Prescribed fire at Albany Pine Bush Preserve

credit: Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission

Xeric grasslands, barrens, and woodlands of the Northeastern U.S. provide important habitat for native pollinators including state Species of Greatest Conservation Need and Federal Candidate and Petitioned species.

Project Objective:

The objective of the Xeric Grassland, Barren, and Woodland Pollinator Conservation Project is to improve the ability of Northeast states to implement cost-effective habitat management for the benefit of native pollinators and RSGCN that depend upon these priority habitat types.


Improved and more cost-effective habitat management will be achieved through:

(1) documentation, sharing, and refinement of management best practices that have already been developed by partner states;

(2) implementation of multi-state, large scale, experimental adaptive management at select sites designed to address specific, unanswered questions about management techniques (e.g. prescribed fire timing and frequency, combinations of prescribed fire and mechanical management); and

(3) development of standardized vegetation and pollinator monitoring protocols tied to the experimental management sites, but also applicable to other managed grasslands and barrens throughout the NE region.


Through an adaptive management framework, results from the experimental management will be used to improve awareness and implementation of best management practices across the region.  No single state, acting alone, has the resources to carry out this project at the necessary scale; regional cooperation and pooling of data across sites is essential if we are to improve our understanding of the effects of management on target species over time, and develop the knowledge needed to make management improvements. 

Summary points:


  • Xeric grasslands, barrens, and woodlands of the NE provide important habitat for native pollinators including RSGCN, Federal Candidate and Petition species. 

  • These habitats support disproportionate numbers of SGCN and Regional SGCN throughout the NE Region, have been identified as a conservation priority in many SWAPs and the NE Swap Synthesis, and require active management. 

  • Long-term management is complex, often requiring combinations of prescribed fire, mechanical, and chemical treatments. 

  • Regional collaboration is essential. By establishing a regional adaptive management sites network and developing and implementing standardized vegetation and pollinator monitoring protocols we will advance our management knowledge far more efficiently and effectively than if each state acts alone.   

  • Increased regional communication and coordination among xeric habitat land managers will lead to immediate benefits through increased sharing of best practices and knowledge, and longer term benefits as we work together to implement the project and formalize the adaptive management sites network.