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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy Establish New National Agreement for More Controlled Burning

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and The Nature Conservancy (Conservancy) announce a new partnership that will for the first time increase and better coordinate controlled burn activities, also known as prescribed fire, on their respective lands to enhance wildlife values. The agreement will encourage more efficient use of personnel and equipment while treating lands that might otherwise not get the benefit of controlled burning.


December 17, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and The Nature Conservancy (Conservancy) announce a new partnership that will for the first time increase and better coordinate controlled burn activities, also known as prescribed fire, on their respective lands to enhance wildlife values. The agreement will encourage more efficient use of personnel and equipment while treating lands that might otherwise not get the benefit of controlled burning.

“The wildlife habitats we manage need more prescribed fire to survive and thrive, and we can get more done on the ground by working together,” said Jim Kurth, Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System.

Today, controlled burns are used by land managers to safely mimic the natural fire cycle and maintain fire-resilient landscapes for the benefit of people, water, and wildlife. Controlled burns are also a critical tool to help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, often termed mega-fires, which have become more common in the past decade.

Nationally, the two entities manage more than 78 million fire adapted acres across the United States. This year, the Conservancy in Florida led or assisted on 116,000 acres of controlled fire, including 10,000 acres on land it owns.

Historically, natural fires were a common occurrence in the United States. They cleared overgrowth, restored nutrients to the soil, and “rebooted” the cycle of life across a patchwork of habitats. All told, around two-thirds of America’s forests and grasslands are adapted to require the restorative power of fire at least once every 30 years. In fact, Florida’s pine forests require fire every 2-3 years to remain healthy.

“A majority of Florida’s habitats require a regular cycle of fire in order to maintain a wide variety of plant and animal populations, many of which are unique to this portion of the world,” said Zachary Prusak, Fire Manager for the Conservancy in Florida.

The Nature Conservancy is a private, global, not-for-profit organization that works to protect the lands and waters on which all life depends. In the United States, the Conservancy co-leads the national Fire Learning Network, along with multiple federal partners, including the Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service.

Over the past 11 years, working under less formal local agreements, the Service and the Conservancy have worked in 39 states with 1,150 community partners to advance collaborative conservation and train more than 2,400 fire workers. It is believed that this national partnership will expand the positive impact these two organizations have on conservation and the protection of our national treasures.
 


The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.

Contact information

Rocio Johnson
The Nature Conservancy in Florida
(786) 226-5116
rocio_johnson@tnc.org

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