NAS Pensacola has more than 2,400 acres of commercial forest that is actively managed by the Navy. Ecologically sound stewardship involves managing this forestland for various components including forest products (i.e., timber), wildlife habitat, aesthetic value, and recreational potential. Components of forestry management generally include firebreak management, prescribed burning, timber sales, timber inventory management, site preparation and reforestation, forest roadwork, and equipment operation and maintenance. By properly maintaining and protecting our forests, NAS Pensacola is dramatically reducing the threat of wildfires which could endanger missions, facilities, and lives.
Prescribed burning is the primary management tool for majority of Natural Resources goals and objectives. The NASP complex will burn forest stands typically on a 3-year rotation or at the discretion of the Natural Resources Manager. A prescribed burn generally involves backing a low-intensity, surface fire through forest stands in order to improve habitat by removing dense, scrubby understory vegetation, and allowing early successional flora to grow.
Invasive Species Control
Invasive and exotic species have the potential to interfere with military and recreational activities, wildlife habitats, forests, wetlands, and other natural areas. Among the most damaging of invasive species in this region are Cogongrass and Chinese Tallow, both of which choke out native species and spread rapidly. NAS Pensacola manages these harmful species by routinely surveying and removing them through acceptable control methods. Pesticides and herbicides that are used to remove invasives are carefully prescribed and monitored so as to ensure no damage or contamination to surface waters or environmentally sensitive areas.
Trees and vegetation in urban areas, when properly managed, contribute to ecological health and quality of life at the NASP complex. Management for urban forestry entails maintenance, tree plantings, and tree protection to enhance the quality of life on the installation. In addition, NASP strives to continue its achievement as a Tree City USA participant in partnership with the National Association of State Foresters, National Arbor Day Foundation and the USDA Forest Service.