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A US pine species thrives when burnt. Southerners are rekindling a ‘fire culture’ to boost its range

Associated Press/Report for America

WEST END, N.C. (AP) — As the U.S. tries to restore a key forest ecosystem in the Southeast, landowners must light more fires on private property. The so-called “prescribed burns” are key to clearing forest debris and allowing pine cones to drop seeds onto the floor. That’s important for longleaf pine, a resilient tree species that evolved in a natural fire cycle. Forestry experts say volunteer prescribed burn associations are spreading the practice to private landowners, who are crucial to the restoration and unreached by many agencies. A North Carolina group finds the practice draws people closer to the land and their neighbors. One member says it’s “empowering” and a “tangible way to connect to the past and also guide the future.”

Article Topic Follows: AP National

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