Wild Florida Photo
Nature Photography by Paul Rebmann
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Dunns Creek State Park
Fire has historically been a natural part of Florida's ecosystems. Years of fire suppression have resulted in much habitat degradation as the understory gets crowded with different and shrubby plants and hardwood trees moved into areas that had naturally been mostly pine. This prevents many of the native species, many of them unique to their habitat, from thriving. Some plant species even require fire for germination. Fire suppression also allows an unsafe build-up of fuel in these areas, that can be dangerous and hard to control if a wildfire starts.
Proper land management of our parks, forests and other natural areas now involves prescribed burning. These burns are conducted when possible, balancing the desire to mimic the natural fire cycles and seasons and timing for when the fire can be safely controlled.
The frequency of fire varies with the habitat, with flatwoods and sandhills burning more frequently than scrub. For more information on fire and our ecology, visit goodfires.org and The Nature Conservancy.