Prescribed burning is a key land management tool that is used to maintain native prairie, oak-hickory forest, old fields, and barrens. It improves habitat for wild turkey, quail, deer, and many other species of wildlife prioritized in the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan. This is not the first time our landscape has seen fire, however. Historical ecology tells us that the success of these native species and their habitat is dependent on regular disturbance... for example, wildfires. Ironically, decades of suppression of naturally occurring fire has negatively affected the species composition of our forests and prairies. The result is an explosion of invasive species and a buildup of hazardous fuel. The solution involves carefully reintroducing fire to the landscape.
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