Longleaf Pine Habitat
From the US Fish and Wildlife Service: "The Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge supports the largest population of the endangered red- cockaded woodpecker on Service-owned lands. Red-cockaded woodpeckers serve as an indicator species of the overall health of the longleaf pine/wiregrass ecosystem. It is also referred to as a “Keystone” species that characterizes the ecosystem. The needs of the red-cockaded woodpecker guide management decisions and actions.
An important tool used to manage the longleaf pine/wiregrass ecosystem is prescribed burning. These controlled burns mimic natural fires that historically burned throughout this ecosystem. These fires suppress the growth of hardwood trees and shrubs, creating the open, park-like conditions preferred by the red-cockaded woodpecker and many other species native to this ecosystem. The charred appearance of burned areas is only temporary as lush grasses and forbs quickly respond to favorable growing conditions created by the burn."
In this video Allyn Askins, Refuge Director of Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, describes how wildlife management and prescribed burning contributes to the restoration of red-cockaded woodpecker habitat.
Visit: Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge