March 21, 2023 Blog Environment


The land was clear-cut for years, but recently, controlled burns have helped clear thickets to provide for the natural recruitment of native seeds and plants. The vegetation of the Cumberland Plateau has changed dramatically since the onset of widespread logging and fire exclusion. Today the Plateau is forested across nearly its entire length, but multiple lines of evidence suggest that this was not always been the case. Pollen records from this region show that past plant communities were more heavily dominated by fire-adapted species. Even as recently as the 1780s, early explorers of the region described vast upland prairies supporting white-tailed deer, elk, and bison. The continued presence of shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata), one of the most fire-dependent conifers in the US, further demonstrates that this ecosystem is adapted to fire.

Recent posts

April 27 2023 Blog Environment

The Management Recommendations for Improvement

April 25 2023 Blog Environment

Grasslands are gone, too.

Some scientists estimate that native grasslands have declined by as much as 99 percent. By some estimates, this resulted in three billion fewer birds on the landscape than 50 years ago. This has harmed both the eastern meadowlark and the bobwhite which are both found on Coal Creek.

April 20 2023 Blog Environment

Landscapes like people get stressed.

Historically, open savannas and woodlands were largely maintained by periodic fire, which served to remove dense blankets of accumulated leaf litter from the ground and promote the growth of fire-adapted trees, such as shortleaf pine. Due to the loss of periodic fire, it is estimated that at least 90% of shortleaf pine-oak savanna has been lost.