Resource Management

Resource Management

Biologists closely monitor nesting red-cockaded woodpecker nests each spring.

Fire Management

Fire has played an important role in the formation of the Okefenokee Swamp. Fire ignited during all seasons by natives and early settlers for cultural reasons added to the effects of lightning-caused fire. Today, prescribed fire is used predominately in the uplands adjacent to the swamp to maintain the longleaf pine/wiregrass community. Longleaf pine and wiregrass, along with many of its associated wildlife species, including the red-cockaded woodpecker, gopher tortoise, and indigo snakes benefit from the occurrence of fire. Many species of plants have adapted to fire and require it for growth, maturity, and survival.

Endangered Species Management

The refuge has many talented staff, interns, and volunteers who work in difficult conditions for the benefit of the plant and animal species who call the refuge home. Each spring and summer, countless hours are spent in the field closely monitoring active red-cockaded woodpecker cavities. Using a "peeper" (a long, telescoping pole with a small camera on the end that the viewer "looks" into the woodpecker hole with and a monitor screen at the base of the tree that they can look at what's in the hole/nest), biologists can observe the nests and monitor egg laying and hatching. Once the young hatch, a series of color-coded bands are placed on the bird's legs. The young continue to be monitored and observed as they fledge, or leave the nest.