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  • Ian Thompson

Fire on the Landscape

Updated: Feb 21, 2022

Broomsedge Blustem on fire

Until they were prevented from doing so by colonization, the Indigenous peoples of North America had managed the landscapes of this continent for thousands of years through the use of fire. Regular burns opened up the woods and prairies, enhanced carrying capacity for a number of animals, killed ticks, and depending on the season of the burn, encouraged grasses or forbs.

This year, per Roland's advice, we're letting our land go fallow, to give it a chance to rest from the years of over grazing that it has suffered. Controlled burns are not a highly touted tool within the holistic management community, because they put carbon into the air instead of into the soil. However, since fire has been used on this land since time immemorial, we decided to introduce fire to a 1 acre patch of grass that currently has some native species in it (broomsedge bluestem and split beard bluestem), to see if it would help them to spread.

We lit the fire on a cool, damp evening and watched slowly meander until it burned itself out. With the yellow fire, reddish grass stocks, and deep-blue early spring sky overhead, some of the scenes were breathtaking.

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