Forest Fire Research and Education
Many forests have evolved in the presence of some form of disturbance. Certainly a number of forests in the Pine Barrens reflect in their information legacies some reliance on disturbance from fire to maintain themselves. This does not mean every forest has to burn to the ground; though catastrophic fire will probably always be part of the forest landscape and good for a limited number of forest types like the pygmy pine plains forests in the New Jersey Pinelands. In cooperation with New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection’s (NJDEP) Forest Fire Division, Stockton University has been taking the Fire-Wise approach to protect Stockton assets and people from the threat of catastrophic fire; while also using prescribed burns and thinning to protect, enhance, and sustain certain forest types where fire plays an essential role in their ecological upkeep.
Shortly after the Stockton Forest Management Plan (SFMP) was approved, Stockton faculty, administration representatives, and our forest consultant Robert Williams sat down with local New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (NJDEP) Forest Fire Service section warden John Sanford to do a fire threat assessment of our entire campus. It was found that only the buildings in the northeast corner of our main campus have a potential threat from catastrophic fire. We have put a plan together for the Northeast campus forest that we hope to complete in the future that is already using thinning plus we hope a defensible space to protect potentially threatened buildings in that area from catastrophic forest fires. We also looked at where on campus, fire though not an existential danger, could be used to enhance, maintain, and sustain certain forests where fire plays a central role in their upkeep.
The Delaware Avenue forest and Northeast Campus forest web pages and interpretative trail will explain details of the prevention of wildfire on campus, and use of prescribed fire as a critical tool in ecological forest management of Stockton University’s forests.
LINKSTO EXPLORE MORE FOREST FIRE SUBJECTS