Stockton University began active management of its more than 1,500-acre forest today to protect and restore its Pinelands forest ecosystem from threats such as the encroaching Southern pine beetle and to cultivate a future of enhanced education, recreation and healthy habitat for wildlife.
Fire was returned to the forest system during a prescribed burn conducted by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service along Delaware Avenue. Another burn weather-permitting will take place next week along Duerer Street. Years of fire suppression resulting in dense turf on the forest floor has prevented pine seedlings from sprouting and beginning a new generation of trees, Stockton’s Forest Plan explained.
The university’s stewardship plan is the state’s first comprehensive forest management plan on public land within the Pinelands region and was developed by Robert Williams, of Pine Creek Forestry, a certified forester with 40 years of experience who was hired by the university as a consultant. The Pinelands Commission approved the 10-year plan.