Partnership in Question Over Prescribed Burns

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Usually the Land Preservation Committee of Meridian Township assesses ways to keep land, animals, and the environment safe. But on July 20, they were speaking with Ingham County Parks about ways to burn some land down. I love this lead!

Ingham Country is looking to be supported by the Land Preservation Committee for prescribed burns, and brought three self-owned areas of land into observation at the discussion.

Prescribed burns are controlled slow burning fires used to promote forest management. It is used to save native species in a particular area, while getting rid of invasive species that are taking over. Awesome and easily understood explanation.

“The forest has a thick enough bark, that the fire will not kill the native species,” said Ingham County Park Manager Pat Witte. “Once it burns the litter layer off, the heat promotes the native seeds that have been sitting dormant to come back up.”

The areas that are under consideration for burning are located in Lake Lansing North Park; each burn is about 10 to 15 acres of land. Ingham County Parks are looking for partnership with the Land Preservation Committee.

Witte explained it would be better for the environment if the prescribed burns were implemented because the native species in the area are being taken over by the invasive plants, Japanese Barberry and Autom Olive.

Invasive plants can travel to a native area by two ways. Humans can transport an unwanted type of plat to a certain area. Invasive plants can also be brought to forested areas by natural causes; for example, birds.

The burn would kill the invasive plants while just burning, but not killing, the native species because it is just a slow burn. Bark that would be burned is mature and thick enough, to where it would be able to grown back. It was brought to the attention of the Land Preservation board members that some native trees would die because of the burn such as the red maple and black cherry.

“We are trying to better the environment for people to enjoy” Witte said.

Ingham County Parks was not only looking for support, they are looking for financial support for the burns. Although Ingham County Parks is looking for full financial support for the prescribed burns, they do not have estimates of how much money it will cost at this time.

No final decision on whether the Land Preservation Committee was planning on supporting financially; but Chairman Tom Woiwode said he supports the prescribed burns even though their treasury does not own the land.

“I would fund this in a heartbeat,” Woiwode said. “I think that’s exactly what we should be doing.

Woiwode is for financially supporting the burns because he said that one day soon, there will not be any money in buying and selling land. He views it as beneficial so they, themselves can learn the process to teach it to other people in the community when the issues arise.

“I think using them to teach us about management practices that we are not familiar with, because nobody in Meridian Township has done any burns, would be a tremendous learning experience,” Woiwode said.

You can see photos of the meeting, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwFt3I8D6lk

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