A stricken tree, a living thing, so beautiful, so dignified, so admirable in its potential longevity, is, next to man, perhaps the most touching of wounded objects. —Edna Ferber
Scorched — but not necessarily dead — slash pines are profiled against their more lively brethren at the Bluefield Ranch Natural Area. Their tenacity is inspiring and a not-so-gentle reminder as I observe them throughout our hikes, standing tall with new growth peeping through burned limbs. Controlled, or prescribed burns are an integral part to sustaining Florida’s natural habitats. Such burns mimic natural fire cycles to restore healthy natural communities, thus reducing the undergrowth that accumulates over time — a contributing factor in severe wildfires. An increase in native plants, birds, and wildlife is witnessed at these burned lands.