Gopher tortoise burrow in burned longleaf, with dogs 2019-01-27

After the prescribed burn, it’s a lot easier to see, and there are more gopher tortoise burrows than we thought.

With dogs, Gopher hole

Here’s another Gopherus polyphemus near the road. It’s good there are so many. Gophers are a keystone species, hosting hundreds of other species in their burrows, from rattlesnakes to beetles.

Another by road, Gopher hole

Many people are unfamiliar with why we burn pine trees. Longleaf pines, like these little and bigger ones, survive fire fine:

Looking good, Longleaf

Even other pine tree species, such as loblolly and slash, are less resistant to fire, and other trees such as oaks even less so. So burning favors pine trees and especially longleaf pine trees. Don’t burn and you end up with an oak forest instead of a pine forest. Also, don’t burn and you can’t even walk through because of vines and blackberries, nor can wildlife manage easily in dense undergrowth.

So we burn. More by The Longleaf Alliance.