Developed By Adam F Sprague The New Jersey Pine Barrens
Pinelands • The Pinelands is our country's first National Reserve and a U.S. Biosphere Reserve of the Man and the Biosphere Program It is designated a biosphere reserve by the United Nations and a "Last Great Place" by the Nature Conservancy for its environmental importance. • This internationally important ecological region is 1.1 million acres in size and occupies 22% of New Jersey's land area • In 1979, our state formed a partnership with the federal government to preserve, protect and enhance the natural and cultural resources of this special place. • It is the largest body of open space on the Mid-Atlantic seaboard between Richmond and Boston and is underlain by aquifers containing 17 trillion gallons of some of the purest water in the land
Pine Barrens Fire ecology • Nutrient poor soil, acidic water and dry soil conditions are three major factors that influence the kind of vegetation that thrives in the fire prone forests of New Jersey's Pinelands
Some of the reasons these conditions support the growth of fire prone vegetation include: • Pinelands soils are acidic and, as such, forest litter accumulates and does not readily decompose. • The highly permeable acidic soils in the Pinelands have a low water retention (water holding) capacity. This often results in dry soil conditions
Cont. • with little decomposed litter to enrich the region's soil, it is nutrient poor and often dry. Only vegetation like the highly flammable pitch pine can thrive under these conditions • As a result of the presence of highly flammable vegetation, accumulation of dry forest litter, and dry soil conditions, the upland forests of the Pinelands are fire prone
Fire Effects in New Jersey's Pine Barrens • Large forest fires in the New Jersey Pine Barrens frequently take newspaper headlines in the spring, and sometimes in summer or fall, but hundreds of small fires throughout the year attract little attention. • Fires are not rare in this section. Indians burned the woods extensively to improve hunting conditions. Ever since the first white men settled in New Jersey, fires have been common in the Pine Barrens.
Pinelands soil • Cohansey geologic formation. • soils are mostly medium to coarse grained sands, although some thin clay soil layers are present. • This geologic formation was deposited on the ocean floor between 13 million and 25 million years ago# during a time that geologists call the Miocene period.
Pinelands soil • Soils developed from the Cohansey formation are very porous and infertile • The greater the proportion of coarse particles in a soil the less it is able to retain water and nutrients like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium - "food" usually needed for plant growth
Pinelands soil • We know soils are grouped into series according to the geologic material from which they develop, as well as the makeup of their topsoil, subsoil, and horizons (or layers) that are underneath the subsoil • The Pinelands contains thirteen major soil series.
Pinelands soil • In order to simplify the understanding of Pinelands soils, this discussion will concentrate on five prevalent soil series that have developed from the Cohansey formation • These five soil series--Lakewood, Lakehurst, Atsion, Berryland, and Muck--are major factors in' the Pinelands unique soil.-water-plant-animal relationship
Pinelands soil • Each area is formed under the influence of time, position (whether the soil is on a hill or in low areas with a fluctuating water table), parent material (sand or gravel), climate and biological activity
Pine Barrens Soil • The soils with the higher fluctuating water table tend to be situated in low level areas that have the ground water table near the surface. (There is virtually no surface runoff in the Pinelands.) • Surface colors are black underlain first by a light gray layer and then by reddish-brown and dark brown sandy layers. They may be generally categorized as wetland or bog soils.
Pine Barrens Soil • Lakewood and Lakehurst • soils decomposes slowly because there are very few microorganisms present to break it down. • produces humic acid which moves downward with percolating water. • removes virtually all of the materials from the surface layer. • becomes almost pure quartz sand.
Pine Barrens Soil • Atsion and Berryland • Bacteria that utilize the carbon for food in the soils deplete and remove oxygen in their respiration process. • iron compounds are used as a substitute. • In the reduced state, the mineral compounds are generally gray in color
Pine Barrens Soil(Bog Iron) • The coarse textures and fluctuating water table found in the Atsion and Berryland soils make this process possible. • Bog iron is often seen in stream beds and was important in the manufacture of cannon and shot used by George Washington's troops during the Revolutionary War.
Bog Iron • The orange to yellowish- brown flocculant material often seen near the banks, particularly in slow-flowing water. • Leptothrix ochracea.
Pine Barrens Soil • When settlers first came to the region during the 1600's and 1700's, they discovered most of the region's soils would not support cattle husbandry and the growing of vegetable and grain crops that were part of traditional European agriculture. • For this reason, they named the region the "Pine Barrens".
