Prescribed burning is an important tool to manage habitat on the refuge. The regular application of slow-moving fire removes wildfire fuel, reduces invasive vegetation and encourages plants that wildlife species use for food and cover. Prescribed burning maintains prime red-cockaded woodpeckers nesting trees by limiting competing hardwoods. This establishes conditions similar to the bird’s native habitat, mature pine forest. In an open stand of tall pines, the woodpeckers are more protected from predators and require less foraging territory. Wild turkey and bobwhite thrive in fire-managed forests. These game birds require open forest, where they nest on the ground and feed on nuts, seeds, insects, and more. Small birds are attracted to lands maintained with fire. The secretive Bachman’s sparrow nests and feeds in mature pine forest and grassy fields. Warblers, buntings, and other Neotropical migratory birds inhabit shrubs bordering burn areas.
Forest management has been practiced on the refuge since its establishment and its current woodlands are a result. The refuge's forest provides wildlife the essentials (food, shelter, and homes). The forest also provides countless recreational opportunities for visitors.
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