Fire Management Plan for Montague Plain Wildlife Management Area (Clark and Patterson 2003)

Fire Management Plan for Montague Plain Wildlife Management Area (Clark and Patterson 2003)

Prepared for Massachusetts Dept. of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Environmental Law Enforcement Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program

Prepared by Kennedy H. Clark and William A. Patterson III -University of Massachusetts

July, 2003

Plan.pdf>

Montague Plain Wildlife Management Area (MPWMA) is a 1,512 acre property in western Massachusetts owned and managed by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. The primary purposes of the site are to protect and preserve an outstanding example of a xeric outwash pitch pine-scrub oak barren natural community and to provide public access for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and compatible recreational activities. This fire management plan (FMP) is a strategic plan that defines a program to manage wildland fire on MPWMA for ecological health and public safety. Fire management is needed at MPWMA to sustain and restore the health of the ecosystem and its component biota, and to protect on-site and off-site infrastructure and lives from wildfire.

MPWMA encompasses a glacial outwash sandplain with droughty soils supporting a pitch-pine - scrub oak community. The site also includes a hill with shallow, sandy loam soils that supports an oak dominated forest. One rare natural community and a number of rare plant, insect, and reptile species are known from the site. Pitch pine - scrub oak communities are the most fireprone vegetation types in New England, and significant evidence exists suggesting that fire was an important influencing factor on the vegetation of MPWMA for many years before European settlement. There are numerous fire and smoke sensitive areas surrounding the site including individual residences, businesses, highways, villages, and a small airport.

Characterizing Canopy Fuels as They Affect Fire Behavior in Pitch Pine

Master's Thesis by Matthew Duveneck FEBUARY 2005

Thesis.pdf>

Fire managers in the Northeast are increasingly concerned about crown fire development in pitch pine (Pinus rigida) P. Mill. Increased awareness of eastern crown fire problems has led to increased interest in predicting the development and behavior of crown fires in pitch pine. Models developed in the western United States exist to predict crown fire behavior. Managers in the Northeast, however, have relied on western data to predict crown fire behavior in pitch pine stands. Pitch pine-specific inputs to these models, most notably canopy bulk density (CBD), have not been available to northeastern fire managers. The objective of this study is to add pitch pine crown characteristics to the body of data on canopy fuel characteristics. Following destructive sampling of 31 pitch pine trees in Montague and on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, I developed predictive equations that will enable fire managers to predict CBD in pitch pine based on the indirect variable diameter at breast height (r2>0.93). To demonstrate the application of the predictive equations, I calculated the wind speed needed to sustain an active crown fire in a treated and an untreated pitch pine stand in Montague. The results indicate that CBD, calculated with the equations I derived, can be manipulated to reduce the threat of catastrophic crown fire.

Fire Management Plan for the Maine Army National Guard Hollis Training Site, York County, Maine (Patterson and Duveneck revised 2004)

Prepared by: William A. Patterson III and Matthew J. Duveneck

Forestry Program
University of Massachusetts

Date: March, 1997 Revised: July, 2004

Plan.pdf>

The modern fire management era began at the Maine Army National Guard Hollis Training Site in 1995 with initial efforts to characterize fuels and implement a prescribed burning program. The Hollis site is important ecologically because it supports unique Pitch Pine-Scrub Oak barrens vegetation which provides habitat for regionally rare moth, butterfly and plant species. The vegetation is adapted to fire, and fire suppression since the 1950’s has resulted in the vegetation becoming overgrown and in many areas dominated by gray birch, which shades out barrens species of lower stature and interferes with mobility during training exercises. Pitch Pine-Scrub Oak fuels are highly flammable, and infrequent fires lead to an increased hazard of catastrophic wildfire occurrence. A fire management plan completed in 1997 identified objectives including the reduction of fire hazard, increased mobility during training exercises, and the restoration and maintenance of pine barrens communities and rare species habitat. This plan provides documentation of the effectiveness of efforts to meet goals established in 1997 and provides guidance for future management activities.