Pine Barrens Water • Pinelands surface and aquifer water quality is both determined changed by many factors including: • soil • climate and weather (The weather of New Jersey is considered temperate with an average of 45 inches of precipitation annually) • people • plants and animals
Pine Barrens Water • Physical and chemical characteristics of Pinelands water limit the variety of aquatic life include: • acidic nature • considerable amounts of iron • low amounts of alkaline metals and oxygen • natural organic compounds resulting in its tea-colored stream water
Pine Barrens Water • The Cohansey Aquifer, containing 17 trillion gallons of mostly uncontaminated fresh water, lies beneath the Pinelands surface. • Careful maintenance of the quality and quantity of this water resource is important to the well-being of the people, animals and plants in the region
Pine Barrens Water • Cohansey Aquifer • Its area is about 2,000 square miles, and it is estimated to reach a depth of 37 feet in some places. This formation is seldom more than 20 feet below the surface, and as a result, it greatly influences the surface waters. In the summer these streams are relatively cool, generally being below 25 C, and in winter they rarely freeze
Pine Barrens Water • Cohansey Aquifer • The black or brown water color is caused by large amounts of humates arising from the drainage of the swamp's vegetation. These streams are very acid - the pH varies from about 3.6 to 5.2 with a mean around 4.4.
Pine Barrens Water • Sources of pollution may include: • septic tanks • landfills • chemical spills and storage leaks • dumping • agricultural chemicals • highway de-icing • industrial waste
Pine Barrens Water • A lowering of the Pinelands water table, through drought or over pumping, could severely alter the Pinelands life by depriving it of the groundwater it needs. • A lowering of the Pinelands water table will increase the probability of salt water invasion (intrusion).
Succession • If fires are kept out • first, a pine stand develops; then hardwoods, chiefly oaks, seed under the pines. • Later, as the pines mature and die, hardwoods dominate the stand. • The succession from pines to- hardwoods is due to two factors:(1) hardwoods can live and grow under more shade than pines, and (2) hardwood seeds, being bigger, can become establishedin the thick cover of dead leaves that accumulates under unburned stands.
Species Susceptibility • Pines and oaks differ in their susceptibility to fire. • Oaks have thinner bark than the pitch and shortleaf pines of the Barrens, so less heat is needed to kill their cambium. However, pine crowns are burned far more frequently than the crowns of oaks because most fires occur when oaks are leafless. • Most of the fire damage to oaks is through killing of the cambium near the base. On pitch and shortleaf pines, fires usually damage the foliage and well-developed buds first. More heat is needed to kill the basal cambium, particularly of. large trees.
Tree Size • Large trees have thick bark and crowns farther from the ground so they tend to suffer less damage than small trees. • Certain fires have killed back all pines 1 to 4 inches in diameter (at breast height), but no pines with a breast height -diameter of over 13 inches. • Less intense fires have killed back all oaks 1 to 4 inches in diameter, but only 12 percent of the oaks larger than 13 inches. (A tree is "killed back" if the part above ground is dead, but the root is still living and can produce sprouts . A tree is completely killed if the root, too, is dead.)
Effects of Heat • Fires do less damage at low winter temperatures than in spring or summer. • The temperature of a fire varies within its various sections, its size and its burning conditions. In some large fires, the head-fires have killed 68 percent of the pine stems 5 to 8 inches in diameter while the less intense side-fires killed no pines of that size. • Small fires are usually less intense and cause less damage than large ones. When air temperatures are low, heat is more quickly dissipated and more fire is needed to raise the temperature of plant tissues to the killing points. Thus, The intensity of a fire is also affected by fuel conditions. When the debris on the ground is dry only on top, fires may start and spread but they cannot create as much heat as when all the debris burns.
FIRE EFFECTS OF SHRUBS AND HERBACEOUS VEGETATION • Just as a history of fire can alter the composition of a forest, it can also affect the undergrowth. • On upland sites, an undergrowth of huckleberries and low-bush blueberries prevails under climax hardwoods and most oak-pine stands. • Frequent light fires tend to reduce the shrub cover and favor herbaceous plants, especially along roads or under open stands. • Severe fires can also reduce the shrub cover, especially of huckleberries. On sandy sites, severe fires favor such species as golden-heather un till they are once again crowded out by the spread of blueberries and huckleberries.
The Curly Grass Fern, Schizaea pusilla, is a rare and tiny member of the fern family which was first discovered in the Pine Barrens near Quaker Bridge. It grows in wet areas and its fronds look like tiny, spiral blades of grass. It is classified as a threatened species.