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Why Do Jack Pine Trees Grow After Fire?

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Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum
Forest Ecosystem

New jack pine seedlings grow well after a hot fire. Fire causes the cone of an older jack pine tree to open up and release seeds. Cones that need heat, such as the heat from fire, in order to open are called serotinous cones. When the heat causes the cones to open, seeds are released and fall to the ground (see animation below).

In Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) lights fires in the Jack Pine Ecosystems to help new jack pine trees grow. This is because the Kirtland's Warbler will only build nests under the young jack pine trees.

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