Date updated: 5/15/13

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photo of a prescribed fire in pitch pine fuels

Pitch pine-scrub oak barrens, also known as "pine plains," "sand plains," "pinelands," and "pine bush," occur throughout the Northeast from New Jersey to Maine. These barrens are characterized by excessively drained soils and by several plant species which are highly flammable and/or have adaptations to survive or regenerate after fire.

Pitch pine-scrub oak barrens are among the rarest and most imperiled natural community types in the United States, and they support a number of rare species, including lepidopterans such as the Karner blue butterfly ( Lycaeides melissa samuelis ) and the barrens buckmoth ( Hemileuca maia ), and plants such as the Sand-plain Gerardia ( Agalinis acuta ).

Photo of a Karner Blue butterfly photo of a barrens buckmoth Photo of a Sand-plain Gerardia

Karner blue butterfly
( Lycaeides melissa samuelis )
photo by John and Karen
Hollingsworth, USFWS

Barrens buckmoth
( Hemileuca maia )
photo from:
Sand-plain Gerardia
( Agalinis acuta )

In the Northeast, researchers, land managers, and conservation organizations are working together to learn and apply the best ways to promote, maintain, and restore these unique ecosystems. Management techniques include the use of mechanical treatments (mowing, grazing, thinning), herbicides, and prescribed fire.

Please take some time to explore our website and learn about Fuels Management in Northeastern Barrens. This website is funded by a grant from the Joint Fire Science Program and by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


May 2013 - Association for Fire Ecology Conference in Roanoke - Wildland Fire in the Appalachians: Discussions Among Managers and Scientists see website

April 2013 - Everyone, rural or urban, has stake in forests see article

March 2013 - NE Grassroots Fire Science Consortium organizational effort see poster

January 2013 - Northeast Natural History Conference. more

December 2013 - Three fire ecologists were recognized with Lifetime Achievement Awards. more


News (updated May 2013)

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