Tomorrow we plan to do a controlled-burn on 80-acres here at the PGT. Even though we been doing burns for a couple decades we are beginning to have more doubts. Despite careful preparation it seems that we always end up killing things we want to encourage. We always end up killing dogwoods and other flowering trees. Even though we burn in patches I know we are hurting butterflies and reducing the habitat for grassland birds like the Henslow’s Sparrow.
To help reduce the damage we are experimenting more with foam and removing woody debris around the base of desirable trees. That takes a lot more time than the burn does but it’s worth it.