From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1998:

Burning prairie annually to keep
woody brush down, aggressively promoted
by The Nature Conservancy on public
lands in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and
Wisconsin, may be counterproductive,
wildlife biologist Ann Swengel of Baraboo,
Wisconsin, recently told Mark Ward of the
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. After a decade
of studying prairie butterflies, Swengel has
reportedly discovered that frequent burning
may be driving the most specialized and
habitat-specific species to extinction. Her
findings are supported by University of
Wisconsin at Green Bay plant ecologist
Jeff Nekola, who has found that burning
grasslands to keep out non-native plants also
tends to destroy the rare habitat-specific
species he most wants to keep. Swengel and
Nekola spoke to Ward about 18 months after
Voice for Wildlife director Davida Terry
documented Nature Conservancy duplicity
in attempted prairie restoration within the
Chicago greenbelt. TNC volunteers, Terry
found, were girdling trees and setting fires
on public lands with official approval but little
or no public awareness and consultation.

The Nature Conservancy for the
first time authorized deer hunting at its Bear
Swamp Preserve, north of Albany, New
York, in November and December 1997.
TNC Eastern New York Chapter assistant
director for science and stewardship Maria
Trabka wrote to neighbors that deer were to
be killed because, “Browse has become so
high in the preserve that the rhododendron in
the swamp are unable to regenerate.” But
two sentences later, Trabka wrote, “Four
years ago, we built three fenced enclosures
to keep deer away from the rhododendron.
The experiment showed that when deer are
prevented from browsing on the rhododendron,
the plants do regenerate.” TNC
apparently found authorizing 15 hunters
more expedient than recruiting volunteers to
build more fence––although building fence
would be a semi-permanent solution,
whereas killing deer only vacated habitat for
more deer to invade.

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