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New podcast explains how prescribed fire helps plants, animals and people

You might already know that prescribed fires help prevent potentially dangerous wildfires.

But did you also know that they help conserve plants and animals in our natural areas? [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]A new podcast from the University of Florida shares the science behind prescribed fires and how they help keep ecosystems healthy.[/inlinetweet]

Fire University graphicCalled Fire University, the podcast is hosted by Marcus Lashley, who has a doctorate in fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology and is an assistant professor in the UF/IFAS wildlife ecology and conservation department.

Each episode focuses on a specific fire-related topic and features guest experts from other land grant universities and conservation organizations across the country.

“The main goal of this podcast is to deliver science-based information to educate listeners on the tools and best practices for using fire as a natural resource management tool,” Lashley said. “Listeners will also understand the science behind why these management tools work and how they can begin implementing them within their own management strategies.”

The podcast isn’t just for land managers or Extension professionals, Lashley added. Science educators, private landowners and anyone curious about fire ecology will benefit.

“This podcast offers an array of information to individuals outside of the fire professional demographic, as listeners will learn why fire management is important for our lands and how it positively affects other areas of natural resources such as wildlife habitat,” he said.

Fire University comes just in time for Florida’s Prescribed Fire Awareness Week, observed this year Jan. 24 to 31.

The first few episodes cover topics such as habitat improvement for white-tailed deer and wild turkey and using fire and cattle grazing to manage grasslands.

The podcast is available for free through several podcast hosting services:

In addition to the podcast, Lashley and lab team produce videos on wildlife ecology and management and share recent videos, podcast episodes and more on Twitter (@UFDEERLab).

Fire University is part of a podcast network called Natural Resources University, which includes other podcasts hosted by experts at land-grant universities. The network is funded by a Renewable Resources Extension Act Capacity Grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.