Restoring anthropogenic fires to Garry oak ecosystems : a case study from Tumbo Island North

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Botica, Tony
Anthropogenic fires
Eco-cultural restoration
Garry oak (Quercus garryana)
Prescribed Fire
Tumbo Island
This research is focused at the sites of Tumbo Island North and Tumbo Cliff (both on Tumbo Island within the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve [GINPR]), with supplemental data from Rocky Point Department of National Defense (DND) and Garry oak Preserve on Vancouver Island, and Waldron Island in Washington State. Field data is overlaid with a literature review of First Nations’ land management practices and acknowledges First Nations’ use of wildfire on traditional landscapes. Results comparing 2010 to 2018 vegetation data indicate an overall increase in exotic and native species and a net negative effect of fire application. Fuel loading levels are higher than expected and have a direct relationship to fire behaviour outputs. Canopy cover has a positive net effect on native species in grass strata and exotic species in forest strata and a negative net effect if found on exotic species in grass strata and native species in forest strata. An additional product of this research is a restoration plan for Tumbo Island North, which includes a comprehensive burn plan for reintroducing fire to Garry oak (Quercus garryana or p’hwulhp ) ecosystems with an aim to restoration, and with specific prescriptions for reducing conifer encroachment, reducing forest fuel loading, increasing oak sapling regeneration and survival, and increasing plant diversity of native plant species. This restoration plan can serve as a model that can be adapted and used at other Garry oak ecosystem sites. p’hwulhp is the Hul’qumi’num word for Garry oak (Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group, 2011,p.10).
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