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Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks
1505 Eastover Drive, Jackson, MS, 39211
Phone: 601-432-2400

Monday, October 01, 2012

Longleaf Pine Projects Ongoing at Marion County WMA
JACKSON - Marion County WMA, located south of Columbia, Mississippi is the only state-owned WMA in Mississippi that is predominately forested with longleaf pine.  Recently, MDWFP was awarded a State Wildlife Grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to enhance wildlife habitat in Marion County WMA's longleaf pine forests.  Funds from this grant have been used by MDWFP personnel to improve its system of firebreaks on Marion County WMA to allow for an expansion of prescribed burning.   
Prescribed fire is the primary tool used to maintain desirable conditions in longleaf forests at Marion County WMA.  Prescribed burning reduces competition from undesirable woody plant species, reduces the potential of wildfire, reduces the disease risk for longleaf pine seedlings, and promotes the growth of desirable herbaceous vegetation favorable to many wildlife species. If undesirable woody plant species become too large or dense, it often becomes impossible to control with prescribed fire.  In these instances, selective herbicides are often utilized to offer additional control of undesirable woody species such as gallberry, yaupon, and sweetgum on the area.  
MDWFP used a portion of the grant funds to apply selective herbicides on approximately 700 acres of longleaf pine stands.  MDWFP personnel are also planning to follow up these treatments with prescribed fire in spring 2013.  This combination of selective herbicides and prescribed fire should dramatically increase desirable plant communities that benefit many wildlife species, including bobwhite quail, wild turkeys, and white-tailed deer, as well as non-game species of concern like the gopher tortoise and Bachman's sparrow.

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