For centuries, fire has been the natural friend of the Tallgrass Prairies. It ensured a healthy environment for native species, controlled the growth of non-native plants, burned plant litter and caused new growth by increasing the temperature of the soil. Tallgrass prairie and savanna plant species depend on fire to live.
Today, natural fires have been suppressed. As a result Tallgrass Prairie restoration requires prescribed burns. This brings new life and strength to the prairies.
Prescribed burns are professionally managed, intentionally set fires that burn in a pre-determined area and under strictly controlled circumstances for the sole purpose of restoring natural habitat. By clearing away the scrub and brush, sunlight can penetrate down to the soil where the native grassland seeds lie and they will flourish following a fire. Fire also extends the growing season for native plants and shortens the season for invasive species.
Want to know more? Read our Guest Blog by Ontario Parks’ Corina Brdar.