The fruit of the Common Chinquapin (Castanea pumila) is sought by many wildlife species for its sweet nut. However, the spine-covered husk makes getting to the nut risky business. Although widespread in xeric, fire-maintained forests, the species is in decline due to fire suppression and possibly Chestnut blight.
The intended audience is the general public, including land managers who have become hesitant to use fire due to fear of liability issues and increasingly urbanized homeowners, many of whom have migrated to the South and who do not have a cultural memory of the traditional and historical use of prescribed fire. The longleaf pine ecosystem is one of the most ecologically diverse in the world and one of the most endangered. Once covering nearly 90 million acres of the Southeast, today it is found on only 4 million acres of its historic range. The remaining longleaf ecosystem is dependent on prescribed fire for its future health and existence, yet public opinion on prescribed burning has become increasingly hostile. Educating the public on the importance and safety of prescribed fire use is key to the survival and restoration of this magnificent ecosystem.