The State We’re In: Pine Barrens natural landscape will rebound from Wharton wildfire

By Allison Mitchell, co-executive director of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation

New Jersey, engulfed in high winds and dry conditions in 15 years, last week burned more than 13,500 acres in Warton County Forest in Pine Burns.

Fortunately, the fire broke out in a remote area of ​​New Jersey’s largest public square, leaving no lives or homes. Wartton State Forest covers 122,800 acres – or 192 square miles – in the county of Burlington and the Atlantic.

13,500 hectares of coal may seem ecologically endangered, but the opposite is true. Fire is an essential ingredient for building and sustaining millennials of pine nuts.

“The wildfires that are most dangerous to people and their property in the Pine Burns do not usually damage the natural order,” says Dr. Emil Devito, a biologist at the New Jersey Foundation for Conservation. “Like many rare species of pine bark, they need fresh fire to survive. Current fires are ultimately beneficial to the environment.

The pine-barn pine / oak forests are a rare species in the world, and wildfires protect the region’s natural flora and fauna.

The pine barren forests are easily burned because of the dense brush and the dry, porous soil. Wildfires eat dry leaves, needles and twigs on the forest floor, temporarily paddling the tree. Underneath the floor and in new open spaces, plenty of sunlight falls on the forest floor, and ash enriches the soil. Some plants, such as turkey-beard, grow only when they are filled with ashes, and the “smoke” raindrops revive their long-buried seeds.

Peach trees, the main species, are particularly suitable for living in wildfires. Thick bark usually protects them from serious damage, and they can often produce new shoots from the trunks and legs that are affected by fire. Usually when the above-ground part of the tree is killed, it produces new shoots from the underground seedlings.

Moreover, the heat from the fire causes the pine cones to open and release their seeds, which fall into the soil and grow in the newly discovered sunlight.

The oak trees in the pine barns – different from the oak trees – are also suitable for wildfires. Species such as blackjack and scrub oaks have large, dense, tuberculosis root systems.

Russell Julg, senior pastor and educator of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, said: “They are like big and underground potatoes. “They respond to fire by destroying powerful shoots.”

Wildfires kill many oak trees, but that helps to protect the pine forests like pine. If there is no fire, the balance of the forest will reach the oak trees, change the pine ecosystem and create unsuitable habitats for the region’s rare and characteristic species.

Before New Jersey was colonized by Europeans, lightning and Native Americans occasionally set fire to the Pine Barnes. Today, hundreds of small wildfires occur every year in the region, and most of them are quickly extinguished by the NJ Forest Fire Service.

Homes and people’s lives are better protected in this way, but the pine barren Savana habitat has dwindled, leaving behind a number of Savana plants and dependent animals. These include red-headed woodpeckers, blue birds, bobbies, various moths, butterflies such as the snowy elf and argos skier, and many rare wildflowers.

The NJ Forest Fire Service burns thousands of acres in Pine Barrens each year. These “ordered fires” are controlled fires that improve human safety by reducing potential fuel sources on the ground. Also, when some methods are used, they can benefit ecological processes and biodiversity.

Five years ago, a 1,800 acre fire broke out in Franklin Parker, New Jersey, around the New Jersey Protection Foundation. The forest appears to have been burned and damaged, but no damage has been done to the ecosystem.

Within months, the pineapple sprouted new branches, blackjack, and deciduous trees sent healthy new shoots, and huckleberries and ferns reappeared. Many other pine trees have benefited from sunlight and rich soil, including Turkish beards, sage, and small blues.

One of the interesting things is that the previously undocumented Pine Barenes ginseng, a beautiful, internationally-rare, blue-and-purple flower blooms. Years ago, due to sunlight and lack of nutrients, the genetics partially fell asleep, but grew in a state of fire.

They are always concerned about the risk of loss of life and property and the damage to the swamps of the Atlantic White Cedar, such as wildfires in the Warton State Forest – believed to have been started by an illegal camp fire. Other types of forest fires. However, careful planning of fires and allowing wildfires to burn in remote areas can help reduce the risk of wildfires and protect Pineland’s ecosystem. The recent wildfires in the Warton State Forest are neither permanent nor severe. It takes time, but the native species of Pine Barens survive, and grow.

Wildfires are one of the most important reasons for the permanent protection of the land in Pine Barens. Conservation also protects the region’s rich natural resources, rare flora and fauna, and the Kirkwood-Cohansey reservoir, the region’s most important source of fresh water.

Regional planning, in particular Pineland’s general management plan, will help control the expansion and reduce damage to property and lives by avoiding high-risk wildfires. The plan is a carefully designed national model for growth and natural conservation in a region that is unique and ecologically important, and New Jersey can be proud of its unique place.

To learn more about Pine Burns and Special Ecology, go to

Visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s website at or for information on New Jersey land and natural resources conservation.

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