BjorkmanVellend2010

Reference

Bjorkman, A.D., Vellend, M. (2010) Defining historical baselines for conservation: Ecological changes since European settlement on Vancouver Island, Canada. Conservation Biology, 24(6):1559-1568. (Scopus )

Abstract

Conservation and restoration goals are often defined by historical baseline conditions that occurred prior to a particular period of human disturbance, such as European settlement in North America. Nevertheless, if ecosystems were heavily influenced by native peoples prior to European settlement, conservation efforts may require active management rather than simple removal of or reductions in recent forms of disturbance. We used pre-European settlement land survey records (1859-1874) and contemporary vegetation surveys to assess changes over the past 150 years in tree species and habitat composition, forest density, and tree size structure on southern Vancouver Island and Saltspring Island, British Columbia, Canada. Several lines of evidence support the hypothesis that frequent historical burning by native peoples, and subsequent fire suppression, have played dominant roles in shaping this landscape. First, the relative frequency of fire-sensitive species (e.g., cedar [Thuja plicata]) has increased, whereas fire-tolerant species (e.g., Douglas-fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii]) have decreased. Tree density has increased 2-fold, and the proportion of the landscape in forest has greatly increased at the expense of open habitats (plains, savannas), which today contain most of the region's threatened species. Finally, the frequency distribution of tree size has shifted from unimodal to monotonically decreasing, which suggests removal of an important barrier to tree recruitment. In addition, although most of the open habitats are associated with Garry oak (Quercus garryana) at present, most of the open habitats prior to European settlement were associated with Douglas-fir, which suggests that the current focus on Garry oak as a flagship for the many rare species in savannas may be misguided. Overall, our results indicate that the maintenance and restoration of open habitats will require active management and that historical records can provide critical guidance to such efforts. © 2010 Society for Conservation Biology.

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@ARTICLE { BjorkmanVellend2010,
    AUTHOR = { Bjorkman, A.D. and Vellend, M. },
    TITLE = { Defining historical baselines for conservation: Ecological changes since European settlement on Vancouver Island, Canada },
    JOURNAL = { Conservation Biology },
    YEAR = { 2010 },
    VOLUME = { 24 },
    PAGES = { 1559-1568 },
    NUMBER = { 6 },
    ABSTRACT = { Conservation and restoration goals are often defined by historical baseline conditions that occurred prior to a particular period of human disturbance, such as European settlement in North America. Nevertheless, if ecosystems were heavily influenced by native peoples prior to European settlement, conservation efforts may require active management rather than simple removal of or reductions in recent forms of disturbance. We used pre-European settlement land survey records (1859-1874) and contemporary vegetation surveys to assess changes over the past 150 years in tree species and habitat composition, forest density, and tree size structure on southern Vancouver Island and Saltspring Island, British Columbia, Canada. Several lines of evidence support the hypothesis that frequent historical burning by native peoples, and subsequent fire suppression, have played dominant roles in shaping this landscape. First, the relative frequency of fire-sensitive species (e.g., cedar [Thuja plicata]) has increased, whereas fire-tolerant species (e.g., Douglas-fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii]) have decreased. Tree density has increased 2-fold, and the proportion of the landscape in forest has greatly increased at the expense of open habitats (plains, savannas), which today contain most of the region's threatened species. Finally, the frequency distribution of tree size has shifted from unimodal to monotonically decreasing, which suggests removal of an important barrier to tree recruitment. In addition, although most of the open habitats are associated with Garry oak (Quercus garryana) at present, most of the open habitats prior to European settlement were associated with Douglas-fir, which suggests that the current focus on Garry oak as a flagship for the many rare species in savannas may be misguided. Overall, our results indicate that the maintenance and restoration of open habitats will require active management and that historical records can provide critical guidance to such efforts. © 2010 Society for Conservation Biology. },
    COMMENT = { Export Date: 11 March 2011 Source: Scopus CODEN: CBIOE doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01550.x },
    ISSN = { 08888892 (ISSN) },
    KEYWORDS = { Anthropogenic burning, Ecological baselines, Habitat restoration, Historical ecology, Land survey records, Oak savanna, Presettlement vegetation, anthropogenic effect, baseline survey, burning, coniferous tree, conservation management, dicotyledon, drought resistance, endangered species, environmental disturbance, fire history, habitat conservation, habitat restoration, historical ecology, historical record, rare species, savanna, settlement history, stand structure, British Columbia, Canada, Saltspring Island, Vancouver Island },
    OWNER = { Luc },
    TIMESTAMP = { 2011.03.11 },
    URL = { http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?eid=2-s2.0-78349276880&partnerID=40&md5=cb8968646cc01d4b24c3b52852a4f664 },
}

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