In the Eye of the Fire - 360° video of crown fire in NJ pinelands

National Institute of Standards and Technology

“Putting a camera close to a fire wasn't good enough for NIST researchers, so they created a camera system that can take 360-degree video from WITHIN a fire.The New Jersey Forest Fire Service, in coordination with the U.S. Forest Service and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, conducts prescribed forest management burns there as part of a fuel reduction plan This video shows a forest fire that spreads from treetop to treetop, called a crown fire. The video has been sped up as the fire approaches and leaves the field of view but plays in real time as the fire pass by the camera. The video was captured using a water-cooled glass enclosure developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology to protect 360° cameras in fires. For more information and additional 360° fire videos visit the 360-Degree Video in Fire Research project webpage. The burn was performed in conjunction with work by researchers from the University of Edinburgh's Fire Safety Engineering program to study ember generation and transport.” - Jennifer Huergo, May 28, 2019


Pine Barrens of the Northeastern U.S. - Emily Dohlansky (2018)

Emily Dolhansky put together this report on the Pine Barrens of the Northeastern U.S. as part of her graduate work at Yale University.



Pine barrens forests of the Northeastern United States are characterized by sandy soils and fire-adapted plant communities. They provide critical ecosystem and human services, including water filtration, wildlife habitat, recreation, and biodiversity. These forests are threatened by fire suppression, pests, development, and other human pressures. It is estimated that nearly half of this forest type has been lost over the past 150 years. However, there are opportunities for private landowners, non-profit organizations, and the state and federal government to restore and protect the remaining pine barrens. Enhancing the ecological integrity of these forests will benefit the landscape and the human communities that surround them. 

This document is meant to serve as a resource to scientists and forests managers alike. It combines scientific literature with success stories from the field to offer guidance to landowners who wish to restore or enhance the quality of pine barrens. The author’s insights and contributions from managers throughout the region are reflected as well. 

Screenshot 2019-02-07 12.06.47.png

Land Management Implications for Hemileuca maia (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae) Habitat at Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts (Haggerty MS thesis 2006)




Early seral habitats in the northeastern U.S. are being threatened by succession brought on by the alteration of natural ecosystem dynamics (Noss 1995). In fire- dependent systems such as sandplain barrens, this is compounded by the threat of catastrophic fire from increased fuel loads created by long-term fire suppression. Efforts are currently underway in many areas to restore open habitats through the reintroduction of natural disturbances or by alternative techniques which mimic their effects. In fire prone systems, the goal of these efforts is twofold: 1) to reduce fire danger in areas with heavy fuel loads and 2) to restore natural open habitats. The effects of such management on the native insect species, including rare species dependent on open systems, are just beginning to be examined (Swengel 2001, Swengel and Swengel 2001, Panzer and Schwartz 2002).

Distribution of Rare Plants on the Central Plain of Martha's Vineyard: Implications for Conservation and Management (Clarke MS thesis 2006)




Rare plants in coastal New England sandplains are often restricted to sites disturbed by humans. On the central plain of Martha’s Vineyard, which has one of the highest concentrations of rare plant species in Massachusetts, disturbances include plowed and mowed firelanes. Little is known about pre-European rare plant habitat or how modern management impacts these species. To better understand the factors influencing the distribution of rare plants in coastal habitats, I examined the influence of vegetation structure, species composition, environmental characteristics and disturbance history on existing rare plant populations and potential natural habitat in the 2100-ha Manuel F. Correllus State Forest. This was accomplished by sampling more than 100, 100-m2 plots in firelanes (including 22 at rare plant occurrences) and forested/shrubland areas. I also conducted extensive searches for rare species.

Historic and prehistoric changes in the Rome, New York pine barrens (Kurczewski, 1999)

Screenshot 2019-01-22 11.54.51.png

ABSTRACT - Early documents and maps, landscape features, soils, climate, fossil pollen and charcoal as evidence of vegetation and fire history, modern plants, and insects were used to evaluate past changes in the pitch pine communities on the Rome Sand Plains of central New York. Pitch pine and ericaceous shrubs became important at this locality ca. 1500 to 1600 A. D. Increased disturbance including Indian-caused fires may have triggered this event. Euro-American logging, land clearance, and fire in the 19th and early 20th centuries helped to maintain existing pine barrens and convert mesophytic deciduous-coniferous forest to pine barrens. Fires associated with brush removal, a railroad that ran through the area, blueberry production, and arson destroyed soil organic horizons and decreased available moisture and nutrients favoring xerophytic over mesophytic plant species. Pine barrens at this locality are reverting to mesophytic deciduous-coniferous forest with abandonment of the railroad and late 20th century fire suppression efforts.