Ecological Restoration of Fire-Maintained Oak Woodlands in Massachusetts (Hawthorne MS thesis 2004)

ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION OF FIRE-MAINTAINED OAK WOODLANDS IN MASSACHUSETTS

MAY 2004
BRIAN HOLT HAWTHORNE, B.A., WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY M.S., UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST Directed by: Professor William A. Patterson III

Thesis.pdf>

This study describes the results of a factorial experiment involving three levels of overstory thinning (none, moderate, heavy) and two levels of prescribed burning (no burn, burn) in three replicated blocks of upland oak forest in Pelham, Massachusetts to reproduce qualities of the fire-maintained oak woodlands that are thought to have existed in southern New England prior to European settlement. The primary aspects studied were overstory structure, soft mast (berry) production, and understory openness. A reference site in Worcester, MA exhibits an open understory maintained by frequent burning and supports a unique natural community of flora and fauna. Overstory thinning was completed in January 2001, and understory burning in June 2001. Two growing seasons after treatments, burning reduced the cover of understory shrubs (p=0.0002). There was a significant interaction (p=0.011) between the treatments with regards to tree species in the understory. Overall, thinning increased the cover of tree species in the understory (p=0.002), and burning decreased the cover of tree species for all but the moderate thinning treatment (p=0.04). The number of understory species browsed by wildlife was increased by both the thinning (p<0.0001) and burning (p=0.026) treatments. Neither treatment significantly affected overall species diversity of vegetation. Thinning increased production of soft mast (p=0.001) and increased available light to the shrub-level understory (p<0.0001). Stem density, flower production, and berry production of Vaccinium angustifolium were highly correlated with available light (p<0.0001). Prescribed burning increased understory visibility in the year following application (p=0.008). Horizontal foliar density (HFD) increased linearly with distance (p<0.001) and decreased with height above ground (p<0.001). The combined results suggest that the combination of overstory thinning and understory burning is a promising method to create woodland openings that meet wildlife, aesthetic, and recreation goals for public and private landowners, while restoring a rare natural community to the Massachusetts landscape.

Northeast Barrens Website (not maintained): Legacy Publications

Managing Fuels in the Northeast Barrens Publications

This website was last updated in May of 2013, but represents an excellent source of information compiled by Dr. Bill Patterson at the University of Massachusetts for his Joint Fire Science Program deliverable. The goal is to move all of the publications listed on this page to the NAFSE page.

Website Link>

Fire Management Plan for Ossipee Pine Barrens Preserve

Organization: The Nature Conservancy

Contact person: Jeff Lougee, Director of Stewardship and Ecological Management - May 2015

Download.pdf>

Description: This fire management plan fulfills TNC’s requirements for an approved site fire management plan (Heumann 2012). This plan includes ecological goals, objectives and a program of actions to be implemented over the next five to ten years to: 

 

·       Restore and maintain the pitch pine - scrub oak woodland community and structural variants 

·       Enhance habitat for nineteen lepidoptera and five shrubland and early successional birds

·       Manage fuels to reduce the potential for wildfire that may threaten life and property 

 

Management will continue to include mechanical treatments to reduce fuels and improve habitat combined with prescribed burns to maintain the pitch pine - scrub oak woodland community and structural types. Mechanical treatments will include mowing of dense tall scrub oak and timber harvesting to reduce canopy cover and remove encroaching fire intolerant tree species. Prescribed burning will be used to reduce residual fuels from mechanical treatments, to maintain the natural community and habitat by promoting the germination of pitch pine and the persistence of fire maintained plants, and to reduce fuels. This plan provides for an adaptive management approach to balance the ecological needs of the conservation targets and the need to reduce fuels. Monitoring, documenting methods, and reviewing results will direct future management. The Nature Conservancy will work with state and local partner organizations to reduce hazardous fuels and apply prescribed fire to maintain natural communities and rare species populations. 

Over the next five years, approximately 500 - 750 acres will be treated using mechanical fuel reduction methods and prescribed burning on Conservancy and partner-owned lands (Map 1). More areas may be treated depending on resources and the results of treatment of this first set of management units. The Nature Conservancy will also work with partner organizations and landowners to reduce fuels within the WUI.

Management Plan for Katama Plains Management area (sandplain grassland)

Organization: The Nature Conservancy

Contact: Karen Lombard, Director of Stewardship and Restoration - July 2000

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Description:  This is a revised Management Plan for the 190 acre Katama Plains Conservation Area (KPCA) which represents one of New England’s largest and best remaining examples of sandplain grasslands, a globally rare natural community. The site also supports 18 rare or declining species of birds, invertebrates, and plants that depend upon the open grassy and shrubby habitat. 

