The Sea Pines Forest Preserve is a 606-acre parcel designated as a natural area for wildlife habitat and an outdoor recreation for residents and visitors of Sea Pines. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew significantly altered the Forest Preserve and it took almost three years for the majority of the cleanup to be completed. The new forest structure (i.e. fewer trees and more sunlight reaching the ground) will improve the quality and diversity of the habitat, but active land management will be required to prevent the habitat from deteriorating to a lower ecological state. Accordingly, the Sea Pines Forest Preserve Foundation is utilizing land management practices to maintain, enhance and protect “Our Natural Treasure”.
After much coordination, planning and obtaining the necessary approvals from various agencies including the Town of Hilton Head Island, the local Fire Department and South Carolina Forestry Commission, the Sea Pines Forest Preserve Foundation is pleased to announce that they will soon conduct a small prescribed burn in a test area of the Forest Preserve.
Prescribed burns are a valuable forest management tool and will be an important part of Sea Pines Forest Preserve’s Ecological Land Management Plan as we look to the future. The burns mimic natural wildfires, which have historically shaped habitats in the Lowcountry, but are controlled to occur at the right place and right time. Conducting prescribed burns will help maintain a diverse forest understory and further protect the ecosystem of the Forest Preserve. Prescribed burning is used across the country and is used extensively throughout the Southeast as a vital element of proactive land management programs. Many local communities such as Palmetto Bluff, Spring Island, Moss Creek and Jekyll Island, currently use prescribe burns as an ecological tool to protect and enhance their forests.
The upcoming prescribed burn is weather dependent. The current weather forecast for next week is favorable, but it is a forecast and conditions could change. Sea Pines CSA will notify the community approximately 24 hours in advance of the test once the Sea Pines Forest Preserve advises that weather conditions remain favorable. The decision to conduct the test is not made until the day of the burn. Accordingly, we will provide an additional update once a determination has been made.