Resource Management at F.D. Roosevelt State Park
Pine Mountain, Georgia / 706-663-4858
Why Burn the Forest?
Montane Longleaf Pine forests, such as those in F.D. Roosevelt State Park, are endangered, fire-dependent ecosystems found in Georgia and Alabama. When natural fires are suppressed, hardwood species are able to take over the forest and push out native pines and
Georgia Oaks, a rare species found only in a few of Georgia’s craggy mountains
Burning restores biodiversity, improves habitat for native species, eradicates some exotic species and puts nutrients back into the soil. It also reduces excessive plant material that burns violently. A good example is the 2007 wildfire in the Okefenokee Swamp, made more damaging due to years of fire suppression.
During prescribed burns, trained and certified professionals keep a close watch on flames near roads and structures. Interior areas are allowed to burn strategically. It is normal for prescribed burns to smolder 48 hours or more. Flames may reach several feet in height before they die out.
Park visitors are often surprised to see that the forest will bounce back with green buds and plants within just a few weeks. Pine Mountain’s plants and animals have lived with fire for centuries and are well adapted to it.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources works with The Nature Conservancy to burn small portions of F.D. Roosevelt State Park. Timing is strategic, following good rain and ample winds to carry the fire, and before the nesting season for most birds.
50-YEAR PLAN OVERVIEW
Why Hunt Deer Within a State Park?
Across much of the United States, White Tail Deer populations have soared in numbers, mostly because they have few natural predators. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conducted three studies to determine how deer are affecting the ecosystem within F.D. Roosevelt State Park. They found that the park’s imbalance in biodiversity limits food and shelter for other animals.
Plants suffer as well. Vegetative surveys compared the state park (where no hunting has been allowed) with nearby Big Lazer Creek Wildlife Management Area (where hunting is allowed). Researchers found that the state park had far fewer plant species than the similar WMA. Biologist also used spotlight and camera surveys to determine the number of deer within the state park. They found approximately 60 deer per square mile – more than twice the number recommended by most biologists.
As a result, the DNR is recommending that F.D. Roosevelt State Park initiate annual deer hunts. Park staff emphasize that the hunts are for wildlife management purposes and not simply for sport. Effected areas of the park will be closed annually for 2 - 4 days and advance notice will be posted online and in the park.
© 2014 - Georgia Department of Natural Resources