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)
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.