Almost all Southeastern upland systems, as well as some types of wetlands, have been shaped and maintained by periodic fire. Decades of fire suppression have degraded these systems and have changed the human perception of fire and its role on our landscape. Prescribed fire serves as a crucial management tool to restore and maintain these habitats, and its use is a critically important issue in the Southeast.
This Communications Strategy proposes that the East Gulf Coastal Plain Joint Venture (EGCPJV) assume the role of prescribed fire champion by focusing its coordination, outreach and partnership activities through the lens of prescribed fire – a process vital to the ecological health of the natural communities that support birds and wildlife diversity. This document is strategic, providing a comprehensive framework of prescribed fire issues and messages within which the EGCPJV will
further identify priority actions. The “niche” of the EGCPJV with respect to prescribed fire is to focus on fire’s ecological benefits to wildlife, specifically birds, and provide wildlife-focused education and outreach materials to key audiences.
This strategy builds upon the unique strengths of the EGCPJV Management Board and staff, which lend themselves to achieving prescribed fire goals. It was developed over the course of several months based upon information provided in interviews of ~45 prescribed fire/resource management experts throughout the East Gulf Coastal Plain, as well as guidance from the EGCPJV staff and board members concerning their mission, strengths and appropriate roles in promoting prescribed fire.