Bulkley Valley Research Centre - Science in the Public Interest

Grasslands Restoration Implementation Project

Project Reference Number: 2007-26

Project Status: Complete

Led by: Adrian de Groot, Drosera Ecological Consulting, Smithers

Sybille Haeussler, PhD, Skeena Forestry Consultants, Smithers

Funder: Ministry of Environment, General Services Agreement

CONTROLLED FIRE CONDUCTED BY NADINA FIRE ZONE UNIT CREW AT UNCHA MOUNTAIN - RED HILLS PROVINCIAL PARK (MAY 2008) PHOTO S. HAEUSSLER

Low elevation grasslands in the south-eastern Skeena Region are highly endangered and red-listed by the BC Conservation Data Centre. Both the total area and condition of grasslands have deteriorated rapidly in recent decades due to land development, disturbance and fragmentation, changes in fire and grazing pressures, and other factors. Grasslands in protected areas are important in maintaining regional biodiversity.

Although land development pressures are lower in the northwest than in southern BC, the need to protect and enhance remaining grasslands is more urgent than in the southern Interior because the few remaining grasslands are small and fragmented and are thus at greater risk of disappearing if nothing is done.

Grasslands in the area are fire dependent ecosystems that have been diminishing in size as they are invaded by woody species due to the lack of fire. Fire has been eliminated by fire suppression efforts. The reintroduction of fire will allow the persistence of this important vegetation type.

 

This project would conduct the preliminary work needed before burning could proceed. Activities would be:

 

  • examine the grasslands within Uncha Mountain Red Hills Park to determine which are most suitable or in the greatest need of prescribed burning restoration activities,
  • establish the permanent vegetation monitoring plots needed prior to burning to determine the efficacy of the restoration treatments,
  • enter and analyze data with a report on the current status of the vegetation, and
  • develop a burn plan for identified areas.

This project follows the recommendations in de Groot and Armitage (2007) for grassland restoration in Uncha Mountain Red Hills Park.

 

A prescribed burn was completed over the targeted area and post-burn monitoring is on-going.  The results will be available in the fall of 2008.

Related Reports

Publication Date Report Title Authors
March 2008 Uncha Mountain Red Hills Provincial Park Grasslands Description and Restoration Adrian de Groot