Fire in the Landscape (JHARVNC)

Summary:

Fire is a wonderful management tool when used properly and in a controlled environment. Fire speeds up the carbon cycle, controls invasive species of vegetation, both woody and nonwoody, and controls the tick population. Fire rejuvenates and produces natural food products for our wildlife and nature enthusiasts.

Grade Level:

K - 12

Recommended Setting:

Outside, large area

Outdoor Activity:

No

Location:

Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center, Fort Smith

Contact:

Education Program Coordinator, 479-452-3993

Duration:

30 – 45 minutes

Suggested Number of Participants:

25 - 30 per group

Objectives:

  • Discuss habitat loss due to nature and man
  • Discover the uses and benefits of fire
  • Discuss habitat and animal needs

Key Terms*:

Animal needs

Carbon cycle

Habitat

Invasive species

Nonwoody vegetation

Ticks

Wildlife management

Woody vegetation

*See glossary for definations

Materials:

None

Background:

Fire In The Landscape

  • Habitat loss
    • Natural
      • Storms
      • Insects
      • Drought
    • Man
      • Farming/ranching
      • New construction, both commercial and residential
      • Wood products
  • Habitat control
    • Speed up carbon cycle
    • Control invasive species
      • Woody
      • Nonwoody
    • Rejuvenates habitat
      • Animal needs
      • Opens up ground for sunlight and re-growth of succulent vegetation
    • Control ticks and other parasites

Wildlife Management Tools

  • Habitat
    • Animal needs
      • Food
      • Water
      • Cover
      • Space
      • Arrangement
  • Management
    • Man (hunter, machines and regulations)
    • Animals
    • Chemicals
    • Fire (natural vs. man-made)
    • Cost

Oak Savannah Hike

  • Show invasive species
  • Explain how fire will replenish natural growth

Procedure:

  • Discuss habitat loss due to natural events and man.
  • Discuss different ways fire controls habitats.
  • Discuss wildlife management tools.
  • Show reasons for fire in an area overtaken by invasive species of vegetation.

Modifications:

Photographs of fire-managed areas can be shown in Power Point or passed around. It would be good to view both managed and unmanaged areas to show the effects of fire management.

Review:

  • Did fire naturally occur in our environment?
  • What is the main reason for habitat loss?
  • Is fire a good management tool and why?

Glossary:

Animal needs – food, water, oxygen, shelter and protection from the changing environment

Carbon cycle – the complex series of processes through which all of the carbon atoms in existence recycle between the biosphere, atmosphere, oceans and geosphere, especially through the process of photosynthesis, respiration and decomposition

Habitat – an arrangement of food, water, shelter or cover, and space suitable to animals’ needs

Invasive species – non-native organisms released into a region with potential to disrupt ecosystems and displace native species

Nonwoody vegetation (herbaceous) – a plant that does not produce a woody stem, or one that dies back to the ground at the end of the growing season

Ticks – any of a superfamily (Ixodoidea, order Parasitiformes) of wingless, bloodsucking mites, including many species that transmit diseases and are usually parasitic on humans, cattle, sheep, etc.

Wildlife management – application of scientific knowledge and technical skills to protect, preserve, conserve, limit, enhance or extend the value of wildlife and its habitat

Woody vegetation – plants that have hard stems and buds that survive above ground in winter