 

 

Pine River State Forest Fire and Ecological Management Plan

Agency/Organization: NH Division of Forest and Lands, Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

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Description:The purpose of the Pine River State Forest fire management plan is to identify areas within Pine River which will be managed with a combination of prescribed fire, timber harvesting, and mowing to restore significant areas of pitch pine - sandplain natural communities. Management goals and objectives, and the actions that will be implemented within portions of Pine River State Forest over the next five to ten years are discussed. The purpose of this plan is to serve as a guiding document for the Forest Management and Natural Heritage Bureaus within the Division of Forests and Lands. The plan is meant to be a working document that is modified as more knowledge and research is discovered. Key aspects of an ecological and fire management approach at Pine River are to: 

 

·      Maintain the pitch pine sandplain natural communities that occur on the Forest 

·      Enhance habitat for rare and state-listed Lepidoptera, early successional and shrubland nesting birds, and other wildlife species for which critical habitat is present on the Forest 

·      Manage fuels to reduce the potential for wildfire that may threaten life and property 

 

Management actions will include mechanical treatments to reduce fuels and improve habitat, and prescribed burns to maintain the pitch pine sandplain natural communities. Mechanical fuel reduction and treatments will include mowing of dense tall scrub oak and other trees and shrubs, and timber harvests to reduce canopy cover in selected areas to promote the recruitment and retention of plant species associated with the rare pitch pine sandplain types. Prescribed burning will be used to reduce residualfuels from mechanical treatments, to maintain the unique natural communities and habitats, and to reduce fuels. This plan provides for an adaptive management approach to balance the ecological needs of the unique natural communities and associated wildlife species with the need to reduce fuels. Monitoring, documenting methods, and reviewing results will direct future management. 

The Division of Forests and Lands will work with partner organizations to reduce hazardous fuels and apply prescribed fire to maintain natural communities and rare species populations in at least the six Special Management Areas (SMA’s). Over the next five years, approximately 254 acres will be treated using mechanical fuel reduction methods and prescribed burning (Map 2). More areas may be treated depending on resources and the results of treatment of this first set of management units. The Division of Forests and Lands will also work with partner organizations and landowners to reduce fuels within wildland urban interface areas.

Northeast Wildfire Risk Assessment -USDA Forest Service

The objectives of this assessment were to identify areas in the Northeast and Midwest that are prone to wildfire; identify where hazard mitigation practices would be most effective in reducing fire risk within each State; identify and prioritize Communities at Risk from wildfire and; focus resources in the areas of greatest need within each State.

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Ossipee Fuel Mapping Results and Recommended Fuel Models- Summary and 4 reports

Abstract: This report summarizes the results of 1) data collected in 34 plots at Ossipee Pine Barrens in 2013 to describe vegetation and fuels, 2) interviews with several prescribed fire practitioners in the northeast and 3) recommendations on fuel models that could be used at Ossipee based on the above information.

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An Assessment of the Impact of Fire on Rare Lepidoptera in the Ossipee Pine Barrens Preserve

Abstract: The Ossipee Pine Barrens Preserve, managed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), was once part of a much larger pine barrens ecosystem. Currently, the pine barrens stretch across the towns of Madison, Freedom, Ossipee, and Tamworth in Carroll County, New Hampshire. The pine barrens ecosystem is an imperiled rare natural community that was historically maintained by fire. Pitch pine, the dominant tree in the pine barrens, is well adapted to a fire regime. Scrub oak and blueberry, the dominant shrub and ground cover, can also flourish post-fire. 

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Monitoring Protocols for the Ossipee and Waterboro Pine Barrens

Abstract: Fire suppression during the last 50-100 years has changed the composition and structure of northeastern pine barrens, a globally rare and fire-dependent natural community that provides habitat for numerous rare and declining Lepidopteran, plant and early successional/shrubland bird species. These changes have resulted in a number of deleterious effects to the natural community, including an increase in canopy cover and organic soils and the proliferation of tree species less tolerant of fire (such as red maple, white pine, red oak, aspen, and American beech).

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A Vegetative Fuelbreak Protecting the Town of Bar Harbor, Maine – Acadia National Park, ME

Abstract: The Bar Harbor Fire of 1947 burned a total of 17,188 acres (10,000 in Acadia National Park), killed three people, and destroyed 237 homes and the Jackson Laboratory on Mount Desert Island, Maine. The fire caused 23 million dollars in damages (1947 dollars). The volatile conifer forest that covered much of Mount Desert Island and contributed to the intensity of the fire was replaced by early successional species. Acadia National Park is evaluating the potential for using a deciduous fuelbreak to prevent a future fire from causing comparable damage.

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