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Prescribed burns aid in the restoration of the longleaf pine forests


Longleaf pine forests once stretched across the Southeast, spanning more than 90 million acres from Virginia to Texas. Today, the U.S. Forest Service estimates only 4.3 million acres of longleaf pine forests remain, and many of those strands are in poor condition. However, efforts are underway to restore and expand these vital ecosystems that once dominated the Alabama landscape.

Among those involved is Chris Wyatt, a forester for Alabama Power. Recently, Wyatt oversaw a prescribed burn near Smith Mountain on Lake Martin. Duff, which is dead plant material like leaves, bark, needles and twigs, builds up over the years without fire. Prescribed burning removes that buildup and allows seeds long buried to start to grow.

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