Historical Changes in the pine barrens of Central Suffolk County, NY (Kurczewski and Boyle, 2000)

Screenshot 2019-01-22 11.36.47.png

ABSTRACT - Soils, vegetation, fossil pollen and charcoal, disturbance history,

early documents and maps, and insects were used to interpret past changes in the

central Suffolk County, Long Island, New York pine barrens. Before Euro-

American settlement pitch pine-oak-heath woodland, pitch pine-scrub oak barrens,

and dwarf pine plains probably covered portions of the broad outwash

plain south of the Ronkonkoma Moraine. These communities would have occurred

on deep, coarse-textured, excessively drained, nutrient-impoverished,

acidic, fire-prone sandy soils. Logging, land clearance, and repeated humancaused

fires promoted the expansion of barrens vegetation through much of

central Suffolk County during the 17th-19th centuries. Pitch pine became established

on the disturbed loamy, sandy, and gravelly soils. Scrub oak sprouted

profusely on these soils in response to repeated burning of the undergrowth.

The seed for this expansion dispersed from trees and shrubs growing in adjacent

oak-pitch pine and pitch pine-oak woodlands. With 20th century fire suppression,

pine barrens reverted to oak-hardwood forests in northcentral Suffolk

County and oak-pine and pine-oak forests in southcentral Suffolk County. Pine

barrens persisted in sections of eastcentral and southcentral Suffolk County in

response to periodic burning.

Research Brief: Insect damage versus prescribed fire: comparing long-term carbon impacts

Photo by Jan Christian Thomas

Photo by Jan Christian Thomas

Do prescribed fires create long-term carbon losses from the forest? How about insect defoliations? How long does it take a forest to re-capture that carbon from the atmosphere? Dr. Kenneth Clark and his fellow researchers investigated all of this and more with their latest research in the pinelands of New Jersey. Click below to access the brief.

Research Brief.pdf>

Evaluating the impacts of southern pine beetle on pitch pine forest dynamics in a newly invaded region.

Southern pine beetle (SPB), a native insect that has historically affected pine ecosystems in the southeastern U.S., has recently expanded northward causing extensive tree mortality in pitch pine and pitch pine-oak forests across much of eastern Long Island, NY.

Read More

November 2017 Newsletter

In this month's Newsletter:

NAFSE's Activities:  Maine Events, Meetings, JFSP publication
NAFSE's Upcoming Events:  Igniting Exchange Partners Meeting, Webinar
Upcoming Events: Conferences, Training Courses
In The News: The Year Maine Burned, Mashpee Habitat, Monster Wildfire, Months-long CT Wildfire, Meet Nick Skowronski
Grant Opportunity: The Northeastern Area Request for Project Proposals
North Atlantic Fire Science Resource Highlights: App for Fuel Monitoring
Photos: Recent NAFSE and Regional Events

Prescribed fire effects: Aspen’s varied response

This research brief helps set the stage for our Maine fire history panel and field trip. The research covered here focuses on short and long-term prescribed fire effects on aspen regeneration. There is very little research on prescribed fire and aspen, so this long-term study is an important one!


February 2017 Newsletter

In this month's Newsletter:

NAFSE's Activities: Camp Edwards Field Trip Recap, Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Compact, Webinars
Interview: Ann Camp: Afire for teaching
NAFSE's Upcoming Events: Workshop, Webinars, Field trip
Upcoming Events: Conferences, Webinars, Training Courses
Call for Input: Tree mortality data needed, FEIS syntheses suggestions
In The News: Stockton University, Martha's Vineyard, Long Island, George Zimmermann
Job Announcement: MA Prescribed Fire Ecologist
North Atlantic Fire Science Resource Highlights: LANDIS-II spatial disturbance and succession model

Suppression science: Effects of Suppression on the Ecology of the Wildland Urban Interface

Check out this month's research brief focusing on how effective suppression in the wildland urban interface results in different forest ecology in these areas. Dr. Inga La Puma and colleagues used a 50 year spatial fire history to investigate how distance from development was related to fire frequency and forest composition.


August 2016 Newsletter

In this month's Newsletter:
NAFSE's Activities: Renewal, Oak Capstone Workshop/Field Trip Recap
NAFSE's Upcoming Events: Canadian Fire Science Exchange Day, Allegheny SAF: NJ Division Meeting
Joint Fire Science Program Funding Opportunities Sneak Peak
National Wildfire Coordinating Group: Request for Comments
Smoke and Prescribed Fire Message from EPA, USDA and DOI
In The News: Insects, Microbes, WUI in PA
Upcoming Events: Conferences, webinars, training courses
So This Happened: Call for unknown research and oral histories
North Atlantic Fire Science Resource Highlights: EPA wildfire smoke guidelines updated