J.L. Waldrup. 2009. A six-year study of fire-related flowering cues and coexistence of two perennial Photo Credit: David Godwin grasses in a wet longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) savanna. Plant Ecology 200:141-154. Duncan, B.W., G. Shao, and F.W. Adrian. 2009. Delineating a managed fire regime 2009 Statistical and exploring its relationship to the natural fire regime in East Central Florida, USA: Snapshot for the SE A remote sensing and GIS approach. Forest Ecology and Management 258:132-145. Rx acres 2.27m Taggart, J.B., J. M. Ellis, and J.D. Sprouse. 2009. Prescribed burning in state park properties of North Carolina and nearby coastal states. Natural Areas Journal 29:64- Wildfire acres 875K 70. Wildfires 24,891 Lim, S.H., J.M. Bowker, C.Y. Johnson, and H.K. Cordell. 2009. Perspectives on pre- scribed fire in the South: Does ethnicity matter? Southern Journal of Applied For- estry 33:17-24. Rx Fire Councils 15 Greenup! Page 3 Please join the Southeastern Section of the Association for Student Activism in Fire: Student Association for Fire Ecology (SAFE) Fire Ecology by visiting our website at By Adam Watts, Co-President, UF Chapter SAFE & PhD Student www.fireecology.org University of Florida’s chapter of the Student Association of Fire Ecology was formed two years ago to promote awareness of fire ecology, fire science, and fire safety, and also to serve as The AFESE includes a resource for students who want to become members from involved in the fire community. Our chapter consists of graduate and undergraduate stu- federal, state, and dents with a range of majors and specializa- local land tions, bound together by the common interest Photo Credit: David Godwin management of wildland fire. Our chapter undertook a number of activities this past academic year, such as producing a calendar as a fundraiser for our club. Several members of agencies, nonprofit our group attended the Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference in January; we would organizations and like to invite AFE members to view abstracts of the research we presented, available educational on the UF Fire Science Lab’s website at http://www.sfrc.ufl.edu/fire. Our most suc- cessful event was Prescribed Fire Awareness Day, which attracted much attention institutions across due to our special guest, Smokey Bear. Smokey attended courtesy of our friends and the Southeastern colleagues at the US Forest Service’s Ocala National Forest, and spent the day hand- United States. ing out educational material on the importance of fires in Florida’s ecosystems. Our group looks forward to joining the national Student Association of Fire Ecology to assist with this fall’s International Fire Congress in Savannah, GA . Do you have ideas or content for our next Conference Committee Update quarterly issue of Greenup? By Caroline Noble, Chair AFESE Conference Committee & Regional Fire Contact the publication Ecologist, National Park Service coordinator at Two special sessions in development for Savannah will be sponsored by AFESE: Fire firstname.lastname@example.org in hardwoods (headed by Margit Bucher) and Fire Effects Monitoring (Caroline No- ble). The Conference Committee’s goals are to recruit members, support the Na- tional AFE Conference Committee in planning and implementing the December Southeastern Section of the 2009 Savannah Conference, and support, develop and coordinate regional confer- Association for Fire Ecology ences and meetings of both AFE and similar organizations that include dissemina- c/o Leda Kobziar tion of information regarding the ecological role of fire. We are still seeking addi- tional members to represent a broader geographic range. Interested individuals School of Forest Resources should contact Caroline Noble (email@example.com) and Conservation Newins-Ziegler Hall From the Field: Bachman's Sparrows Love Fire! PO BOX 110410 By Jim Cox, Tall Timbers Research Station E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Bachman’s Sparrows figure prominently in on-going discussions regarding fire fre- quency, fire season, and the effects these variables may have on the endemic wildlife of southeastern pine forests. This small, elusive songbird forages and nests exclu- sively on the ground, so fires have the capacity to eliminate food and cover and may destroy nests if applied during the breeding season. On the other hand, sparrows also abandon sites that are not burned frequently, often in the second year following the last fire. (Continued on page 4) Greenup! Page 4 President's Welcome Letter Continued from page 1 Please join us in bringing together the people who represent the knowledge, experience, and practice that make our Southeastern Region the world’s most successful fire user! AFESE can help guarantee that the Region plays an active role in influencing national and international fire use policy, practice, and knowl- edge. We have so much to offer- this organization provides the structure to coordinate our efforts, sup- port our activities, and extend our impact. Please consider joining us to ensure that your personal fire expertise is represented by our Section’s activities. Membership benefits include reduced registration rates for the upcoming Fourth International Fire Congress, to be held in Savannah, GA in November of 2009. For more information, and to join us as a member, please go to: http://www.fireecology.net. You can always contact me directly to share your thoughts and ideas: email@example.com. From the Field: Bachman's Sparrows Love Fire! Continued from page 3 Over the past 7 years, we have been trying to learn more about the relationship between fires and Bach- man’s Sparrows by following uniquely marked birds on several properties in the Red Hills region of southwest Georgia and north-central Florida. By following uniquely marked individuals, we found that sparrows recovered quickly, with most (>70%) marked males remained on their territories following the summer burns, with extensive re-nesting occurred just 6 weeks after the burns were conducted. We also found that fledgling sparrows used summer-burned areas extensively. Also, almost every nest we found (> 90%) was located in an area that had been burned within the past 12 months. Areas burned more than 12 months ago were searched with equal intensity, but recently burned sites were favored. Following fire, vegetation grows back fresh and provides an umbrella of cover with bare ground below, but within 18 months the vegetation an litter become too thick to prefer for nesting. We also found that winter abun- dances were higher on small-scale (<25 acre) burn blocks, but otherwise breeding-season burns (April- June) covering 200-acre burn blocks did not pose a threat to Bachman’s Sparrows. Additional work we have done suggests that winter burning may even be more disruptive than breeding-season burning. We conclude that the negative aspects of breeding-season burning probably need to be considered only in isolated areas that have a small acreage (<500 acre) of suitable habitat. Elsewhere, breeding season burns can be integrated into broader burning programs that seek to achieve the high frequencies needed for Bachman’s Sparrows and other fire-dependent species. Fire and the Law Continued from page 2 Laws regarding prescribed burning were compiled for 11 southern states by Doug Marshall in 2007 as part of a major project at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources: “Synthesis of knowledge of hazardous fuels management in loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) forests”. Individ- ual statutes as well as summary information are available online at http://warnell.forestry.uga.edu/fuels/ Burning_laws/State_laws.html , along with links to many of the original sources. Although the summary was completed in 2007, there are probably few major changes since then. However, readers are advised to verify current laws in their particular state if they have any questions. Additional information on indi- vidual state fire laws are available on the Southern Fire Science Forestry Encyclopedia Website (http:// www.forestencyclopedia.net/p/p544).
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