Tall Timbers Scientists Keynote Two Regional Fire Science Workshops

Dr. Monica Rother and Kevin Hiers shared their expertise in keynote presentations at two Southern Fire Exchange (SFE) fire science and management workshops this past October. A packed SFE workshop held October 19, at the FSU Coastal and Marine Lab near Carrabelle, Fla., assembled over 30 scientists and managers to learn about the latest research findings and management practices related to duff fire management in upland ecosystems. Kevin Hiers joined Dr. Morgan Varner (U.S. Forest Service) and Bryn Pipes (Georgia Department of Natural Resources) as they gave engaging presentations that summarized decades of scientific research and lessons from managing longleaf ecosystems that have heavy duff accumulations. After a catered lunch overlooking the beautiful Apalachee Bay, workshop participants gathered in a nearby long-unburned longleaf pine stand to test out a moisture meter, examine duff loads, learn about fine roots, and discuss management options for the interesting tract. Workshop partners included the Southern Fire Exchange, Tall Timbers, US Forest Service, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, FSU Coastal and Marine Lab, Joint Fire Science Program, and the Apalachicola Regional Stewardship Alliance.


On October 31, Dr. Monica Rother gave a presentation on groundcover composition susceptibility to disturbance and subsequent impacts on natural fuel characteristics, at the Upland Groundcover Restoration Symposium hosted by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) at the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve (ABRP) and led by the SFE and the Apalachicola Regional Stewardship Alliance. Along with Dr. Rother, Dr. Joan Walker (U.S Forest Service), Brian Pelc (TNC), and Mike Jenkins (Florida Forest Service) gave presentations on cutting-edge research and management related to groundcover restoration in upland pine ecosystems. After a barbeque lunch, Chaz Oliver (TNC) led workshop participants on a hands-on tour of native groundcover seed collection and sowing equipment used by the TNC and partners at the ABRP on the nearby Torreya State Park. The event wrapped up with a tour of several nearby restoration projects, with examples of various longleaf planting densities and native seed planting rates.

Look for recordings of these workshop presentations and copies of select materials on the SFE website and YouTube channel soon.


Participants at the Duff Fire Science and Management Workshop had the opportunity to test out a Delmhorst moisture meter in a site with heavy duff accumulation.


Kevin Hiers, 2nd from left, talks about management options for stands with heavy duff accumulations during the field component of the Duff Fire Science and Management Workshop.


Chaz Oliver, 2nd from left, talks about wiregrass planting rates on a longleaf pine restoration site within Torreya State Park as part of the Groundcover Restoration Symposium.

Top right, participants at the Groundcover Restoration Symposium examine conditions at a longleaf pine restoration site that was previously a high-density sand pine plantation. All photos by David Godwin

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