Barnegat in Ocean County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Fire: Nature’s Double Agent
Cedar Bridge Tavern
The word fire is most typically associated with destruction. However, in nature, fire is a natural ecological process that promotes growth, recycles nutrients, and helps create unique, crucial habitat that without it would disappear. Fire has shaped the New Jersey Pine Barrens for thousands of years and without it would cease to exist.
To understand the nature of fire, one must first understand its role in society and the natural environment.
Fire is harmful when:
Fire can degrade environmental health. Extreme heat can kill benefical soil organisms and change soil chemistry. Runoff carry ash into waterways, negatively impacting fish and plants.
Fire can threaten vegetation and wildlife. Aside from immediate injury or death, fire can also destroy habitat and decrease diversity, interrupting the food chain.
Fire can threaten human lives and property. This includes both residents and emergency response personnel. The financial cost of wildfire combat and rebuilding afterward can be extreme.
Fire is fun when:
Fire recycles nutrients by burning dead
Low intensity fire or prescribed burning can reduce wildfire risk by consuming leaf litter and fuels that build up on the forest floor. This decreases the intensity and speed of wildfires that ignite.
Fire can provide critical habitat by burning some areas of the forest while leaving others intact. This creates pockets of differing ecological success providing habitat for a variety of species.
Fire Adapted Species
Blueberries and huckleberries grow slowly and store extra energy in their root systems, which are protected beneath the soil. After a fire, they use this energy and quickly send up new shoots which grow fast to take advantage of the reduced competition. Nutrient rich ash left behind helps speed up growth during this time.
Pitch Pines are one of the best adapted of all the fire tolerant species. Its defense strategies
- Thick bark to protect the living wood
- Dormant buds that emerge when needles die from fire called epicormics branches
- Dormant buds at the base of the tree if the living wood dies
- Resin-sealed cones that open after fire to spread seeds called serotinous cones.
Erected by Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Natural Features.
Location. 39° 47.014′ N, 74° 21.614′ W. Marker is in Barnegat, New Jersey, in Ocean County. Marker is on Old Cedar Bridge Road, on the right when traveling west. Marker is located across the road from the Cedar Bridge Tavern. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Barnegat NJ 08005, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Haven in the Heat (here, next to this marker); Land Between the Lines (a few steps from this marker); One in a Mill-ion (within shouting distance of this marker); Last Stand of the Revolution (within shouting distance of this marker); Historical Horticulture (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Welcome to East Jersey (approx. 0.7 miles away); Welcome to West Jersey (approx. 0.7 miles away); Affair at Cedar Bridge (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Barnegat.
More about this marker. Photos of Bracken Ferns, Blueberries, Huckleberries, and Pitch Pines appear on the right side of the marker.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 26, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 26, 2019, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 60 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 26, 2019, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.